Right about now is when we start losing steam. All of that New-year vigor has run out and we have sunk pretty firmly back into the trenches of established routines. Work, drink, hang with friends, watch TV. Some of the goals we swore up and down would change our life this year have dimmed in the brightness of their importance. Even those of us with maybe an advanced ability to set and achieve goals have relaxed a little. The year is steaming on ahead, as life does. Now is about the time everyone is saying “Can you believe its almost April?” Hell, that’s practically summer. This is normal, it’s natural and in many ways inevitable. But in realizing that I’ve let up a little in the pursuit of my goals, how do I get back to them? It’s about understanding why I’ve let up.
1. You’re Doing Too Much
A new habit takes about 3 weeks to cement in the mind. With this in mind, I thought, “Well there’s four weeks in a month so I should Totally be able to add a new habit or fine tune an exisiting one EVERY month.”
This was a nice thought in theory, but 3 months into the year I’ve realized that just maybe I bit off more than I could chew. I work full time, I train upwards of 6 hours a week, am attempting to maintain a social life, have downtime, and actually sleep. Adding a new ritual (meditation, reading, etc) EVERY month has turned out to be a little too
2. Okay, But I Still Want To ______
So now that I’ve been honest with myself about what I’m actually reasonably capable of, I can plan how to keep making progress. There is no need for feeling guilty or down on myself. That isn’t helpful. I just have to be real with myself, which is different. It means honestly examining what I want, and what I might be afraid of that’s stopping me. Maybe I’m not afraid, maybe I’m just too overwhelmed in another area of my life, and that is stressing me out to the point where this Other Goal I Have gets neglected as a result. Those things are normal.
You may also have just added too much to an already full plate, and that’s okay. So maybe there’s another area of your life that you can do less in, in order to make room for something new.
3. DOING THE THING
Some questions to ask yourself about your goal/resolution
-“What am I afraid will happen if I actually accomplish this?”
This is a good question for many types of goals, including if not especially creative ones or health ones. Self sabotage and fear of success is very real.
For example, this blog. I decided I wanted to blog regularly, to share my training process, to encourage people, to connect. I have been sitting on a post about my last competition since January 20th. Why? It’s almost done, I’m proud of what I accomplished in that competition, and I had a great experience that I want to share. What gives?
Good old fashioned fear of rejection, of course! I’ve been afraid that people will think it’s boring, that my dissection of the mental and emotional side of competing is dumb, that I’m a bad writer, the list goes on.
Name your fear. Reassure yourself against it. Ask for validation from people you truly trust who build you up. Then DO THE thing.
“I’m too busy to do X, how can I make time for it?”
Imagine what the perfect conditions would be for X to occur. Does perfect conditions mean literally more hours in a day? Can you go to bed earlier and wake up earlier if you know you have more drive to do stuff in the morning? Experiment. Is it your roommates/partner/kids* knowing you need 20 minutes to yourself at 4 pm? Asking for help in creating your Perfect Conditions from your close loved ones may surprise you. Sometimes the outside perspective from people who know you really well can provide the answer.
“Maybe I don’t really want X?”
Okay, maybe! Make a list of all the possible reasons you made X resolution to begin with. Go through each one and dismiss or validate it. Maybe you decided to give up a food/drink/activity in support of or because a friend was and it seemed like a good idea at the time, but you’re not REALLY invested in that nor does it actually add anything to your life. Scrap it and don’t feel guilty. Or maybe it was a great idea to do for a month and you ambitiously decided to do it for a year, just because it sounds impressive. It’s okay to let that go too. You don’t have to prove anything.
The value of a resolution, whether it’s a new habit, goal, practice etc is what it adds to our life and how it can help us grow. If it’s not helping you grow and it’s stressing you out, dump it. You can always try again later if you want to.
My biggest realization of this month was that creativity has to start taking more priority in my life, specifically writing and performing (reading my work or acting). But I was afraid to write. I butted heads with my creative insecurities, and still am. But I realized that if I want to keep growing, keep writing, keep thriving, then I must continue this active investigation of myself and sometimes FORCE myself to do the thing.
I wrote this post in one sitting at Barnes and Nobles between training clients, because I needed to force myself to post Something to get the ball rolling again. I realized that what I thought were my perfect conditions for writing were actually just bad conditions. I can’t wait until I’m home at 7 pm, tired and ready for bed. I need to write when the sun is up and cruising around the city. I’m exploring what I actually need to do in order TO DO.
Examine your goals and resolutions. Recommit or scrap them and move on. Ask for help. Be kind to yourself.
And go do the things!