Hello March! two months since everyone was eager to transform their inner and outer world but I’m wondering, how are things going?
Maybe the question is catching you by surprise, but it came to my mind last week as I picked up book from the library, one I had placed a hold on a while ago. It is a daybook, you know one of those that offer some wisdom for everyday of the year. I was wondering where to start with it… the current date? He first day of the year? Something told me it might be a good idea to start at the beginning.
And there it was… January 1st. An invitation to dream, set goals and get those action plans in motion.
And I’m wondering, where are you today?
I’ll be brave and go first… I’ll start by saying I’m not really into new year’s resolutions, at least not in the conventional way but I do like to pick a word to “guide” me as a new year begins and proceeds. Last year my word was “balance”; this year my word is “strength”. My word usually reflects something that I aspire to have more of or cultivate throughout the year.
Now, a little update: this is a practice that I’ve been keeping for several years now. The first few years, I absolutely forgot all about it about 10 days into a new year. This year and last year I’ve been doing quite a bit of progress… I think of my word often and I make ongoing changes in my life to re-commit to my dreams and goals. At this particular time, I’m feeling stronger, particularly physically. The last 2 years I had a few injuries that forced me to cut back on my exercise routine (and life in general). It seemed the harder I pushed my body, the weaker I was becoming so with a little patience and kindness, I managed to cut back enough to respect my body. It wasn’t easy, if you are slightly addicted to “doing”, you understand how difficult this can be.
One of the things I realized about building strength (physical, mental and emotional) is that is one of those things where less is more. Is also about strategizing how you are going to channel your energies, where are you going to direct your attention and of course, executing things in a more skillful manner. All of this requires patience and discipline.
A lot of trial an error, but totally worth it.
It’s quite amazing how much we can accomplish when we ease off the pressure of ourselves and we focus on the overall feeling we want to accomplish. Personally, I want to feel strong, healthy, balanced and happy. I want to fell WELL. In the past, I would have wanted to run x amount of kilometres in x amount of time, weight a certain number, eat a certain amount of calories daily. That was my “resolution” mindset.
Interestingly enough, I would run those kilometres, tap myself on the back for attending 5 hot yoga classes weekly (!!!), and weight the desired amount but I was not necessarily feeling stronger, more balanced or healthier…
I think setting specific, measurable goals is important, especially if you are the type of person who needs to have something very specific in mind in order to stay focussed. But to be completely honesty, I think we would all benefit and make more progress if we were to change our “all or nothing” mentality that tells us that because we had a set back, we should forget all about it and let it all go. I’ve come to understand that to reach goals (all kinds of goals but goals around health and fitness fall very nicely here) it’s all about re-assessing, re-committing and just keeping at it. How many times? As many times as necessary.
So how about we just do that together!
- Think of a word that describes your desired state of being. It could be: peaceful, joyful, balanced, relaxed, healthier, etc. How do you want to feel?
Go it? Then,
- Write down 5 to 10 actions you can take on a weekly basis to help you experience more of that feeling. Here is an example. If you desire to feel “healthier”, some of the actions would be:
- Moving my body 15 minutes every day;
- Add 1 glass of water everyday this week. Another one next week until I reach 7-9 glasses a day;
- Cut back 1 unit of: glass of alcohol, cigarette, coffee, sugar, etc. daily this week;
- Add some kind of vegetable to every main meal each day;
- This month I will address a neglected health problem and finally schedule an appointment with my: physician, naturopath, physiotherapist, etc.
- Clean my home (yup, so related to a healthy mind and body);
- Get some fresh air everyday, etc.
- Commit to practicing those actions on a daily basis. Every day, pick 1-3 actions from your list and DO them. Everything counts! Remember less is more. Instead of going all intense and trying to accomplish all 10 things on your list, focus on achieving your goal in a slower and steadier manner.
- Re-assess continually. Having a hard time taking small steps to achieve your desired state of being? Don’t give up just yet… take a step back and see if you are being realistic. Cut back a little but refuse to give up. Often we give up too quickly. We set unrealistic goals to begin with and then, when we can keep up we beat ourselves up and then forget all about them. Find a middle ground, maybe this requires you take another look at that list of actions you came up with.
Whatever your personality, make a commitment to yourself. If you are more on the intense/perfectionist side, maybe you actually need to cut back and commit to a few (but good) things. On the other hand, if you tend to procrastinate and make excuses, perhaps you need to take an honest look at what is really going on, what is holding you back from going after your dreams and goals? We all have things to work on so don’t feel lonely ❤
Share your victories, let me know how it goes!