Reboot Your Goal-Setting
Since the start of the year, I've been discussing a lot about goal-setting and minimizing stress. I truly believe in the depth of my soul that we are all placed on this earth to share our gifts with humanity in order to leave it a more interconnected, positive, and compassionate place. To that end, us over-achieving types sometimes beat up on ourselves for not climbing Mt. Everest in a day. Everyone else around us thinks we're accomplished and valuable, yet we have the Mafia in our mind that tells us we aren't good enough.
Serendipitously, I was catching up on my O magazine subscription and guess what the January issue is about? 9 rules to reboot your resolutions! Some of the rules are ones that I've mentioned before, like using tech tools or creating a success plan and adjusting it as necessary. Great minds think alike. However there were two tips in particular that stood out to me.
Create a contingency plan in advance
In the article, Sarah Wexler presents that it's natural for our brain's impulsive nature to avoid difficult tasks. Instead of giving in to it, we can create specific contingency plans. For example, if I really want that soda instead of water, I can think, "I can have the soda after I finish 8 ounces of water." If I don't want to go to the fitness class, I can say, "I'll dance to fast paced music for 15 minutes while preparing dinner."
Use your bad habits to discover solutions
Another tip that was important was to figure out what my bad habits are indicating. It's not an absence of willpower. My daily Crackbucks Starbucks habit really means that I'm not getting enough sleep in the morning. My craving for a side of Pappadeaux's cheese grits when I've brought my lunch already? I want comfort and a break from my overscheduled day.
The bottom line
Instead of berating myself for these bad habits, I can do two things. Try to prevent the root cause from even happening (get more sleep and plan breaks in my day). Or I can admit that life will happen and substitute my bad habits with something else enjoyable. Instead of the cheese grits, I'll have a small square of dark chocolate (my favorite!) and take a walk. Instead of the Starbucks, I'll go to bed at 10:30 with warm bedsheets and a soft comforter and opt for the weaker home-brewed coffee in the morning.