Weekly Reflections: Achieve Your Goals and Break Bad Habits Early
Are you feeling frustrated that you didn't take advantage of the last couple of months to finally start a fitness routine? Has spending more time at home resulted in constantly snacking in the kitchen? Are your sugar cravings getting out of control? If you started the year feeling invigorated with a list of ambitious goals that have now taken a back seat you're not alone.
Goals bring a fresh start and focus. But then life happens, right? There are too many everyday tasks and distractions and often the goals we set can seem so lofty that it's hard to know where to start. Today I'm sharing a practice that has been hugely helpful in staying focused on my goals and breaking bad habits when they start. I call them Monthly and Weekly Reflections.
1. Set your goals and intentions for the year.
Go ahead and do this right now. If you're reading this post, you likely have a goal in mind or a behavior you want to break. Do you want to find a sustainable fitness routine? Make partner? Boost your happiness? Take control of your sugar cravings? Write it down. Any time of year is a great opportunity for a fresh start and focus. Putting it down on paper is the first step. If you're in the process of creating goals and want to set yourself up for success, this post is a good place to start.
2. Each month, look back on your goals and intentions. Create smaller tasks and goals to help you work towards your main goals.
Evaluate where you are in moving towards your goals. Did the past month reflect your intensions and top priorities? Create a plan for how you're going to work towards your goal this month.
For example, if your goal is to workout regularly your focus the first month could be to try a variety of different classes and workouts to find an activity you enjoy.
3. Break down your monthly tasks and intentions into smaller action steps for each week. Be reasonable!
Continue to break down lofty goals into smaller chunks to make them seem more do-able. When you are able to check off smaller tasks it gives you a sense of accomplishment as you move towards your goal. It also helps to keep you accountable. Instead of just saying "I'm going to workout more" have a specific measurable plan.
If your focus for the month is to try different kinds of workouts set specific action plans each week. For example, you'll sign up for ClassPass as a way to test out 2 different fitness classes in your area that week.
4. At the end of each month and week: Reflect.
Write down the highlights and successes.
At the end of the week, it's easy to dwell on all of the things you didn't accomplish. That mindset ends up overshadowing all the little positive moments and successes from the week. Take time to reflect back on what went well.
Did you meet a new friend at a fitness class? Perform a random act of kindness that gave you a positive boost for the rest of the day? Did you get great feedback from your boss? Write it all down!
Write down WHY those successes and highlights were positive.
This is a super important step! Taking the time to evaluate WHY those positive parts of your week or accomplishments were successful makes it so you acknowledge things that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. By identifying the actions that led to the positive behavior you can focus on how to repeat that.
For example, recently I had a weekend that just totally filled me up with happiness. When I looked back about what it was about that weekend it included a combination of connecting with friends, quality time with my husband, and productivity. Then I continued to break that down.
One reason I was able to be productive was that Matt and I went for our long walk in the morning instead of late in the afternoon. Typically when we get back from our walks a little bit of the Sunday blues start to kick in. Instead, we had the whole day ahead of us. This is a detail that may have otherwise been forgotten, but by taking note that it helped our weekend feel longer we're now making a point of trying to get out earlier in the day.
Write down any challenges and bad habits you have noticed.
Now that you've focused on some highlights and are in a more positive frame of mind, write down any challenges or bad habits you noticed from the week. Were there things you weren't able to accomplish on your to-do list? Did you end up sleeping in instead of going to one of your fitness classes? In my case, I felt like I had "ping-pong brain". Basically, I felt like my mind was bouncing around all over the place and I was trying to multi-task resulting in nothing getting 100% of my focus.
Reflect and write down WHY you had those challenges and WHY those bad habits are forming.
Once again, identifying the WHY behind your actions helps to keep you accountable and helps to highlight what needs to change in order to overcome challenges and reverse bad habits.
Did you sleep in instead of going to your fitness class because you aren't getting enough sleep? Are you dreading the class or feeling intimidated? Are you finding it hard to find motivation at 5 am when it seemed like an awesome idea the night before?
In the case of my "ping pong brain" I knew I was getting more distracted because I am spending more time on social media. I love that social media allows me to connect with all of you. What I don't love is how it instantly starts to suck me in so that I feel like I constantly want to check my accounts.
Write down specific action steps in order to overcome the challenges or stop the bad habits.
Now that you know what went wrong it's time to come up with a game plan! This is where the magic happens. There's no need to dwell on what didn't happen or what behaviors you aren't super proud of. Instead put your energy towards looking ahead for a more successful week.
If a lack of sleep kept you from your workout class prioritize getting to bed earlier for the following week. Set a bedtime for yourself. If you need to, create an incentive. For example, if you get to bed in time every night next week you can treat yourself to that new workout top you've been eyeing.
Are you dreading the workout class or feeling intimidated? Maybe that isn't the ideal workout for you. Finding a workout that makes you feel great afterwards is important. Try out a different form of movement this week. If you're just starting your fitness journey and feel intimidated try working out at home. YouTube and Instagram have lots of great, free resources for workouts. I LOVE Alexia Clark workouts for super effective at-home workouts. You can find a list of my go-to YouTube and Instagram workout resources on my health coaching website here.
In my case of getting sucked into social media, I made a goal of finding a platform that allowed me to plan posts ahead of time. That helped me to feel more organized and made it so it wasn't constantly on my mind. I also set up notifications for important messages and emails. That way I didn't feel like I had to be checking all of my accounts every time I had a "free" minute. Finally, I set limits for myself for when I could check my accounts and have made a point of leaving my phone at home when I go for walks.
5. Use those reflections and action steps to create you intentions and goals for the following week or month.
Now that you've made it through all of these steps, it's time to put it into action for the following week or month. Focus on what steps you need to take next and when you're going to accomplish them. Keep it reasonable!
Make sure to integrate the positive behaviors or actions you identified, too. Making a point of repeating the things that helped you to feel positive or successful will continue to push your momentum in the direction of success.
What goals are you working on right now? Have you noticed any bad habits starting to develop? How can you use these steps to set yourself up for success?
If you like this concept but still feel overwhelmed about where to start or worry about keeping yourself accountable, let's chat! As a health coach, I help you to identify your goals and make simple steps towards achieving sustainable results in an enjoyable way.
Are you a management consultant finding it hard to find time to prioritize your health? Listen to this free webinar on the "3 Simple Things You're Not Doing to Upgrade Your Health and Performance". If you want to learn more, sign up for a complimentary health consultation. It's a casual chat and you have nothing to lose. It could be the first step towards giving your life and happiness a boost! You can also sign up for my newsletter for biweekly healthy living and happiness tips. When you sign up you'll also get a copy of my free guide to "Uncover Imposter Health Food in 3 Simple Steps".
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