Make the most of the remaining 51 weeks ~ another 1.3% of your life!
The1st week of the year ~ when there is renewed hope; fresh starts; new promises & resolutions are made; expectations reset and often the bar is raised higher.
The real challenge is how does one sustain this, if at all, with the same level of motivation and consistency by the time it is 18th March and by when “life has happened” and come in the way?
Based on some of my readings this week, here are some thoughts, ideas, and suggestions to chew on:
- Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that there is no compulsion or need to make new resolutions about fitness, productivity, or anything else in the new year, just because many do so or it’s a common trend unless you feel the need or urge to do so. You can have the Joy of Missing Out (JOMO) on this one.
- To JOMO, one will need to accept and be happy with one’s life, no matter how messy or awesome it may be. It’s ok to be a bit lazy, less productive, disorganized, messy, mindless at times. Surprisingly, there are benefits of being so, and most importantly, it’s critical to listen to one’s inner voice and emotions and figure out what makes sense to you and prioritize your goals accordingly and not based on the self-help books on the shelf or your Kindle.
- If you do decide to transform something or strive for improvement, it should come from a position of self-care, love, and respect and not self-hate or disgust. When goals are set up with the right & positive mindset, they tend to be more motivating and sustainable. If you don’t like doing something (unless it’s harmful to you/someone else), don’t be too hard on yourself to change your ways. We are better off trying to create new habits than focusing on changing old ones, given lesser emotional baggage to deal with.
As Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change” as the pressure is lowered and our ‘self worth no longer hangs in the balance’.
4. Distinguish between Hope & Expectations. We can be ambitious with our long-term goals; be optimistic and hopeful but manage our expectations through a reality check of our implementation systems and processes.
5. ‘The only way to change the path of expectation is to face and dissect why our resolutions failed before.’ And to dissect, we need to embrace the existing version of ourselves and look back at the year gone by, the achievements, failures & transformations made before one looks and plans ahead.
6. When setting goals, it is important to articulate them in a manner that they are inspiring yet specific enough; one also needs to consider one’s own persona when crafting them — are we an “approacher” who prefers to go all guns blazing, or are we an “avoider”, who is motivated by the fear of criticism?
7. When articulating those goals, it is useful to segregate them into result oriented goals and process oriented goals, or as my business partner, Rachit, likes to say focus on “leading indicators” than lagging ones, as you have more control over those.
8. For each of those process-oriented goals, think of creating a system that is guided by innate human traits of being lazy, social, easily distracted, and looking for immediate gratification.
It helps to break each goal into “atomic habits” that reduces friction; takes as little time, effort & money as possible; builds in social support structures or encouragement; is inherently enjoyable and fun based on one’s interests, preferences and skill sets; celebrates small wins; incorporates Plan B options to fall back upon to make a comeback as all of us are very likely to not be motivated and disciplined through the year.
Remember, that small steps and small wins can take us a long way!
9. If you are comfortable, share those goals and desires with your family, friends, and close ones. If it works for you, put them out in the public domain on social media as not only can it make you accountable but also may ensure that people are aware and they don’t get in your way.
Sometimes, your published ambition could inspire another soul or two and you can bring them along the way :)
10. In the initial days & weeks, take those small steps and stick to them, even if you feel that you can do and achieve more than what you have set out for. You would rather make slow, steady, incremental progress & celebrate those mini-milestones than get over-excited at the start and lose steam quickly.
Everyone enjoys a chart that shows steady, sustainable progress!
11. Come 18th of March, when the motivation has halved & your willpower is waning, and you end up not following your process-oriented goals, you can acknowledge and enjoy the break and choose to make a comeback whenever you feel inspired and ready again. Neither is it cast somewhere in stone that you have to follow through every day nor is it a race that you are trying to win.
“If you did it for a month or two or three, that’s better than nothing” ~ Ayelet Fishbach
12. Use technology wherever possible to keep track of your progress; to continue the streak that you are striving for and to remain accountable to yourself for the process-oriented goals you have set.
Above else, “live with absolute aliveness”; be kind and generous; tackle your anxiety by accepting it & doing something about it; explore-experiment-experience; broaden your horizons; bring along people along with you; learn from others.
Live wisely and lead a life that makes sense to you; create excitement and above else brings in joy.
By the time you plan your next set of resolutions, another 1.3% of your life would have passed. Make it count :)
Happy 2022 & let’s get started!