New Goals

Welcome January.

This is the time of year when we all make those handy-dandy New Year’s resolutions, work really hard for a couple weeks, and go back to the norm because we were super gung ho and burned ourselves out in a few weeks.  I did 30 seconds of Google research on this one guys…. only 8% of New Year’s resolutions happen.

January is a time for self imposed failure rituals.  How fun.

(I realize it is essentially a week in, and I’m just now talking to you about resolutions, diets, getting organized, and the rest of that self improvement bullshit.  I am willing to move past that.)

At this point we are a week into our resolutions and a lot of us have already screwed up.  We already feel like failures.  We already gave up.  I might be included in that list… I’m not for sure.

Anywhoo….. I have a few goals for 2015 that I’m going to share here publicly.  I’m picking super easy goals because I’m still pumped about those Mini-Habits I told you about a month or so ago.

  1. Tell people I know in real life that I have a blog.
  2. Make my blog more me.  I do occasionally like pink… but in general I’m just not a pink person.  I need to turn this into something more me.
  3. Read 25 books (kid’s books don’t count, young adult books do)
  4. Do something active every day.  It doesn’t matter what it is… doing a couple crunches, walking on the treadmill, going to a yoga class… as long as I’m doing it for the purpose of being active.  (Things that have to get done anyway don’t count)
  5. Commit to one blog a week.  The content doesn’t matter, it just has to be a published post.
  6. Find one item every day that I don’t want, don’t need, or will never use and get rid of it.  It can be thrown out, given away, donated, sacrificed to the gods, repurposed, whatever.

If you yourself made some sort of resolution or attempt at self improvement at the start of the new year… don’t give up.  Maybe you picked something that was not reasonable for you.  Maybe you went into it without a plan.  Maybe it isn’t that important to you.  It doesn’t really matter.  If you find that you are struggling, take a moment to reassess what your goal is, come up with a gameplan, and move forward.  Maybe this new plan will be better for you.  Maybe you will need to re-assess again and again until you find a goal that is attainable and a plan to make it happen.

photo credit: “after the rain viii” by Dayna Bateman licensed under CC BY 4.0

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Mini Habits

With the New Year’s fast approaching many people are thinking about their new Resolutions… many people are hoping to make some major changes in their lives.

Here is a little non-scientific poll for you to take:

 

Why?  Why do we make these New Year’s resolutions?  Well…. we want to make ourselves better, we strive for improving ourselves.  We want to be the best people we can be….  We want to look good, be healthy, have money, help others, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  It is also tradition and tradition matters.

If you selected anything but “Ain’t nobody got time for that”  in the poll above I want you to answer a new poll:

 

If this works the way I think it will (because it is the way my life works) those of us who make resolutions tend not to keep resolutions.  At least not consistently.

 

So… confession time again… I have been known to pick up the occasional self-help book.  I’m kinda fucked up, I want to be better.  Judge me.  Actually I do enjoy these books because I do get something out of them.  There are a LOT of self help books that are a bunch of BS, but the vast majority contain some little bit of information, some little tip, that I can use in my life.  One of the books I recently picked up was “Mini Habits”  by Stephen Guise.

The concept of this book is pretty simple…. We make big goals, we fail, we start to doubt our abilities, we stop trying, we feel bad about ourselves.  If we swap out those big goals for little tiny goals that are next to impossible to fail we can get out of this neverending spiral down.  We can start making real improvements.

This resonates with me.

I try to make resolutions, I try to get healthy, I try to save more money, I try to do a lot of things and I fail.  I stop trying… Why try if I know deep down it isn’t going to happen.

In the book the example provided over, and over, and over (really… it get brought up a lot) is the Author’s first mini-habit.  He sets the goal of doing one push up every day.  He can choose to do more, but he can never choose to do less.  Well, how frigging easy is it to do one push up every day?  (Or to put on your workout clothes, or to drink one cup of water, or to save $1 a week)  The point is that these are stupid small goals that are almost impossible not to do.  Every day you do this tiny little thing, and every day your confidence builds and builds.  Eventually these mini-habits become full blown habits.

Let’s take my Green Smoothie challenge that I just wrapped up… I ended up failing it because life got in the way and that extra 5-10 minutes really was just too much for me to commit to every day.  Well, making the commitment to purchase spinach or kale or some other green leafy thing once a week is not a big stretch for me.  I am going to the grocery store anyway, if I have all my supplies I am going to end up doing something with them,  I like green smoothies more than I like spinach and kale on their own… there is a pretty simple progression from purchasing greens to having green smoothies.  All of the steps in between are small, totally do-able most days, and if life ends up getting in the way again I have still met my goal by just purchasing some green shit.  Success!

One of the biggest problems I see… Feeling life a failure when you aren’t an overachiever.  I know with my green smoothies I really want to actually drink those things… buying supplies isn’t going to feel like success.  That is a problem, that is part of the reason my resolutions and goals fail.  I’m focused on the endpoint and not all the little steps in between.  Even if I do a stellar job at every little step from the first to the second to last I feel like a failure because that last step didn’t go the way I wanted it to go.  How much sense does that make?

 

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photo credit: “The Monument” by THTStudio licensed under CC BY 4.0