How many of us have set awesome goals for ourselves only to hit a road bump? We get on a fitness roll and then we throw our back out or get sick. We are writing every day and then work gets overwhelming. We’re on string of good days not raising our voices around our kids… and then we crack.
You and I both have countless examples of struggling to make habits stick and stay on track with our goals. The challenge I often find is that people get personal with their failure and struggle to get going again.
Well, I KNOW you can get back on track, so today is about 5 tips to help you do just that.
- Take the Personal Out of It
I’m willing to bet that when you stumble, fall, fail, or whatever word you call it, you’re making this personal. I’m a failure. I suck. I have no willpower and all that other bullsh*t.
Your language needs to change first and foremost. Make it less personal, because quite frankly it is. Nothing happens in isolation. There are many factors at play. Last week, for example, I had been on a three week roll with doing my barre workouts and I felt like Wonder Woman. And then in the most ordinary of ways I slipped on the ice while taking out the trash.
To look at it, not much happened. An outsider would have seen me trying to right myself and not fall. Inside my body, however, everything was jerking around and I was in a LOT of pain afterwards. It wasn’t good. I knew in that moment that I wouldn’t be doing these high intensity workouts for at least a couple of weeks and that I’d be building back up from a lower intensity to keep my back safe.
Old Victoria would have blamed herself, said how stupid I was, etc. Current Victoria, with years of training my mindset, said “that sucks”. It sucks that I am not able to workout right now. It. The situation. Not me. I’m not a personal failure.
As we currently go through COVID-19, I hear a lot of people saying they feel like failures because they’re not as productive as the people they follow on social. Well… we’re all different, we all cope in different ways, you have no idea what other peoples situations are behind closed doors, and you know what? COVID-19 SUCKS! It drains you of energy and motivation and we are so incredibly stressed that many of us need REST more than ever. So yes, if you’re laying on your couch watching reality TV, that’s okay. It’s not a judgement on you or your productivity. There is a lot going on in the outside world and maybe what you actually need to survive right now is some flexibility, grace and rest. Get back up when you feel like it’s a stretch but not painful. COVID-19 is trauma, don’t forget.
2. Adopt a 1% Mindset
Many of us fail to get back up because our idea of the next step is scaling the damn mountain. I’m going to run 5 km today even though I’ve only ever run for 5 minutes straight before. Or… I’m going to cook a beautiful Sunday roast dinner even though KD is usually the extent of my expertise. Or… I’m going to launch a business… even though I’m not clear on the why, how, what or have even a streamlined business plan.
All of these things are possible. Write the book. Learn to cook. Run that 5 km. Start that business. But if you want to get any kind of momentum going, small wins and improving 1% each day is a much better strategy.
Let’s say I sleep for 8 hours a night. Getting 1% better tomorrow from purely a TIME perspective means that I have to make 9 minutes of tomorrow better than today. To clarify, I don’t need to add 9 minutes of activity, rather I have to amplify 9 minutes. If you’re still unclear, let’s say you work an 8 hour day, but like most of us you spend two hours of that scanning emails. How about you spend 9 minutes intentionally reviewing your calendar and responding to as many emails as possible then actually do some dang work? THAT is a major 1% improvement. Or spend 9 minutes of quality time with your partner or your kid or phoning a friend.
If you compound that 1% improvement you’ll get further, farther, faster, because you’ll have the motivation to keep going. You won’t be setting yourself up for failure.
3. Get an Accountability Partner
Truth time. I set out a goal this week to start writing my non-fiction book. HUGE disclaimer at the front – this is not a judgement on your time, nor should you feel like “oh she’s trying to write a book right now and I’m being lazy.” Don’t even! I am one of the lucky ones whose kids are in dayhome. Now, I have other circumstances that are less desirable, but what I do have is a bit more time right now and I’m trying to do a little of this each day.
Anyways, my goal is to write 500 words a day. But, know thyself! On the SECOND day I completely forgot that I was meant to be writing until my accountability partner texted me. Holy crap! I was then able to quickly plough through 20 minutes of writing and hey ho I reached my goal, but without that system of accountability I’d put in place I would 100% have missed my goal and gotten off track.
Again, know thyself, I have THREE people I’m accountable to, because I could easily say I gave up to one person, but not to three.
We are up to 95% more likely to experience the change that we want when we are accountable to others. The key is to find the right person or people that stretch you.
4. Create a Successful Environment
We often think we don’t have the willpower. But what about your environment? Is your environment set up to make your goals more likely to happen? Say you want to eat more veggies, are they cut up and at the FRONT of your fridge? Say you want to stretch each night before bed but your yoga mat or foam roller are hidden away, will you remember? Want to be more artistic but the supplies are buried in the closet? You get my drift.
Your physical environment plays a big factor, so set it up for success. Dedicate a space, even a small one, to your goals. My podcast equipment lives in the same spot. My art supplies are handy for when the mood strikes. My foam roller is where it needs to be.
Your physical environment is also your workplace and your commute. If I drive by a Starbucks, I’m going to want a Starbucks even if I’m trying to save money. So can you change your commute by a few blocks so that you aren’t triggered?
There are so many ways to build a successful environment at home, at work and on the road, but you have to be aware and creative about it.
5. The Failure Is Not Trying
We often think the failure is falling down. It’s not. The failure is not trying. I don’t care if you get back up tomorrow, next week or next month, but get back up. You may end up finding out that this is not the right goal for you anyways, and that’s okay. But falling down is life. Getting off track is going to happen again and again and again, so don’t identify that as the failure. See getting back up as the success. See TRYING as the powerhouse move.
What’s that expression, shoot for the moon and you’ll at least land in the stars? That’s what we’re going for. If you don’t get back up, you don’t stand a chance of star gazing.
I know you’ve got this. If I can be of service in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out.