Saturday, 9 January 2016
New Year - Great Expectations
I've been resisting coming on to blogger to write because I have been meaning to talk about the usual standard New years resolution stuff that everyone is talking about at this time of year. However the more time I have spent thinking about resolutions/setting new year goals the more I am convinced that we should scrap the "new year trend" of new starts and work on daily baby steps...
As new year looms ahead and then finally makes its grand entrance, many of us have great expectations of what that new year will bring along with it...It seems that there is a lot of pressure to make the new year a new start and that we all feel obliged to jump headlong in to something we are not entirely ready or committed to doing... hence we are doomed to failure from the start.
So.... I'd like to ask.... how many of your new years goals have you kept with so far?... If you are still on the wagon, then I commend you and encourage you to keep going... BUT if you have fallen off and given in already... then no worries... never lose hope ... each day is a new day.... in fact this minute... right here and now is also a new start too and maybe if you re-think your approach you may have better success next time.
However, before making another new start, first and foremost there are three important principles that we need to take on board.
First, we should have a desire to change something in our lives
Second we should have realistic expectations of what we are capable of and
Third we also need to help those desires and expectations along.... by working for them...
It is no good deciding to start a new goal of running every day if you have no desire to run... perhaps you may start it because it feels like something that should be done.. and perhaps you've heard that other people have lost weight or felt happier/ healthier because of doing it. If you have no desire... you will not do it... or you may, but it wont last for long.
So what do you do? Maybe you could ask yourself what you would like to do or what could you do??? The words "could" and "like" empower and engender desire... "should" feels obligatory! Now I'm not saying that we should only ever do things we like or feel capable of accomplishing all the time and never push ourselves out of our comfort zone.... as that may not stretch us to be a better person... I'm just saying that "desire" brings with it a power that provides momentum to move forwards more easily, desire creates discipline.....whereas the obligatory "should" creates drag!
So what about realistic expectations? Yes there are people out there who make the seemingly impossible happen and don't take no for an answer... nothing wrong with that at all. I say reach for the stars IF you have the desire. All I am saying here is that generally, unrealistic expectation of yourself without great desire is also a recipe for failure.
Generally for most people, adjustments to expectations are needed and small incremental lifestyle changes in the long run make the biggest difference. If you remember my quilt post from last year, one of my favourite quotations is "by small and simple habits are great things brought to pass".
....every small change counts and adds up.
I may not be able to sit down and devour book after book like Daughter number two and devote a whole day to reading, but I can spend 15 minutes each day reading something. After all, 15 minutes a day adds up to 1 hour 45 in a week and that adds up to about 7 hours a month... quite a bit of reading really huh? Think of how many hours a year that is?
When it comes to lifestyle and health changes, baby step changes are better than great expectations and massive lifestyle shifts. One extra glass of water a day may not seem much... but its better than none and after a week you will be almost two litres better hydrated than you would have been. You can up the game gradually as you gain and see success in the little things.
What about 15 minutes extra sleep every night? After a week you might feel more human... and if it feels impossible to find 15 minutes extra sleep every day maybe five minutes of meditation/ mindfulness practice each day can make a big difference instead?
So If your New year "Great Expectations" might be getting harder to accomplish... don't give in and give up... readjust and reevaluate your desires and expectations and go to work with a determination that your new "small and simple" habits will eventually pay great dividends.
Happy mid January!