Goals are everywhere at this time of year. Most of us really enjoy writing down the to-do's, bullet lists, agendas, and blog-post schedules; ticking things off as we go. It energises us. It gives us a sense of achievement. We have strange relationships with our goals; there is guilt, excitement, hope, envy, self-doubt all tangled in together, pasted on a page marked "Resolutions". Contrary to popular wisdom, I know I often achieve the most when I am...free-styling, as it were. Not crossing-off a scheduled list of actions, but simply following my gut, getting things done with passion and only a vague idea of where I may end up. This approach often leaves me feeling as if I have achieved very little, even when I've accomplished a great deal; there is no completed agenda to look at and be reminded by, no scribbled-on page to tell me I've done well. And because I get no satisfaction, I keep going.
I was unsure whether to write a post about my goals for 2015. This little voice inside me kept nagging "but why do you want to share them? what are you really after?" and when I watched this video, I figured it out. I wanted the happy feeling you get when you share your goals, and receive encouragement and validation from your peers, without having actually done any of the work yet. I've decided I'm not going to bore you with a itinerary of Drink More Water, Do More Pilates, but instead, give you what little knowledge I have to quietly, and effectively, achieve your own goals.
Stop Looking At What You Want To Achieve: Most goals require you to get into the mind set of a creator, not a consumer. When a novelist is working on a new book, they don't spend their days browsing Waterstones. If we spent as much time in the gym as we do looking at fitspo accounts on Instagram, there would be a lot more six packs around, that's for sure. We can kid ourselves that it's for "inspiration" for only so long, and then we have to admit it is simply straight-up procrastination. One of the best tips I ever read for online-content creators, is to look at less online content, so that you can focus on your own. Looking at people doing whatever it is we want to do is actually counter-productive, as our mind can't distinguish between seeing and doing, and so it leaves us bored with our goal. It can also interfere with our individual style or voice.
Switch On Your Best Self: It's been proven that people who make one positive change are more likely to make others. People who set out to eat more healthily end up drinking more water and doing more exercise, without even really meaning to. This is partly because if we are working hard in one aspect (going to the gym etc) we don't want to sabotage it by making a terrible choice in another (eating cake for breakfast etc); it's also because we are creatures of habit, and as we shift one habit, all of them become a little dislodged, allowing real change to occur. Once we flick on the switch to our best self, the self who really gives a crap about our health, happiness, and standards, letting things slide becomes much less tempting.
Look To Your Past For Clues: Most of us have an activity or something tangible that we associate with our best self. "When I did yoga every morning, that was when I had my shit together"; "I never felt better than I did as I redhead, I really should try that again". I hear these kinds of statements all the time, and want to shake people into realising that that very thing, thrown out so glibly, could be the key to their happiness. If you remember a time when you felt better than you do now, return to it. Take that hard-earned knowledge about yourself into the future, and don't let your best self be a lost identity.
Good luck to everyone setting themselves goals and resolutions for 2015. Share the love, and give us your best goal-setting and motivation tips below in the comments! Happy New Year.