10 Tips on keeping up with Goals and Intentions all year long
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Nelson Mandela
This post is the last of a series of four posts on goals, intentions or resolutions, whichever term you use.
Well, we are almost at the end of January and I wonder if some people already went back to their former life, having already surrendered to their dreams and goals for 2013. If you are like me, life must have taken over some of your aspirations, at least momentarily. You may feel like this was too much to aspire for and therefore going back to your "former", life is the only solution! NO! Don’t give up so quickly! There are so many ways to solve a problem and for me, surrendering is not even on my list. Readjusting is, however.
Last weekend was overwhelmingly full for our family, Monday was a holiday and one of my children was out of school for a day, which left me 3 days to devote to my work goals. So I went down on the former path and went to bed well past midnight most nights, woke up late a few times (my goal is 6 am so I can have my "me", time before my kids are waking up), was tired, missed my new morning routine and felt I was going nowhere. After a few days of this, it was time for a reality check. I had my call with my accountability buddy, of course told the plain truth, and while talking I had some revelations and found new ways to work on my new goals. Here are some of the ideas I came up with and some I had prior to my path deviation but had no time to implement yet.
1- Print your work and post it some place where you will see them regularly. I have my whys, goals, mission, vision, core desired feelings and rules to live by at different location in my house. I look at my feelings right after going out of bed and my goals before opening the computer to start my day. Reminder in the car, a screensaver, a pop up window at lunch time, notes in your bathroom mirror, anything that works for you to read them DAILY is a must! I neglected this so far but I am back on track for next week.
2- Create some visuals to keep the dream alive. As quoted last week dreams and goals go hand in hand if we want to go somewhere. Dreaming is passive and solely relying on goals make it more like an obligation than a joyful path to your dream life. I started collecting idea for our dream house and yard on Pinterest but will also print a few significant picture at least one for each feelings/area of my life.
3- As you break down the goals into months, weeks and days to some instances, spend the time needed to enter it on your calendar, now, for the entire year. I strongly suggest to do that especially if you are using an electronic calendar as this is so easy to readjust when you need to move some deadlines. If you are still working on a paper version, using a pencil might be your best option.
4- If it feels too overwhelming all at once to modify multiple habits, pick one or two at a time and stick to it for at least a week. Depending on how big is the change for you, you may even need more time and this is alright. It is better to start slow and keep the habit than to try to change them altogether and ending up discouraged and conceding.
5- For each change of habit, consider to transition slowly rather than going cold turkey. The cold turkey method might work for some but, personally, I feel easily overwhelmed by too many changes in my rhythm. Therefore, after reading Leo Babauta’s post this week, I decided to give myself the gift of slow transition when it comes to going to bed early and rising with the sun. I was trying to get going with too many new habits all at once, thinking this will not disrupt my usual life and will not interrupt my new sleeping pattern. I was obviously wrong.
6- Take time daily and weekly to write some insights from your life experience. I am devoting 5- 10 minutes daily to revise my day and see how I could do better. Have I been distracted? Was my time management well done or should I allow more time for my tasks? I will then start looking at my week's big picture as well, not to judge but just to understand if there is a pattern that need to be addressed.
7- If you did not achieve your goals, focus on your feelings. Remember on a previous post we talked about destinations and journey? Well, plans are meant to be changed. I see goals as a motivation not a way to drag me down. Life happens and we need to take that into consideration. Keep in mind your feelings. If I was feeling affluent, innovative, radiant, grounded and perceptive, all is good in my world. Feeling good is the key here.
8- Plan your week on Sunday. Monday 8 am, kids left for school with daddy and I am ready to jump into action because I know already what is in my plate. What a difference it makes. I know where to go and feel at ease. Try it and see for yourself!
9- Have an accountability buddy. Well, you can make it work as you wish but I suggest that:
· Don’t pick your partner. You can always share your ups and downs- and I hope you do that with your partner- but I believe an accountability buddy need to be less emotionally involved in your life. It just makes it easier.
· Follow-up on a weekly basis. More is ok and less is definitely not going to help you enough. There is so much happening in our lives that we need consistency and frequency.
· Be honest. If you lie to your buddy, well, you are missing the point and of course there is no use to have one. This person is there to listen and help with suggestions if you are ok with that. Carving this time to give and receive is so great. I have so far never felt like it was a waste of time, quite the contrary. We share resources, encourage each other. This is my boost for the day!
10- Keep a positive attitude. Whenever you feel like you are going nowhere, go back to your insights, write a gratitude entry in your journal and acknowledge where you start and where you are at this moment. Even if none of your goals were achieved, you still have made progress and changed perceptions about certain things in life and just this is awesome. Remember that a positive outlook make most of the journey’s fun, no matter what.