When life gets busy it can seem impossible to fit in those goals/aspirations/bucket list dream we have for ourselves into our day.
That can take many forms, whether it is “workout more, eat better, get more sleep, start your own side hustle, write that book, read more, spend more time with family/friends..." you fill in the dots.
Our reaction generally takes 1 of 3 forms:
- Do nothing = We reason that because we can’t do the ideal of what our goal is ie. workout everyday, eat ‘clean’ everyday, leave work at 5 everyday…then why try at all!
- Throw yourself down the stairs mode = This glorious self-sabotage goes something like ~ you eat one brownie, then feel like you’ve fallen off your 'diet,' so to hell with it you eat the whole tray.
- Go totally hog wild = You decide you haven’t worked out all summer, so you schedule 3 classes everyday day to make up for it. You follow that for a week, feel like an F*ing ROCKSTAR, then BOOM life happens, you fall off the wagon…enter self-loathing cycle round 2 but worse this time round because you thought you had a good thing going.
The times that I have been the most successful in my life in achieving goals I set for myself have been when I have implemented tiny changes into my life, that I have done on a daily basis, are sustainable, and become part of my lifestyle.
My Life Example
Back in 2010, I had a bucket list dream of running the London Marathon. I was fairly fit growing up but not a huge runner, picture a girl who loathed the 1 minute mile test in high school and all high school coaches who required summer/winter pre season training.
I announced this goal of running the London Marathon to my trainer at the time, and we agreed that I'd start small with .25 every other day starting the following week. After 2 weeks of this, I then upped it to .5 miles. Incrementally I added a half mile every 2/3 weeks. Over the course of a year I got up to 26 and months later ran the London Marathon. My family was stunned the day of the marathon as they said I looked as if i'd just taken a leisurely jog in the park. That is because I had trained and committed to a sustainable training plan over a long period of time.
Take Your Time/Imaginary Urgency
Now your goal can certainly be achieved over a slightly shorter period of time, I'm not suggesting everyone take a year to train for a marathon, but the sense of urgency we sometimes put on ourselves pushes us to fail, when in reality we really have a lifetime to 'run a marathon, start our business, get healthier...by not rushing ourselves, it provdies us the breathing room to make sustainable changes that stick rather than this rollercoaster of pushing ourselves too hard to succeed for it all to then fail weeks/months later. Take your time. There is no rush.
So, think about what you’ve been wanting to achieve do 10 minutes of it everyday.
- Fitness = workout 10 min/day
- Nutrition = make 1 meal of 5 healthy each day i.e. breakfast
- Sleep = go to bed 10 minutes earlier each day
- Meditate = try meditating 10 minutes a day i.e. sitting in a chair, eyes closed, feet on the ground back straight, listening to your breath and the sounds around you (first thing in the AM or PM works well, or during a particularly stressful moment at work - step away and go outside and do this exercise)
- Family Time = Spend 10 minutes each day when you get home from work 100% devoted to the kids - NO PHONE NO EMAIL NO TV - just spending time with them 1-on-1
- Read More = spend 10 mins a night reading before bed
- Write a book = write a journal 10 mins a day to start getting into the habit of writing again, then after a few weeks start worrying about the actualy outline
- Start your Company = spend 10 mins researching a company that does what you do, and when you find one see if you can work for them for a few hours a week/1 day a week
- Go to Business School = spend 10 mins a day studying for that GMAT/researching schools
I challenge you that if it’s getting back into working out again...Just make a goal of doing 10 minutes of stretching or walking a day. Yes, that’s it.
- Do it daily. This will help build that muscle memory and it will become part of your daily routine like brushing your teeth.
- Examples of how to do this so it requires almost zero added thought/planning ~ get off the subway two stops early and walk the rest of the way home, walk to work, bike to work, stretch for 10 mins before bed/when you wake up in the am, go for a walk around the block during lunch or coffee break.
- My favourite is stretching in the beginning/end of the day as I feel less achy going to bed/for the rest of the day.
- Increase this time period after 2 weeks to 20 minutes, then again after 2 weeks at this amount
- Slowly but surely you may come to enjoy this 10/20 minute time period as a bit of an escape/decompress from the day.
- Once you get to 30 minutes, now think about what acitivity you might want to transition to - do you like lifting, pilates, ballet, dancing, zumba, running, yoga
- CHOOSE AN ACTIVITY THAT YOU WILL ACTUALLY LIKE, NOT THAT YOU 'THINK' YOU SHOULD LIKE...don't force yourself to become a boxer because Giselle does it and you think you need to look hot like Giselle, don't run because you think you'll lose a ton of weight if you hate running, do something you will get joy out of
Enjoy exploring what works for you. I am happy to help provide suggests/frameworks to think about other goals that are non-fitness related i.e. pay off your credit card debt, making a job transition, losing weight etc. Just shoot me an email email@example.com.
photo cred: Jace Grandinetti of Unsplash