Time to Take Stock

Winter tends to be a time for slowing down, for hibernating a little bit, before re-emerging in the spring with renewed energy. The end of the calendar year offers a natural line in the sand – the end of something before you begin afresh. It provides an opportunity for a clean slate. Now is a good time for you to think about what positive changes you want to make in your life. Some of you might be creating your wish list for next year – setting yourself some goals perhaps.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-mind-map-setting-personal-life-goals-image9267662As a coach I am all for this, although I am not a fan of resolutions as I explained last year in my post Out with Resolutions. In with Goals. What I think we don’t do enough of at this time, is to reflect and to take stock. It’s easy to keep moving forward, thinking about the next athletic challenge (guilty), the places we want to visit (guilty), the activities we want to start (or stop – guilty), or the new body we are going to create through better nutrition and increased attendance at the Crossfit gym and Friday night circuits (also guilty). All this is good, and I will be setting myself some goals for 2105 for sure, no doubt around these topics.

However, what I am also planning to do and would encourage you to do also, is to carve out some time in the next few weeks to take stock of 2014. What were the highlights; what did you achieve; what went really well for you; what didn’t go so well; what have you learnt about yourself and maybe about other people around you from any upsets.

Life moves so quickly that we can easily forget all that has been achieved and experienced in the year. And sometimes the upsets, the sadness, or the hurt can overshadow the good things that we experienced. It’s helpful to write these down, and to see in black and white how much you experienced this past year – good and bad. Having a clearer understanding of the past year will allow you to think more broadly, and perhaps more ambitiously, for 2015. Or it might do the reverse. You may feel that 2014 was quite overwhelming, and what you could do with in 2015 is some consolidation.

This doesn’t need to be done alone either – why not have a family review over dinner one night, or perhaps introduce that into a conversation you have with your best friend?

I am meeting my friend Debbie over Christmas and plan to do this with her, as well as 2015 goal setting. We will have time and we have a similar outlook to challenges and will motivate and encourage each other.

Happy Reflecting!

Out with Resolutions. In with Goals

As one year comes to an end and another begins, we naturally start thinking about what we want to change or improve in our lives. Tradition has it that we set ourselves resolutions, a host of things we plan to either start or stop doing, or do more of – losing weight, getting fit, saving money, quitting smoking, cutting back on our chocolate or booze consumption.

How many times have you begun the New Year with a bunch of resolutions? And how would you rate your success at maintaining them even to the end of January?

You are not alone; sadly about 88% of us fail to keep to our New Year Resolutions.

Don’t be discouraged though; there are some good reasons why resolutions don’t work:

  1. Will power is not a character trait, it is more like a muscle. We need to develop it over time through repetitive use and gradually increase the challenges we set it. So starting a year with several resolutions is bit like trying to lift your own body weight without building up that strength gradually – it’s doomed to failure.
  2. Setting ourselves abstract goals without specific actions or behaviours make it very difficult for our brains to focus on what actually to do.
  3. We tend to set resolutions in the negative – I won’t eat chocolate, or I’ll stop smoking, and our brains do not understand negatives, which effectively means we are saying to ourselves ‘eat chocolate’ and ‘smoke’.
  4. Often we choose to take on areas of life which we feel we ‘ought’ to sort out, but we aren’t necessarily ready to make the changes required.

There are some simple ways of increasing your chances of success:

  1. Make your goals realistic – under promising and over delivering is far more motivating than the opposite.  The more we begin to achieve the more likely we are to continue.
  2. Set yourself milestones along the way so you are working towards a closer, smaller goal and acknowledge and reward yourself for reaching them.
  3. Break each milestone goal down into small steps with some specific actions to follow.
  4. Build in time for those actions – put it in your diary, write them down, create a habit around them.
  5. Hold yourself accountable by sharing your goals with people.
  6. Find ways to make it fun, not a chore.

This New Year resolve to set yourself some clear, realistic goals which are congruent with your current priorities. If you want support to set goals and keep you on track to reach them, contact us for a free 20 minute consultation on 01234 342919.