Mind your goals

Positive Steps
Sadhbh Dunne

As the chatter of ‘New Year, New Me’ is left behind, how are those who have set New Year’s resolutions, a particular goal or target that they hope to achieve, doing? Are you powering on or slipping into behaviours you wanted to leave behind? When the shininess of the beginning of a new year has worn off, it can be difficult to stay focused or to see your change lasting forever.

It is worthwhile to think about its potential longevity, and to consider what it means if you are already finding it difficult.

There are lots of go-getters who see January as this brand new bright horizon, an opportunity for them to make themselves better than they were yesterday or last year. For others, it provides the chance to focus on something new, to get through the dark evenings and this long, cold month of the year.

The challenge now is to maintain these new habits and behaviours. What would make it easiest for you to keep this up over the next few months, or what could hinder you?

Habit stacking is heralded as the easiest way to make habits last, so see if there is a possibility of adding it onto another common task.

Introducing a reward system is a good option if working towards something affects your motivation. What would be a nice way to mark your various milestones?

Accountability is a major asset, and the impact of having someone or something that will help you stay on track shouldn’t be downplayed.

Start small

If you’ve really had enough of the first 24 days of walking or the novelty of a no-spend January has worn off, how are you feeling?

Do you feel a sense of disappointment, failure or regret? Don’t be hard on yourself in this way, you should be feeling an element of pride for setting the intention initially and then doing your best to try it out, whether that was one or ten times.

If you are struggling to continue with the change, can you identify why? Was there a specific barrier that you could maybe overcome or eliminate? Goals should always make something in your life better, so if the idea of completing it is stressing you out it may not be the best thing to dedicate your time to right now. Goals should always start small with little expectations. As confidence builds, there are endless possibilities.

As a follow on to the above, be mindful to set goals and resolutions because you want to, and not because it is what you think you should be doing. Everyone has different approaches to how they want to live their life, so make yours realistic. If you are invested in your goal, you will be more likely to dedicate yourself to reaching it.

All year

If you are taking January as it comes and not trying to put too much pressure on or expect much of yourself (I hear you!) then fear not. You don’t have to wait until next January to start, you can do so whenever it feels right for you.

And if you miss a day, don’t write your goal off! The real crux of achieving goals comes down to perseverance. One bad day does not make a bad month, so give yourself the chance to start again. What have you to lose?

Sadhbh Dunne is a qualified life coach based in Westport.

She is the founder of Ember Coaching (embercoaching.ie) and can be reached at sadhbh@embercoaching.ie.

This article originally appeared on www.mayonews.ie