Embracing Your Disappointments
When a new year starts, I take time to think back to my past year and write down my disappointing moments. It may seem odd, strange or counterproductive as we are seeking to boost our goals for the new year, but in order to create goals that will be attainable, it is important to remember the goals that you were not able to accomplish from the past year. Looking back on those disappointments can help you realize what didn’t go well, why we couldn’t accomplish them and offer some great wisdom on how to make them work this year.
Use this time as a learning lesson on how to better make changes in your life that work for you. The main takeaway is that every disappointment has a wise learning lesson for you. Here is how you can do this:
#1: Write down the goal/s from last year that you were not able to accomplish.
Be specific and stay objective. The purpose of doing this is to look for natural patterns that you keep falling into. Here is an example: Instead of saying, “My willpower and stamina sucks” you can restate this in a more objective and helpful statement, “I start off strong and determined each week, but by Wednesday night I am overwhelmed and tired and fall back to my old habits.” Taking a deeper dive into your actions is helpful as it can identify a pattern. Once you see the pattern you can create coping strategies for overcoming it and offer yourself something different on Wednesdays that can keep you motivated to make it through the week. Patterns can vary and they can be physical or mental self-talk. See what a pattern for you may be and take a deeper dive into why that pattern keeps popping up.
Tip #2: Categorize the triggers to your pattern.
As you are doing your deep dive, take a moment and write down what happens on Wednesdays that may cause you to be overwhelmed. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you stressed about a specific topic? Is it a time management issue? Do you have less energy? Really sit and write out all the specifics that may be causing this feeling. Once you have the list you can create a coping strategy for each one. It could be all of the above and that is okay, since life is busy, we will all go through trying times. Keeping a list of the stressors will help you better understand what you can handle every day.
Tip #3: Create your coping strategies and solutions.
So, you have narrowed down why you feel overwhelmed and fall back to your old habits by Wednesday each week. If it’s fatigue that hits you, how can you make sleep a priority in your life? What can you do every afternoon and early evening to make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep that night? If it is a stressful situation, who in your network of friends and family can you ask for help? What health insurance resources are available for you to seek for therapy? Many insurance companies offer health programs at no cost to their members. It is worth it to take a look and see what you could utilize. There are also community programs that offer low-cost personal development courses or fitness classes to help boost your knowledge and energy. If it is time management, how could you schedule your week so that you still have little moments of “me time” in every day so you are not exhausted by the end of the day? If it is financial, how can you cut back on some things so you can save more money? Could you make more lunches at home, become your own barista, or streamline your internet and Cable TV?
Tip #4: Choose only one solution at a time.
After going through all your disappointments, categorizing your triggers and creating solutions, choose to work on only one at a time. Schedule them out, so that they don’t overwhelm you. Choose to focus on one a week and you may be surprised when you accomplish it in a few days and can move on to the next one. Celebrate your successes! Once you create a coping strategy and feel good about the solution you’ve created, celebrate it and keep on doing it each week.
Tip #5: There is no endpoint
Well, there is an endpoint it’s called death. Not to be dark and dreary, but it is the truth. If we think of reaching our goals as an endpoint and you’re finished once you lose those 30lbs or once you create more financial freedom you will set yourself up to fail. When you start on this journey of change and healthier habits you will begin a continuous movement forward. You will continue to grow, learn and expand in all areas as you continue to live and thrive. Remember, the ride is just as important as the destination. The more you can be grateful for the opportunity to take the ride, no matter the bumps, dreaded changes and hurdles you have to go through, the better off you will be physically, mentally and even spiritually on your journey. You may not lose those 30lbs in the timeframe you expected, but you gained the capability of changing your mindset to include more movement in your life, more fruits and vegetables and even gained more quality sleep in that time frame. Those are all “wins” in anyone’s book, so be grateful for what you can accomplish.
The practice of changing your mindset from “I have to” to a mindset filled with “I want to” will bring more accomplished goals. It can help you push through those tough decisions especially when the resolutions honeymoon period has diminished, and Wednesday closes in on you.
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