Five keys to successfully goal setting. Get what you want, discover why you failed in the past or apply these keys as you create new goals in your life. I figured this out during a recent challenge I set for myself.
Every cheesy saying you can think of is in my head right now. A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. One day at a time. “ I think I can” from the little engine that could even (with apologies to Barack Obama) “yes I can!”
I recently completed a thirty-day hot yoga challenge at my Bikram studio, where I, and many others, went every day for the 90-minute class of 26 poses in 104 F heat for 30 days in a row. A few days before I finished what seemed impossible when I began, I had a real moment of sadness. This most amazing and enriching experience was almost over. What seemed insurmountable earlier was now in it’s dénouement. Amazing.
In completing successfully this physically grueling thirty-day challenge I’ve learned a few things about goal setting and universal truths about just being a human trying to do something that stretches you away from your norm. Here are my top five discoveries.
- 1. You can change.
If you want to do something, you will. Don’t bother with the excuses. Be honest, if you aren’t doing it, you don’t really want to. There is little we can’t do. Your excuses are like the argument “ I can’t afford that”. In the big picture, we all afford what matters to us; we can’t afford what doesn’t matter to us. So if you really want something, be it red hair, a thinner waist, an Italian accent-you can make it happen.
- Take it a day at a time.
This is where the cheesy statements are right. Name the overarching goal, and then just choose every day to get closer in every little choice. It is the little choices that make the difference. Struggling with starting? Lower your standards and take the smallest step you can every time. It is still a step closer than if you did nothing.
- 3. Break out the cheerleaders!
Having my two kids and my admiring husband support me emotionally and physically (how else could I be away from home so much?) Really helped me keep at it. On the days when my resolve was failing, they were pushing me out the door with my yoga mat and water bottle. It doesn’t have to be family or friends even, tell lots of people! Tell your pizza delivery guy, the dry cleaner, and the lady at the check out at the grocery store. You will be surprised where your words of encouragement will come from.
- Honey works better than vinegar.
Focus on every gain you make. I gave myself a gift for every ten days completed. I didn’t base it on my weight or inches lost. I gave myself a gift for showing up every day. No recriminations or negative self talk needed here for what I didn’t attain. Some days just getting out of bed deserves to be recognized. Be kind to yourself and splurge on compliments and rewards.
- When you achieve your goal, remember: this isn’t the end, this is the beginning.
Once you make changes they are part of the new you. Some clutter genius once said that every time you bring a new piece of clothing home you have to get an old item out of your closet. So it is with habits. You aren’t renting this new habit; it is REPLACING the old one. Toss the old one out. It doesn’t live here anymore; there isn’t room for it.
And to wrap it all up, I have to say, learning I could really make a big change like this in my life, I almost recoiled. I know there is no real excuse or lots of my habits that I say I don’t like, but I can’t change. The truth I learned is I can change anything. That is daunting and frightening. But I’m not backing down. Now that I have learned that I can do what matters, I will not shrink back in fear from the immense possibilities that represents. I’m taking that energy and directing it to the next great change I’m making in my life. What about you?