Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Today, I'm going to talk about goal-setting and ways to make them stick. Anyone who knew me in highschool will know that, in the world of sticking to goals, I'd be known as a criminal. A repeat offender of making high and mighty plans.... and doing nothing with them.
My problem with deadlines (which, really, is the point of setting a goal... you wish to achieve ____ by _____ time) is that I always feel as though I am somehow missing out on something... or that I am only aiming to fulfill these goals for someone else's merit.
As I turn 21 this year, I have a list of things I want to do before I turn 21 because, personally, I believe that I should enter the world as a bona-fide adult (18 is like the training wheels for the big thing, really) who is able to take care of themselves and see reason in the world around them.So far, (about a month in), I've been able to live up to these expectations without any real hassle. Why? It's the way you set the goals and limits. If you truly wish to do the things that you set out to do, you find that you will put in the most effort to get them done.
Here are a few hints on how I've managed to stick to the things I am aiming to achieve.
Think about what it is you really want to do.
A lot of people set themselves (I am no different) a list of aspirations that, honestly, they're only really going to achieve for someone else's sake. This is usually most prevalent with things they're trying to stop doing, whether it's chewing with your mouth open or shooting up heroin. I use these as examples because I know people who have tried to do both. If you don't want to do it (or stop doing it) then don't do it. You are in control of your own destiny and your own body, therefore you make the decisions what you do to it. Even if you know it's bad for you, it has to be your own idea.
Don't try to 'quit' or 'give up' something.
Let's use something pretty tame as an example here. Say you have decided that you eat too many lollies. If you try to 'quit' eating them or 'give up' sugar, you will feel ultimately like you're missing out. You may remember overzealous soccer parents telling their kids "quitters aren't winners".... actually, they're right. Quitting something means it is a great loss to you, that you don't believe you can achieve it. Address what the problem is, then find a feasible solution. Don't deny yourself anything in the process.
Back to our example. Let's say you think you eat too many lollies but you have a balanced diet the rest of the time, it would be more realistic to set your goal as "eat healthy snacks" and then list examples, "(like almonds, sultanas, etc...)" Now you have a positive goal to work towards, but you have not actually listed anywhere that you are having one over the other, thus you are not denying yourself something.
Do not set a reward system.
This may sound contradictory to what other people tell you about setting goals, but I will give you one good reason why you do not need to reward yourself: you will punish yourself for any "bad" behaviour if you reward the "good". In my system of goal-making, there IS no good or bad behaviour. No "good" foods or "bad" foods, if we go to my earlier example. Rewarding yourself for the "good" means you will feel guilty for the "bad", which often causes a breakout of lying, binging and then swinging to the other side of the scale and martyring yourself just so you can have your 'reward'.
Again, using sugar as an example. If you set a goal to "eat healthy snacks" instead of "quit eating lollies", then you can still eat lollies... but you probably won't want to if you're eating healthier snacks. It makes sense, right? I use this as an example because this is one of my goals. I eat a balanced diet 99% of the time... but I am partial to snacking on absolute crap. My solution? I bought snack food that I like but won't make me cranky, tired and addicted to it... but I have still ingested sugary things in this period of time. I just don't feel compelled to eat it as much as I did because I'm enjoying my current choice more. My skin is glowing, my energy levels don't see-saw and when I do eat something sugary, it tastes kind of sickly. I don't want more. I don't run to the cupboard in secret to stuff my face, I know that I'm allowed to eat it if I want to. I know that it's right there and I can pick it up whenever I want to, regardless on whether I've been "good" or not. Because it's not forbidden or just for special occasions, I don't really want it.
Make your goals realistic.
Say, for example, you and your partner are fighting a lot. Setting "stop fighting with (so-and-so)" as a goal is unrealistic. Why? you can only determine your own behaviour. If you wish to stop fighting, take baby steps and instead list "don't start arguments with (so-and-so)" (not the same thing as not fighting, by the way) or "be more considerate of (so-and-so)". The rest is up to them, but you're still following your path if you stick to your own aspirations and let them worry about theirs.
Another thing people do a lot is setting such a grandiose mission for themselves that they will have no real way to achieve it in a short space of time. "Become famous" is unrealistic.... also because it involves other people as well as yourself. "Upload music demos and mail them to record labels" is more realistic. It means that you are taking that next step, but that you understand that you are only responsible for your own actions.
Write out a list
Find a piece of paper and your favourite pen. Write out your goals in your neatest handwriting. Set out a realistic deadline.You need a deadline, if you leave it for an indefinite amount of time, it becomes another "thing I'll do tomorrow" and will never get done. As I said, I have set the deadline for my birthday. That's a mere few days before christmas... so I set myself about 2 1/2 months. After that, hopefully the habits stick. If not, that's life. Write out your realistic goals and ways you are going to work toward them. Use positive, re-enforcing language rather than negatives or ambiguous language. Sign the bottom, so that you are making the promise to yourself. Show someone who will be supportive, someone who is not an enabler or will criticise the things you have listed out. They don't need to enforce anything, but it's good to have someone you trust know that you have set these goals for yourself because they are likely to encourage you if you're making a strong effort.
Don't martyr yourself.
You're a human being, not an archangel. It's ok to make mistakes. If you don't have too many rules or conditions, you shouldn't feel like you are doing this anyway because you are allowed to stray off course as there are no negative repercussions for it. This doesn't mean you don't aim to achieve them, it means that you're not under pressure. The only person who you need to worry about is yourself, so be your own best friend and treat yourself nicely when aiming for self-improvement or simply getting some work done.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
My favourite kind of flower is a Stargazer lily. Not only are they utterly beautiful, my boyfriend bought me a whopping big bunch when we started dating. We lived far away so he had them couriered over. When I answered the door (no-one else was home) I burst into tears.