I am sure that you have been reflecting over your last 12 months and you probably still are… don’t you just love the way that the junction where one year is ending (whether it’s a calendar year or your birthday year) and the new one is beginning inspires us to look at our lives and plan how to make improvements?
You may be reflecting on what you’ve achieved, the challenges that you faced, what you’re grateful for, where you feel you fell short and could do better and many other things.You’ll probably also be planning how to flip the switch for this new year; but reality means that the transition from one year to another is not a magic wand – sadly much as we want to, we don’t just wake up with a perfect life… the challenges that we face are still lurking but it’s also those challenges that make us human and we have to put in the work to create the changes that we desire.
As we start making our way through this early part of the New Year many of us have started setting goals, some of us are setting major goals that relate to all aspects of our lives – work goals, diet and health goals, fitness goals, financial goals so as the year has barely started some of us are trying to initiate a total life change forgetting that (1) we are human and change takes time, (2) we really don’t have to do everything at once (3) we should be gentle and flexible with ourselves when setting goals – particularly now.
Now, as a serial goal setter one thing that I have learnt and stand by is that goals are more effective when you allow yourself time and space to let them manifest, you know…you plant the seed, there is nothing, you add water, and before you know it a bud breaks through the soil, and then within days there are leaves and a plant is rooted (I hope you enjoy that very simplistic analogy)
“As a serial goal setter one thing that I have learnt and stand by is that goals are more effective when you allow yourself time and space to let them manifest…”
Think about it this way: the reality is that most of the goals that we set are potentially life changing or at the very least they are life enhancing so isn’t it fair to give them and ourselves the best possible chance of success?
The traditional theory that everybody talks about is that it takes between 21 and 26 days for a habit to form and become embedded and this came about in the 1960s. More recently, researchers at University College London found that it depends on the individual and that it can actually take double or even triple that amount of time… wow! So, with this in mind does that make even more sense to go for slow goals? This allows each action to become a part of your life and give the better chance of staying a part of your life.
“The reality is that most of the goals that we set are potentially life changing or at the very least they are life enhancing so isn’t it fair to give them and ourselves the best possible chance of success?”
If for example one of your goals is to get control over your gadgets, you know the digital detox, or your goal is to practice more mindful eating, then that probably is just enough to deal with for one month.
Remember every single day of the month you’re going to have to focus on changing that particular behaviour, so if it is mindful eating then every time you go to put food in your mouth you have to think about whether you’re doing at the right time, whether you’re doing it as a response to a trigger, whether you’re actually hungry and how that food is going to affect you.
If you’re working on a digital detox you’re going to have to question yourself every time you go to pick up your iPad, iPhone or visit social media so that you do it consciously and monitor the amount of time you spend on it: all of this takes effort, focus and concentration! Imagine trying to manage these while at the same time managing a whole new fitness regime or a diet or any of your other competing goals? It takes time to adapt to new behaviours.
So start by listing your goals in order of importance to you and decide which one you want to start with, which one will have the most impact on your daily life and slowly build from there.