Thursday, March 2, 2017
What To Do When You're Losing Steam on Your Goals
This year, I kept my resolutions much more simple than I did last year. For starters, I "only" set five, rather than the twenty I did in 2016. I also made one of my resolutions a built-in future goal setter: in other words, I made the goal to set goals (in this case, every month).
While I will catch you up on my other resolutions in another post, I wanted to visit this idea of setting monthly goals. For starters, this is not a new resolution for me---in fact, I set this exact same resolution back in 2014 (and a similar one in 2015), but then ended up giving up on it both years.
In theory, I like the idea of a monthly goal list---it's not as hard as setting a more broad yearly goal/resolution, but it's also got a little more heft than just something I'd write down on my weekly to-do list (that I'm still filling out every Sunday night, more or less faithfully).
But again, for the third time running, I'm struggling with it.
And I think I know why.
The first year I tried it, I gave up mid-year because I wasn't seeing too many measurable results from the process and thought I'd be better off devoting that focus to developing certain habits I wanted in my life. Later that same year, I realized that I perhaps had been a little too hasty in giving up ALL my goal-setting endeavors in favor of habits, and I vowed to be better the next go-around.
The next year, I was pregnant with Raven and totally wiped from still teaching full time. So the month that she was born, I basically gave up on the idea of monthly goals, as I was just trying to keep my head above water in the whole new-mom thing.
This year, I was doing great in January (which is typical, really), but hardly completed any of my goals for last month. A couple had some good reasons attached, but most just sat there incomplete for no good reason at all.
So I started looking at my list a little more closely.
And I realized a few things...
1. I need to look at the monthly goal list regularly (like, almost every day) in order to keep it top of mind. You can't complete what you don't remember.
2. I tend to not want to check a monthly list that I'm not excited about. Many of my monthly goals so far have been nagging tasks that I know I need to get around to, not things I'm excited about. So, when I know that my list will show me only things I "should" be doing (and not stuff I'm eager to do), I'm less likely to want to even look at it all.
So the solution became simple, really---
Create two separate lists.
Create one list for all the "nagging tasks" I need to do, and don't put a deadline on it (just keep adding things as they come up and crossing them off as they're completed).
Create a monthly goal list as I'd resolved, but fill it with things that excite me or that will help to propel me out of this winter-sized rut I've got going on over here. Even silly things---like challenging myself to try two new hairstyles (something I haven't tried in I can't tell you how long) or checking out a new restaurant---will make me much more excited about pursuing the items on the list and living a more full life, as my intention has been all along.
So that's one way that I go forward when I'm losing steam---I rethink the original plan, and see how I can catch back some of the initial motivation again. It's often not that I need to throw away my goals altogether, but that I need to continuously keep tweaking so that they're constantly not just fresh on my mind, but also fresh with enthusiasm.
That's how I handled it this time around, anyway.
How do you motivate yourself again when you've lost steam on your goals?