By Mallika Bhatia
A fresh new season often means a change in our general mood and motivation, especially if the new season is Spring. We start planning more outdoor activities, more exercise and even more meetups. Spring almost sounds like the season to plan and party. There is so much more happening around the city, much more to look forward to, even without the organised activities; but does the Spring truly spring you into action?
We are around the middle of the year at this time and it is a great time to review our progress on the New Year’s Resolutions we made. The ones we promised to follow at the beginning of the year, remember!! Things like I will give up sugar, I will exercise at least four times a week, or I will finish writing my book.
Are we still following those, through? Have they made a difference to our lives? Or did we just follow them for a few weeks and then gave up? Whatever the case may be, it isn’t too late to either restart or redefine our resolutions. The deal is to remember why we made those resolutions in the first place. What it is that we wanted to achieve or what is it that stopped us from doing what was needed, if anything at all?
Were the goals too hard to follow or was it that the desire was very strong and yet there was a lack of motivation? Often times we set goals that are unrealistic, which sets us up for failure. We have extremely high expectations of ourselves and are usually very hard on ourselves upon failing. We would start by a big end goal, like I will give up sugar for life, rather than making smaller more achievable goals, like I will stop having coffee with sugar, or once a week, I will have a no sugar day. When we straight away start with big goals, we tend to give up sooner. On the other hand, when we start with smaller goals, achieving them becomes easier. Once we achieve a goal, our motivation to follow through the next one is much higher and so is our probability of achieving it. The sure shot way to succeed is to make several short-term goals that would lead us to the final big goal. It is like taking one day at a time.
Another important tip is to allow ourselves to fail. Every once in a while, give yourself a breather. Being harsh on ourselves may eventually lead us to our goals, but I am not sure how much of that success we enjoy when we are so busy judging ourselves. We need to remember that to perfect an art, we need to practice. First attempts are supposed to be learning grounds. Only when we learn, practice, and repeat, will we reach where we ultimately want to. It is a journey, not a one-stop destination.
We also need to be precise with our goals. We need to be able to have some measure, even for the intangible goals. This will keep us on track and keep us motivated to attain more, and consistently. The most important thing to remember is why we want to reach that goal. What will change in our lives once we get there? When we have the why very clear, the how and what always becomes easier. We may even start making other, related goals that help us achieve the big one. Continuing with the same sugar example, if we are giving up sugar to have a healthier life, then we may also automatically start making other food choices that we consider healthier. We may decide to eat only fresh meals, or we may start eating more fruit. The same rules apply in the case of all goals, not just for health.
So do you think you want to review and reset your goals/ resolutions in the light of these tips and reminders? You can even decide to set brand new ones ,as long as they are helping you spring into action and make sure you continue to take that action consistently. Change the ones that aren’t working for you. After all, that is what Spring is, a reminder about how beautiful changes can be.
Mallika Bhatia is Life Coach with a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and a Diploma in Hypnotherapy, with more than 13 years of experience in this field. She is a writer, a blogger, and a published author with regular dedicated columns in two National Dailies in India. She also manages The Hope Tribe, a platform to share true stories of people who overcame obstacles and became real heroes. She practices in Munich at her office in NeuHarlaching or over Skype/FaceTime. Her website has more details about her work & for regular doses of wisdom, like & follow her on Facebook.