January is often a time people make resolutions, set goals, and have the best intentions for the year ahead. However, as time goes on, motivation can dwindle. Here are three simple ways to stay committed to the things you feel are most important for you to get right!
- List the logic
- Identify obstacles
- Plan weekly
Logic Vs. Emotion
Picture a weighing scale, where your emotions and subjective feelings are on one end, and logic and objective information on the other.
When your emotions are heightened, you are often paying less attention to logic and facts. A classic example is someone who says on Monday morning that they will go to the gym after work. By the time they finish work, they may have had a long, challenging day and they are tired, hungry, and frustrated. Their logical arguments of going to the gym can easily be forgotten in the face of their emotional needs, and they put off going to the gym that evening.
A useful tip is to create a list of all the reasons you can think of to stick with your goal.
For example, if I was trying to build better exercise habits, I might write down that I always have more energy after exercising, it improves my mood, my sleep quality, I feel better about myself, I look better, I avoid the guilt of not going and I can be proud of myself, I’m helping my cardiovascular health, endurance, and flexibility, I’m relieving stress and my brain is releasing endorphins, and so on. When it comes to the end of the day, looking at this list of logical arguments help you shift the balance on the weighing scales so that your emotions are not controlling your decision.
It’s also helpful to anticipate what are the things that may get in the way of achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to spend more time on continuous professional development (CPD), look at what has stopped you in the past or what could stop you in the future. You may feel you’re too busy to be able to make time for it.
Come up with ways to overcome these obstacles, for example, prioritise your weekly tasks and manage your time so that you can allocate time for CPD.
If you don’t design your own life, you’re more likely to fall into someone else’s plan.
Stephen Covey, author of the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, recommends that you plan every week before the week begins. It allows you to put first things first, and make sure there is time for the most important aspects of your life.
If you find yourself getting caught up in the day-to-day, without much time left for the things that give you purpose or add real value to your life and work, it may be useful to change how you are planning.
These tips will hopefully help you maintain balance and focus, and stick to your most important goals.
If you’re interested in getting some help with setting and sticking to goals, coaching might be right for you. See our brochure here.