Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Keep on keeping on

Are you a little like me and already struggling on some of your new years resolutions and we aren't even 3 weeks into the new year?  Hands up.  Come on no-one is looking.  Yep thought so.  Most of us struggle to keep going on our goals because they are too vague, too ambitious or things we don't actually really care deeply about achieving.  Remember honesty here - do you really want to run that marathon this year if you've never even run around the block before?  Back in December I was reflecting on why some of my personal challenges didn't see success last year.  Most of the time I put it down to me not really wanting what I set out to achieve.  Rather I had some vague goals which I'd set for me personally based on the person I thought I should be striving to be, rather than the one I really aspired to become.  You'd think after telling you all about it I'd be successful in setting my personal goals for 2014 right?  We'll I'm here, less than 3 weeks in with a little confession - I've already failed!

I look back on some of the things I want to achieve this year (yes I'm reflecting 14 days in - it's never too early) and seeing that I've already got some things to resolve.  Like reframing my resolutions and goals.  After reading this article in the Conversation it finally sunk in.  I'm not being honest with myself and really putting down on paper what I want to achieve personally and I think I know why.  I lie to myself.  Hear me out.  I don't really lie... well it's really more of a white lie, but everyone does it so that makes it ok - right?  (Before you judge me read on... I bet you've done this too!).  You see every year I have this resolution that goes something like this - I want to get fit.  Or - I want to be healthy.  Or I want to loose weight.  Lies, lies, damn lies.  I am actually relatively fit already according to my trainer.  And I am actually technically already healthy according to my doctor.  And while I might be carrying a few extra kilo's if I loose just 500g I'm achieving the last one.  Not one of these goals really touches the heart of what I want to achieve by these vague statement.  Ok confession time... how many of you have made similarly vague commitments or faux-commitments?  Half-hearted, based on what you think you should say, and slightly dishonest to yourself.

So what is it I really want to achieve and why aren't I achieving it?  Well I want to loose weight.  There I've said it.  I'm not ready to tell you how much.  Let's just say I'm a little heavier now that when I started at my current job and it would be nice to get rid of the excess.  Will that make me fitter?  Probably as I'll have to workout a little more to get there.  Will I be healthier?  Absolutely.  Maybe not much in the text book sense but every little bit helps.  Will I loose weight?  Well that's the point of this one.  I now have a specific goal that I have set.  And I have a choice (or many choices each day) about what I'm going to do to achieve it.

Similarly vague personal goals like 'have better work life balance', 'reduce stress', 'spend more time relaxing' have now been thrown on the scrapheap of resolution regret where they can stay and rot away.  These are not goals I'm going to achieve.  They aren't SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely).  (Side note - why the heck do we do really well setting OKR's (objectives and key results) or quarterly deliverables at work but not do the same in our personal lives?  Perhaps it's time to treat me as a corporation and change my personal methodologies for workplace I mean home place practices?).  So that's it.  I'm starting over.  We're only 2 weeks in - I think it's ok.  My goals for my personal life are personal so I'm not really going to share them with you - but rest assured I have shared them with someone.  I've made them SMART.  I'm breaking them down.  I'm formulating a plan.  Fingers crossed I can stick with it.