*Update: This was originally written for those people struggling with the January Blues. But truly, this post might be speaking to you in the peak of summer. Anytime that you feel you have fallen short of a goal, let me remind you that many perceived “failures” are not what they seem….
This time of year can feel like a bit of a downer for many people. Not only is it cold and still quite dark outside, but we are also financially stretched from Christmas… oh AND if that wasn’t enough. Some of us have been doing battle with New Year’s Resolutions.
January is the month that most gyms see a surge in memberships, as do diet and weight loss groups. Then there is dry January and the vegan challenge, Veganuary. Traditionally, it’s become the month that we push ourselves to change out of guilt for the indulgences of the festive season, among other driving factors.
Now I think things like Veganuary are brilliant, and I love the awareness this spreads about health and animal welfare – so I’m not knocking it at all. I simply want to illustrate how challenging we make this month for ourselves.
So if you have been having a tough January, then let me ask you a question…
Who are you doing it for, and why?
If you are doing it for yourself and you know why you want whatever change you are striving for, then that is excellent. If that’s where you are at, then you can ignore the next few paragraphs and move onto the next heading below.
But, if you are unsure why you were pushing yourself for something in the first place, then this is where I will encourage you to pause and check in with yourself.
For example, if you found yourself taking on a January health and fitness challenge simply because your friends were doing it, or because you thought that you “should”, then you will already know that doing something for these less-compelling reasons makes everything feel 100x harder.
Any challenge that you take on, for you to succeed and feel proud at the end of it, needs your heart to be in it. If your heart wasn’t really in it, then don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stay on track.
You haven’t “failed”, you have simply learned an important life lesson.
If you haven’t stayed on track, but you really wanted to, what can you do?
It’s really common for people to take on a big challenge or goal, find themselves overwhelmed and not be able to last the distance. Again, I firmly believe this is not to be viewed as failure, but a lesson.
If there is something you really want to achieve, but you’ve struggled and missed the mark on your first attempt, then take the lesson onboard, change your approach and try again.
So what were the lessons to take on board? It’s likely that if you’ve read this far then you are like many of my clients whom have inspired me to write this.
Perhaps you have bitten off a bit more than you could chew and then knocked yourself out trying to do it all.
It’s a very common human response to that little feeling of existential dread many of us get around 31st December when we commit to our resolutions for the year to come. We feel another year has passed us by, and we vow to “pull our socks up” and do that big thing – whatever that big thing is for us.
It really doesn’t matter whether you are trying to lose weight, complete a triathlon, start a business from scratch or quit a bad habit. The basic structure to your approach (the one that will work) will be the same. You just need a simple strategy that gets you closer to your goal, one small step at a time, fitting around your existing life and commitments.
If you are ready to get things straightened out in your head and in your life, then I have a free month-long challenge in February that will help you to work on the changes you want to make by building your own strategic plan.
During the challenge I will talk about four key areas of life that are popular for goal setting and change-making; finances, relationships, friends and family, and work. But do keep in mind these areas are just to give you some real world context. You can apply my strategy tips to any goal at all.
During this free challenge, with my help you will:
- Get clear on your priorities
- Understand the driving force behind your dreams, and how to use that as a motivator when the going gets tough
- Make a contingency plan for dealing with problems along the way
- Set micro-goals you can stick to, without the overwhelm
- Make as much progress as you feel ready for
If this sounds useful to you, then I would love to see you in there and I look forward to helping you.
Sign up here and I will see you soon!