Use January to set your goals properly!
Read the THREE STEPS to REALLY accomplish your heart’s desire!
The New Year is about a week old. We’ve survived the family rallies, office parties, Christmas and New Year's Eve and let's be honest: aren't we all familiar to that extraordinary feeling of relief as we collapse on our couch, turn the TV on and thoughtlessly start munching on whatever still appears eatable? Then suddenly - from the corner of one eye - there it is. The list of resolutions we drafted so excitedly:
‘Eat healthier.’ The problem about eating healthier is that so many cookies and leftovers are just desperately waiting to be eaten. Why don’t we just release them from their misery?
‘Be a better person.’ How - for example - can I be a better person if I throw away good food? I think of the poor and decide to keep it all.
‘Do more sport and run a half-marathon.’ Well, week is already over. Haven’t been out once. Hangover, temperature-drop and of course lack of proper, warm clothes. I realize I might actually also need a gym membership.
So, here’s plan B: postpone my resolutions in the second week of January! If we’re completely honest, we don’t even feel so bad about it or at least we know how to handle our guilty conscience, because that’s what we do - every. single. year! Only ONE WEEK has gone by and the 2019 To-Do List has turned into a more fluffily pilot scheme with twenty unconstrained, rather ideas that would be fun to do in 2019 including more lame excuses than solutions to finally achieve what we really feel the urge to accomplish.
3 STEPS in 3 WEEKS
Imagine, you freeze all your to-do lists, wish lists, still-open-since-5-years lists for the next three weeks. Every day you think about the following three points. But there is one ground rule that has to be met all the way: be completely honest to yourself! No judges, no one reading your notes, nothing. It’s just you and yourself. Be honest.
Take a notebook to write down whatever comes to your mind. Later, that notebook shall help you organize your thoughts, double check what really matters to you and help you precisely phrase your goals for the upcoming months and years.
STEP 1 – START DAYDREAMING
Whenever there’s time, try to put yourself in that status of daydreaming. Remember those times, as a kid, sitting in the school bus or just starring at the blackboard not hearing anything around you because you were dreaming of your future life? You, as a tennis star, a famous musician or a popular and never forgotten teacher. You dreamed of backpacking with your closest friends, learning how to surf waves in Hawaii or how to pass your bar exam. Those feelings were gigantic, deep, moving and filled you with energy, joy and hope, am I right?
Many of us have stopped daydreaming. We are stuck. We are stuck in our daily routine. Instead of surfing sea waves, we surf the Internet or try to survive endless duties, deadlines and responsibilities.
Step out of your vicious cycle, set yourself in daydream mode and answer the following questions:
What is important to me and why?
What has been important to me in the last years and is it still important?
Which values matter to me?
Did I live by these values?
What goals did I have in the last years and why? For whom?
The thought of achieving these goals, did it make me feel energetic, strong and deeply happy? Or rather not.
After sorting out the dreams and values of the past and why they were important to you, dig deeper in your future plans. Ask critical questions. Double-check why those To-Do’s have made it to your lists.
What do I really want to achieve? Why?
When do I want to achieve it?
What country do I want to travel to? Why?
Do I want to finish a half-marathon? Why?
Do I want to loose some weight? Why?
Do I want to earn 10% more? Why?
Do I want to get a stronger back? Why?
Why would I want to go to bed earlier?
Why would I want to eat healthier?
Yes, the answers look so damned obvious! But are they really? Have you tried writing them down? Why does it matter to you to eat healthier or to get more muscles in your back or finish a half-marathon? Here's the key to accomplish you 2019 New Year's resolutions:
If you know the reason, you can see the finish line! If you know the reason, you’ll overcome all the little and big obstacles that will cross your way. If you know the answer, you won’t give up. The answers to those questions are the way to your finish line. If you know why, you get back to all those wonderful deeply moving emotions. You feel what you really want, what those answers mean to you and why you want it. You might stop copying things 90 % of your friends have on their lists as well. By answering those questions you start not only writing something down, you start to feel and imagine and taste and smell what it’s like to accomplish your goal. Once you get this far, it’s YOUR goal and you won‘t want to let it go!
STEP 2 – SUBSTANTIATE and SLOWLY INTEGRATE YOUR TASKS
Formulate a handful of precise, positive goals in first person and presence and add a concrete date to each goal. “I finish my first half-marathon on April 10th 2020 in Vienna.”
Gather the things you need to fulfill your dreams. Let’s stick to the half-marathon. You need gear (Yes, you are allowed to shop!) and running shoes (I love ON running shoes). You need a Fitness Tracker. A gym membership is advisable. That’s basically it as a start. Inevitable: you need time.
Furthermore, the realistic implementation of necessary changing steps in your life is essential. Obviously you want to change something otherwise you wouldn’t still be reading this. Your daily routine needs an effective make-over. Experience shows that squeezing all those well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions into your ‘old life’ is simply impossibly. What will happen eventually is you feel lost or angry with yourself and become immensely disappointed that the year has started as always. Same sh** - different year!
So, take your agenda and find time for your new tasks. Become your own boss. It’s your own time to plan! Don’t put a morning run in your agenda if you’re NOT a morning person. You won’t get up to run. Believe me. Start slowly rather than aggressive! Go running twice a week for 30 or 45 minutes and add one gym workout. The chance of fulfilling these 3 tasks is much higher than having 4x1 hour per week on your To-Do list.
One thing is crystal clear: if you manage to perform those smoothly integrated tasks for 4 or more weeks in a row, the likelihood of finishing the half-marathon increases tremendously. Be aware that progression is always possible.
STEP 3 – GET TO KNOW YOUR SELF-EFFICIACY
What you need after all is the awareness what you’re capable of. Self-efficacy is the belief in your own abilities, in the ability to succeed. Learn that you have the power to achieve whatever you have daydreamed about. And also be aware that it is not somebody or something that keeps you off track.
No excuses. If you want to eat healthier and you’ve set the goal: ‘I eat organic vegetarian meals at least 3 times a week for the next 6 months’ it is YOU who decide what you put in your mouth. You are the one who prepares qualified meals. You are the one who orders a veggie meal instead of the tasty looking burger. No one else places that order. You are the one who jumps into those new running shoes after work. It can be tough. YES. Really tough. But also you know for sure that coming home after 30 minutes you’ll be proud of yourself and relieved.
Within the next few days try to think of self-efficacy along the way. Make yourself aware of your strengths! Whenever a reason comes up that collides with fulfilling your new, healthy task, think of YOUR power to decide what to do and DO IT!
The more you train this habit, the more you get to know your own self-efficacy the more you’ll get used to it. And one day it becomes completely normal and logic to you and your environment. You’ll definitely think of it when you have passed the finish line of your marathon!
Good luck and have fun! YOU ROCK!
Literature recommendation on how to set your goals: Antje Heimsoeth