Today is the perfect day to start
We have now entered the second week of June, and you may feel as though the hopeful light you lit on January the 1st is fading, or, worse, dead. But, I wanted to tell you that it is not too late! You do not need to let the proverbial "darkness" win. That part of us that says "I haven't started or progressed therefore I have failed with my plans and goals." It is possible to start right now and make enormous progress. The biggest mistake you could make is giving up.
Here are my 5 steps to help you start right now.
Step 1: Create a clear vision statement for yourself
The best way I have found to do this is to write what you may know as a personal mission statement. This can end up being one line or a full page, it doesn't really matter. The following questions may help guide your thinking:
*What do I want to do?
*Whom do I want to help?
*What is the result? What value will I create?
*What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
*You are now 90 years old, sitting on a rocking chair outside your porch; you can feel the spring breeze gently brushing against your face. You are blissful and happy and are pleased with the wonderful life you’ve been blessed with. Looking back at your life and all that you’ve achieved and acquired, all the relationships you’ve developed; what matters to you most? What behaviours did you exhibit that made it so good? What do you possibly regret? List these answers out.
Additionally, make sure that your vision is clear, relevant, and what YOU want from your life. Importantly, take as much time as you need with this, there is no need to rush the process. You will save a great deal of time if you make the effort to do it patiently and honestly the first time around.
Step 2: Revisit the goals you set for 2019
First, do these goals fit in with your inspiring vision or life's purpose? Are they still relevant to you, relevant to your vision of where you would like to be emotionally and physically by the end of 2019? The process of answering these questions may be surprisingly painful or guilt-inducing but it is worth doing.
If you answered "No" then this may be a reason why you never got around to working on these goals. Having a goal that is for other people or one that is about fitting into a societal standard will not be inspiring unless you truly believe in the goal and its necessity in your life.
If you answered "Yes" then these goals are important and you. Realise and absorb that... they are important! Tell yourself this out loud and think of ways you can remind yourself daily about how important they are to you.
For the goals that are important you can complete the following exercise:
1. Choose a maximum of 3 goals to focus on. If there are less than 3 that is fine, but more than 3 becomes too much for our cognitive capacity.
2. Write very clear goal statements for yourself for all 3 goals. These need to be specific, achievable yet challenging, realistic, measurable and have a deadline attached. For example, your statement for losing weight may be: "I want to lose 10kg by mid-September 2019". It is challenging yet very possible to lose 10kg in 3 months and there is a timeline attached. This statement, therefore, ticks all the boxes for a SMART goal.
3. Stick these statements somewhere where you can remind yourself of your goals often, if not daily. If you want you can equate your goals to an image that is inspiring. Perhaps a body shape that you feel you will look like after you have lost 10kg or maybe a bag of money if you are trying to double your monthly sales.
4. List what may get in the way of you achieving your goal. It could be external or internal forces, for example, you may have a birthday party coming up or you know you can't trust yourself to go to the supermarket and not buy chocolate. There are events that could throw the diet out, cost you some money or even just take up the day, stopping you getting anything else done.
Then, next to your list, write what you could do to mitigate the impact of these events on your goals. These can be written as "If... then" statements, "IF I am going to a birthday party THEN I will stay away from the sweet table and drink lots of water", for example. Planning and looking for what may trip you up is essential when heading down the road of goal achievement.
Step 3: Just start
All you need to get started is 10 minutes a day starting right now. Kill the rationalisation gremlin in your brain that says, "it is better to start on Monday" or "you can start again tomorrow." The best way to kill the critter is to commit at this moment, right now, you are starting on the path towards what you would like to achieve. Do 10 minutes of exercise before bed, or just eat well for the rest of the day and then do the same tomorrow. Write just the first line of the book you have wanted to start, write another line tomorrow. Take 10 minutes to research at least 3 places where you can do the hobby you wanted to pick up this year. Do not do that bad habit you are trying to quit for the rest of the day, be ready to start the 10-minute battle again tomorrow.
“Anyone can carry his burden, however heavy, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, until the sun goes down. And this is all that life really means.” - Quote by Robert Louis Stevenson
Another piece of advice at this stage is don't try to do everything at once or you will burn out. Plan for success and rather take baby steps than no steps at all. You know yourself and when it is getting too much. Or if you do not feel you know yourself, get someone you trust to point out when you are no longer on track. Which brings us to step 4...
Step 4: Don't be scared to ask for help
If you hit a wall or fall off the wagon the best thing you can do is get back up and try again. Think about why you tripped and how you can learn from this so you won't trip over the same thing again in the future. Don't despair! This is hard. Learning to live the life we want is possibly the hardest project we will ever encounter. If it were easy we would all have managed it by now.
Therefore, ask one person or ask an army of people to help you if you feel comfortable to do that.
Get your supporters in place, they will cheer you on and keep you accountable. Use the good people in your life, make use of those you know or reach out to those you don't. Use a personal development coach, role model, personal trainer, therapist, mentor, tutor or friend.
Step 5: Celebrate the successes, no matter how small
Did you complete your 10 minutes today? Then celebrate! Did you keep going for a week? Then celebrate 7 times more! Think about what can you use to reward yourself? Even a small cheat meal once a week is acceptable if your goal is to lose weight. Life is in the journey, not the destination. Celebrations are what makes the journey worth it and they help us keep the momentum.
Finally, when you reach the goal make the celebration bigger. Book the holiday you need or buy that slightly overpriced thing you wanted.
I believe in you, we are all trying to reach our own goals in some way or form so you are not alone.
Do not hesitate to reach out to me personally if you would like some support or more advice with this process.
Otherwise, good luck and have fun!