In my last post, I wrote about following your dreams and not settling. You might be thinking, that sounds like a nice idea, but it’s easier said than done. And you’re right, it’s not easy to fulfill our goals. Sometimes, bad habits get in the way, sometimes we need more structure, sometimes we need help.
This year I have decided on some goal setting of my own. I have a tendency of getting so focused on my work that I let other parts of my life become forgotten about on the back burner. For instance, maintaining a regular cleaning of my home (or yoga mat) isn’t always a top priority in my life.
While I do stay on top of the basics, other house maintenance tasks such as dusting, limiting clutter and ensuring that everything is organized definitely needs more direct attention on my part.
Some other goals that I have decided to set my sights on this year include spending more time on my yoga practice, that is, actually progressing with it, less snacking at night, and refocusing on my health.
So, how do we plan on putting our goal setting into actually achieved accomplishments? Before you go balls to the walls hard at them, remember we are trying to set ourselves up for success. The key to accomplishing these goals is to first identify many of the reasons we so often fail at our honest and true goal setting intentions.
Why Do We Fail?
It is a sad, hard, truth that despite our inner desire to change our bad habits with good ones or to set our sights on future goals, we find it hard to stick to the good habits over the bad.
In my experience, I have often found comfort to be a great culprit in preventing my goal setting from actually coming to fruition. Is it comforting to sit on the couch and snack on something delicious while we watch our favorite show? (Hell, yes!)
Is moving past my regular yoga routine into a more challenging one intimidating and taking a big step outside of my comfort yoga box? (It sure is!)
Is it just easier and less stressful to just let the dust bunnies live under my bed and let the spiders have their cobweb homes in the corners of my bathroom? (You’d better believe it is!)
But, once we acknowledge that we do these habits continually despite our desire to be more, to do more because we are trapped by our own comfort, then we open ourselves up to growth.
What we actually need to do is break up with our comfort. Although cutting ourselves off from our beloved pastimes of popcorn and a movie night doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, you just need to open up some room for your new goals to have some space.
Even if my goal is to limit my snacking in the evenings it likely doesn’t stand a chance if I just decide to cut it out of my life completely without replacing it with something good or being prepared against my usual sabotage.
Instead, I have decided to do two things to help prepare myself for this change. The first is to legitimately ask myself if I am hungry or if I am just snacking out of boredom, habit, or because my husband is.
If I am not actually hungry but want something to “do” while we catch up on our shows, I can make myself an herbal tea, therefore allowing myself something to sip at without breaking down to the mindless snacking that can often happen.
The second thing to alter this bad habit is to be prepared. If I am legitimately hungry, instead of having unhealthy snacks in my house ready to go, I can reach for some apple slices, a bowl of cereal, some cut up vegetables, and make sure that everything is pre-portioned.
They call it the 30-Day Challenge (which you can learn more about here) and it is their way of saying thank-you to loyal practitioners of their studio. Essentially, if you take 10 classes in 30 days, you will get 10 % off your next monthly package.
This discount increases through each milestone you hit, from 15, 20, 25, all the way up to 30 classes in 30 days to 30 % off your monthly package. Not only is it a great way to reward those who attend and practice regularly in the studio, it is a great incentive to push further in your practice!
3. See your goal. Use visual cues to help remind you of your goals daily.
4. Clarify your goals. Practice yoga three days a week is not as clear as practice yoga Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.
5. Avoid direct self-sabotage. Don’t want to eat chips? Don’t buy them!
6. Avoid indirect self-sabotage. When you do start seeing results, don’t start slacking off because you start feeling good, your job isn’t done yet!
7. Build on your goals. Whenever you accomplish a short-term goal make sure that you have another one at the ready. For example, if my short-term goal is to not eat processed food for one week, then my next goal will be to increase my abstinence to a month.
8. Give yourself time. If putting on weight takes 6 months, so does taking it off.
9. Don’t put your goal on a pedestal. Acknowledge all the hard work you are putting in to make your goal a reality; it isn’t always about the end result. Are you stronger now? Are you able to hold other poses for longer? Are you more flexible? Your other accomplishments have merit too, don’t let them seem inferior just because they are not your end goal.
10. Set a time-line goal over a physical goal. So, if my goal is to have a clean house, top to bottom, and after a week I accomplish this, I then become lax and will drop this good habit I have only barely started. However, if I commit to keeping up with my household duties for three months, not only will I be less likely to stop after a week, because I said I would do it for longer, I am also helping to set a good habit in place.
11. Ask yourself why is this goal important to you? Then be honest with your answer. Is it important for you to lose the weight because you believe that you should be thinner? Or are you trying to lose the weight because you are sick and tired of being tired every time you have to do ordinary tasks, like climb a set of stairs, tidy up the house, or play with your kids?
12. Print up a goal schedule. Something for each month. But don’t give up if you don’t reach everything you set out to.
13. Introduce something else to do during a time when you know you tend to fail. If I really want to prevent myself from eating too much at night, I can brush my teeth, I am not one who likes to do it twice. Another example, after dinner I don’t always feel motivated to clean a dirty kitchen, but the next morning I hate it even more. If I put some music on as I clean I am more likely to get it done.
Let’s Do This Together
I have shared with you some of my goals for this year and I know that I am not the only one who doesn’t want to see them be pushed aside again because I’ve let my bad habits rule the roost or chosen comfort over hard work and dedication.
I would be honored if you shared some of your goals with me and your accomplishments, no matter how small. Let’s make this the year where we encourage one another to achieve all we set forth to do.
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Urban Fit Yoga posts relevant, inspiring, and nourishing tools to support you along your healing journey. We believe that the benefits of yoga can extend far off your mat and we want to help!