Start Small (and crush your goals just for you)

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It’s been a while since I’ve focused on what I enjoy.  Life seems to keep getting in the way. And I’ve had my focus in other places – growing family, life goals and work. I’ve come up with excuse after excuse and labeled them reason after reason – everything seemed valid for pushing what was important to me aside to get other things done.

But no more! I’m proud to say, I’ve made great progress this year in many areas and the goal I’ve been working toward is within my grasp.  Even when you feel like you’re at the starting line, I encourage you to make a plan to make progress. Here is what I did:

Focus on small goals.  

I had a baby in December and I gained a lot of weight (ok, it was a normal amount, but it felt like a lot).  I’ve been working steadily since then to lose weight, build muscle and eat clean.  In the last 6 months, I’ve lost all the baby weight (hooray!).  It wasn’t easy, but it certainly was doable.  I will write about the details later, but the short story is – I focused on a small goal to make it happen.  I watched each meal and each day with a goal of losing 2 oz to 4 oz.  It didn’t seem like much, but it adds up to about 6 lbs per month and over time, that makes a big difference!

When you have a major goal that you need to accomplish, break it down into tiny pieces. Seriously, tiny bite-sized (like 1 oz) pieces.  The smaller your goal, the more realistic it seems and the closer you get to your overall achievement.

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Need Motivation? Get back on track

Ever have one of those days where everything seems to be pulling you away from your goal? Today is that day for me.  Nice weather, computer problems and my favorite time-waster TV show is a 24-hour marathon today.  Not much motivation to work on my organization blog.  But earlier this year, I set myself a goal of one post per week, so here’s to digging deep to find the motivation to keep going.

A while ago, I read a great blog from a friend, TJ Sullivan that struck me.  TJ writes, “It’s all about step two.  It’s easy to get started, but it’s harder to keep things going.”  I’m pretty sure that is where the saying comes from, “when the going gets tough, the tough keep going.”  Step one isn’t easy, but it’s the remaining steps–the devotion to the goal–that can wear you down and make you think about giving up.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

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Set your eyes on the prize. I love writing and I love organizing, so my blog goal this year seemed like a natural move.  But I’ve reached the point in the season (or the semester) where I’m ready for a break. Not just from blogging, I really want a break from all of my goals.  I’m tired. Laying around watching TV and eating sugar (I’ve found form doesn’t matter–cupcakes, candy–all good) seems like the way to go.  But I know that I’ll be disappointed if I don’t stick to my goal and have changed things up a bit to give myself the motivation I need.  I’ve switched one day of running to exercise bike, so I can look at my Pinterest page at the same time.  And I’m going to watch my TV show marathon, right after I finish this post.  By giving yourself a reward, or switching things up a bit, it’s much easier to stay focused on your goals.

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A Positive Outlook

You can be more positive today. Right now.  By following these simple practices, you can begin to change your outlook to focus on the good things around you right now.

Have Fun. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you have the chance to make it fun and enjoy yourself.  Try making it a competition and beating your personal record or invite friends to participate and enjoy their company.  By choosing to enjoy the task at hand by making it fun, you set yourself up for a better time.

Focus on the Moment. Even with mundane or repetitive tasks, you can boost your positivity by focusing on the moment.

Plan for a Great Day. Sure, this won’t guarantee everything to go just as you wish, but it seems to boost the opportunity for you to have a great day if you plan for it.  I’ve noticed that I often get grumpy if I don’t have enough to eat, so I pack snacks to eat throughout the day.  And if I prep my workout clothes each day, then I have a much better chance of making it to the gym or a run, which always makes me feel better.  Think about what you want to accomplish and get your resources together in advance.

Be Unshakeable. I’ve had a few pretty rotten experiences. And after I’ve come through it, I stop and think, “You know what, I’m still ok.” I’ve trained myself to be unshakeable.  I know there will be bad times, but I also know there will be good times.  Focus on who you are and what you’ve accomplished to help the bad times pass and you to come out better on the other side.

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Surround yourself with positive things. There is a reason I decorated my office with things I love, downloaded fun music for my workouts and visit the library regularly.  When I fill my life with things I love, it’s easier for me to have a positive attitude–and more importantly share my attitude with others.

Take time to rest. I have days with meetings every minute at work, tasks non-stop at home and not a minute to myself.  I’ve found the only way I’m really able to rest, is if I make it a priority. I’ve begun to schedule in breaks during my day including lunch dates with friends and closing my door and rest times at home like weekend naps or Sunday afternoon movies. By incorporating rest into my schedule, it helps me to keep this important area as part of my life.  Think about how you can incorporate rest into your life, even if it’s only 15 minutes, it will still be worth it.

 Let it out, let it go. Holding on to negative feelings will weigh you down, but if you’re able to release these frustrating moments through positive outlets–like speaking with friends or burning energy through exercise, you’re more likely to be able to release the negative thoughts permanently.  This will improve your outlook, enhance your mindset and boost your positivity.

Healthy Living Archive: March 2013