Happy New You
We made it! 2020 is here AND it's the start of a new decade. No worries AND no pressure. Every year folks crank up the talk about goals, becoming a better version of themselves, doing better, being better and on and on.
Want to let the idea of New Year's Resolutions go? Permission granted. It's time for my annual mind-shift blog about change. ***Spoiler Alert*** You can decide to change anytime you want. Feel free to stop here if that message clicks for you. Want a little more? Keep reading.
First, you can decide to make changes any day of the year. No reason to wait until January. No reason to wait until a Monday or any other day of the week for that matter. Change occurs when you decide, no other criteria necessary. Do yourself a favor and ignore the arbitrary times and dates.
Second, you are capable of reaching any goal you set. Generally speaking, however, big change doesn't happen overnight. You are more likely to maintain a commitment to your goal if you break it down into smaller steps. If you haven't exercised in more than two decades and now you want to run a marathon in 6 weeks...well...you are likely setting yourself up for failure. Not that it can't be done. You must consider the smaller steps that make up that goal of completing a marathon. Do you have the time available to commit to daily training? Have you found a Coach/trainer? Can you afford one? Are you willing to make this goal the most important thing in your life? Are you willing to give up bad habits cold turkey? And the list goes on.
For most people, this goal is too much too soon and that's ok. Maybe consider giving yourself more time to build up to that goal. Start small, build the daily habits and commitment.
Third, get crystal clear on your motivation. Your driving force. Is this goal something you really want to achieve? Is it about someone else or something you think you should do? Please, for the love of all things holy, STOP shoulding on yourself. If you're using the word "should" in the conversation around your goal, quit while your ahead. The "shoulds" are about other people, not what you truly want.
Maybe give this exercise a go...make a list of everything that is important to you. For example, eating organic food, spending time with friends, reading, etc. Next, write down how you spend your time daily. For example, exercising, shopping, commuting, scrolling through social media, watching TV, etc. The key to this exercise is to be honest with yourself. This whole exercise should take no more than 5-10 minutes. Likely you are going to discover that you spend little time on what is of value to you.
What does this have to do with achieving goals? Change is challenging. To maintain the momentum and commitment to your goal you have to know why you're doing what you're doing. If your goal is a should it will be easy to let it go, because it won't be in alignment with what you really want. Same with what you value. If you don't enjoy reading but resolve to read a book a week you'll find this incredibly difficult to complete. You'll let this go because it's not how you want to spend your time. Your "why" for making a goal is what helps you maintain motivation to complete it. If you're operating under someone else's why, this goal will quickly fall by the wayside.
Fourth, measure your progress. The physical act of writing down your goals and your progress makes a huge difference in whether or not you're successful. Anytime you can make a connection between your thoughts and your body you're rewiring your brain. You're creating new pathways for change. This can be done in a calendar, a wire-bound notebook or any type of journal, etc. Keep it simple, avoid the distraction trap of stickers, colored marker systems and other such things. If this motivates you great. For most people it serves as a cleverly disguised procrastination. I love a paper, appointment calendar with a space for notes. Technology is fantastic. However, typing your goal and progress doesn't have the same neural effect as writing them. The paper calendar is already dated. I can schedule the time in the appointment section and/or make quick notes about steps I've taken to reach my goal.
Fifth, shift your mindset. Often, goals are about giving up one thing to get something else. I'm going to stop eating potato chips because I want to lose weight. I encourage you to frame your goals with the thought of adding something to your life versus taking something away. We all know potato chips aren't a health food. They taste good. The idea of not eating them feels uncomfortable. We've told ourselves no. Yet, we can't stop thinking about them. Eventually we succumb to our thoughts and over indulge in a bag. Then, the punishment begins.
Maybe tell yourself, instead, I'm going to have a healthy snack every day. You're not telling yourself no. You're not creating a situation where you can't stop thinking of something you can't have. You're simply adding a healthy snack to your routine. It may be helpful to think ahead and have plenty of healthy snacks available and ready to eat. Then, when you've taught yourself nothing terrible will happen if you add a healthy snack...add another...I'm going to drink an extra glass of water. Eventually, the healthy additions crowd out the unhealthy ones. It's a journey, start with one step...headed in the direction you want to go.
I know you can reach your goals. The power lies in your belief in yourself.
A note about change...Change can be messy, chaotic and emotional. You might feel like giving up. You might second guess your choices. You might feel like those around you are sabotaging your efforts. These feelings are normal and to be expected. Resistance arises for yourself and those around you. This is what breaking and making habits is all about. We are breaking some bonds (habits) and creating new ones. While we might want things to change, we also want things to stay the same. This process changes the frequency you put into the world. I believe Dr. Joe Dispenza sums this up beautifully...
"Anything that is no longer in a vibrational match between you and your future is going to fall away. Let it. Don't try to put your old life back together because you're going to be way too busy with the new destiny you're calling to yourself."