January is over and let’s admit it – It felt like the looongest month of the year. The weather is not helping and in general it just feels like a great moment for a little moan. So let’s do it just because we can.
Somehow surrounded by positivity, inspiration and motivation I had no trouble finding out about “Blue Monday” – supposedly the most depressing day of the year but I missed the official Cuddle Up Day on the 6th of January, Bubble Bath Day on the 8th of January or Compliment Day on the 24th of January. How did I manage that?
Talking with students, clients and friends I hear more and more some quite embarrassed voices saying “New Year’s Resolutions… what New Year’s Resolutions?”… and history repeats itself…
Thankfully it’s February now so a brand new month to get back on track. However with a strong January “aftertaste” I sense that there is strategy needed or some kind of structured approach to change what we want to see in the second month of the year. In order to experience the shift (especially when it comes to emotions and mood) we need to take some purposeful actions. Nothing will be different if we don’t make it different.
Here are a few ideas that could help everyone recover in February. Forget the blues, clouds and grey skies. Step out of your dark, comfortable corner and allow yourself to fully experience all that’s happening at this time of year.
- First and foremost do not strive for perfection. You didn’t exercise for one day or you had a chocolate bar – so what? Don’t make a big deal out of it and move on. I’m sure you’re not looking for drastic changes in your life but new positive and effective habits in the New Year. Usually what we want is not to achieve a specific goal but to adapt a new lifestyle. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect every day. Be gentle with yourself.
- I bet the “all or nothing” approach is not working for you. We spend time designing and developing a great plan for the New Year. We invest emotionally hoping that this time everything will work out, we share our ideas with others… and then give up if for one day things don’t go to plan. That’s not how humans enable success. Success is all about ups and downs. There is something much more important that you want to achieve, remember? There is a purpose, vision and reason why you embarked on this new journey in 2014. You want something new for yourself, don’t give up on your dreams just because you don’t get it 100% right every time. Dust yourself off and try again.
- Procrastination means putting things off. Over the years I discovered that I am normal. I procrastinate the way we all do. Trying to develop the best strategy to get the job done I compared the times when I get to work fast and those when I procrastinate. The difference – my emotional approach to the task ahead of me. If I feel enthusiastic, inspired and motivated by the task at hand I get to it fast and with great energy. I complete it quickly and in a very creative way. Knowing that, helps me apply the same strategy to the tasks that are less energizing. So I ask myself the following questions (yours could be different depending on what motivates you): How can I make this task more exciting? How can I approach this task with more creativity? What are the positive outcomes of this task for others? I am motivated by exciting and creative work that helps me support others in their development. I can find elements of it in every task I complete so it works every time to beat procrastination.
- Do you use your plans and goal for 2014 as a stick that you can beat yourself up with? We all do sometimes. Be careful there. Suddenly something you were looking forward to and you wanted to achieve becomes an evidence of our inability to complete tasks from start to finish. We tell ourselves stories that usually include general, abusive language like “you never…”, “you always…”, “again…”” the same story…”. Goals are positive. Designing your future and creating plans is fantastic. Keep your head held high. Get over little setbacks and look forward to the future. Remind yourself what you are fighting for. Plans and goals are to be nurtured and cherished. I am serious here – do not use them for self-abuse!
- Be honest with yourself about your progress and development by completing frequent reality checks. See how you are getting on and notice what improvements you would want to see. This is very much connected with the next important strategy based on flexibility and adaptability.
- Be ready to reassess and adjust because life will often help you verify how realistic your goals are. Do not give up! Adjust to the changing environment, new situations, discoveries and new information. Keep looking to see how others approach similar tasks, how you can get motivated and inspired in a brand new way. Be open-minded. Only then can you keep your plan up-to-date and current. Be prepared to shape it in line with realistic requirements. Keep up with life.
- Maintain enthusiasm, focus and motivation because your progress can bring you joy and fun. This is very individual therefore you want to find your own way to celebrate your successes along the way. Don’t wait for the final achievement (e.g. my super toned body!, my first novel, a promotion or a new job etc.) Celebrate your performance not the outcome. Develop an effective rewards system for every day. Attach real meaning to them and they will remind you why you deserve the praise your own efforts. Yes, you deserve rewards. Surprised?
You have probably noticed already that in order to make this year different you want to develop effective strategies to manage your thoughts and your emotions. When you do that and use them every day, achieving your plans will become much easier than you think. You can do it with a more structured and strategic approach.
The Longest Month of The Year – Is Over!. Forget the gloom; forget all “blue Mondays”. You have a new day ahead, a new week and new month. New time has been given to you to. Use it wisely…. AND we’re back on track!
Ps. I am going to celebrate the days I missed in January – Cuddle Up Day, Bubble Bath Day and a Compliment Day. I deserve it. (“Because I’m worth it!” 🙂 )
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