THE SET UP
I rang in 2016 with an enormous amount of excitement and positive expectations about the future. I created a kick ass plan for my year and goals in every category of my life. I even created a quarterly goal tracker and because I am a geek (yep, I am and I love being one J), I went and had this goal tracker laminated at Staples. I was pretty proud of myself.
For the first week and a half, I was kicking butt and taking names. I felt like the Queen of the World, setting things up and then knocking them down. I was journaling, exercising, and meditating. I was more organized, and fully present. Everything was flowing perfectly.
THE SET BACK
The second week into the New Year, my entire clan, myself included, was knocked down by a seasonal bug. We were all down for the count. I won’t bore or disturb you with details but it was not pretty and it certainly was not fun.
All of my goals went to the wayside the week my clan and I were sick. Luckily, I had started that week really strong – I had been to yoga once, the gym twice, I had read every day, and journaled twice a day each day. While I was sick, I thought about the things I had planned for the week – more journaling, reading, writing, and some key meetings that now had to be rescheduled. Although it felt like a complete disturbance in the Force for me (Jim would be so proud that I’m making a STAR WARS reference J), I felt at peace knowing that I had made a real dent on the week’s goals at the onset. I have also been actively working on letting things go. Life is not perfect and neither am I. I accepted the fact that we were ill and thus, the number one priority became getting everyone healthy!
After recovering, my first “normal” days didn’t feel normal at all. I struggled to play catch up, to “get it all done.” I became overwhelmed with all of the things I had set out to do. I felt pulled and torn in a thousand different directions. I felt set up for failure. I questioned my ability to accomplish those big goals I had set for myself at the beginning of the year. Most of all I was feeling like I was failing on the motherhood front, which for those of you who are parents out there, know that this is an unfortunate side effect of being a parent. You will question everything you do or don’t do from now until the time you leave this earth. You will question the impact you may or may not have on your children and whether or not this is in line with what you want. The feeling of overwhelm stemmed from looking at my BIG goals and the roles I play in my life (mother, wife, sister, leader, etc.) and the feeling that there wasn’t enough time to “do it all.”
THE COME BACK
So, the big question is what did I do? I talked to Jim. I explained exactly what my reality felt like, regardless of whether or not this was reality on the outside. We talked about the ‘why’ behind my feelings and challenged the story behind them. We discussed different strategies to deal with what I was feeling – I could regroup and redefine my goals, or I could take a new approach.
After considering my options, I decided to take a new approach. My goals are absolutely achievable and I know that in my gut and in my core. It is also possible for me to be the very best version of myself while achieving my goals. I also know that I have very high standards for myself and that I tend to put too much pressure on myself. Re-thinking my approach allowed me the opportunity to reassess if my goals and my approach to achieving them were in alignment. I made one small tweak and I am back on track baby and man, does it feel good!
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
I shared this story for a number of reasons. We are all human and, therefore, all fallible. We all face challenges and even when we have the best intentions, life can get in the way. Sometimes a shift in the way you approach something is all you need to get what you want. I also shared this story to get you to think through what you might do if life throws something unexpected your way. How will you react? How do you get back on track?
Here are some of my pointers below,
- Think through your goals and define the intended outcome of each goal. After you are clear on your intended outcomes, take some time to brainstorm different approaches to manifest these outcomes. Compare your list of approaches with your desired outcomes. Are they in alignment? Meaning does your approach support your outcome or is it in conflict with your outcome? If they are not aligned, you will want to spend more time brainstorming until your intended outcomes and approaches are in alignment.
- Create a strategy to deal with life’s unexpected events. If your goal is to get to the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights and you have a sitter for your kids so you can go, what is your back up plan should the sitter not be available? It sounds simple but just thinking through some back up options will help you stay on track with any goal you have.
- Have a trusted ally and confidant. Identify someone who will listen to you and will call you on your nonsense when you need it. If you don’t have a trusted confidant, start journaling. This will allow you to capture your thoughts and then critically examine them. Utilizing ‘stream of conscious’ writing will yield the best results. This writing style calls you to write everything that pops into your head WITHOUT editing. Do not judge yourself, just record it. This will allow you to find contradictions and incongruences within your thinking and challenge the story you are telling yourself (more on this in a later post)
- Have faith in yourself and be kind to yourself. Some days are going to be tough but keeping the right mindset will help you enjoy the ride.
- Take it all in stride. Be flexible.
Seize the carp!