Do you feel like there is never enough time in the day? Do you feel like you struggle to stay on path and reach goals? Are you not even sure what your goals are? After all, time is our greatest commodity.
There are only 24 hours in a day. No way for us to change that. So if we can’t add hours to the day, but if we want to be more productive, reach goals, be more fulfilled, we must be more intentional and purposeful with the time we have.
What do I mean by intentional? Intentional is the opposite of floating through the day moving from activity to activity and come up with no real focus or goal in mind. When you are intentional, you have a plan. You decide who you want to be, what you want to change or accomplish. You create a plan of action, take the actions, and say no distractions.
If you want to make 2020 your most productive and fulfilling year yet, this podcast and series is for you. Today’s episode is all about assessment. To move forward, make positive change, you must start by having a clear picture of exactly where you are right now – What is working for you and what is not.
Step 1: What Is Most Important To You In 2020?
Do you want to lose weight and become a healthier version of you? Do you want to make a career shift? Reconnect with friends our spouse? Move to a new city?
What is it that you have always wanted to do, but your brain keeps telling you not yet, you aren’t ready? If not now, then when? You deserve to have what you want. This is the year. This is the time. Let’s start right now.
This is a very important step. Don’t rush through this step. Every moment you spend thinking about exactly what you want will reap benefits.
What do you want in 2020? Watch out here for “SHOULDS” and limiting self-beliefs. The things we have been programmed to think we should do, or things that should be important to us. Things we learned from parents, teachers, society. Many of these people loved us and meant well. In many ways we needed these SHOULDS to learn how to function in a society with others. But our brains take these SHOULDS and developed these bright line rules that we think we must follow. This simply is not the case. Some of these unhelpful should are: Women should always care for others first and put ourselves last. Focusing on yourself is selfish. You should do things perfectly.
Look out for your own self-limiting beliefs too. Sometimes these come in the second half of a thought – the “BUTS.” You may have the thought “I want to lose 20 pounds in 2020, BUT I won’t be able to because nothing has worked before.” or “I want to start a business, BUT I’m not ready yet.”
Wade through the SHOULDS and the BUTS until you get to what you really want. What is your hearts deepest desire for the year to come? You…. no one else. What do you want?
Once you decide what you want to accomplish or change in 2020, you are ready for Step 2.
Step 2: Get Clarity
What external and internal obstacles stand in the way of you getting where you want to go? Who and what is contributing to you reaching what you want in 2020? And, who and what is making it harder for you to reach your goals?
You heard me correctly, I said who and what.
Let’s Look At External Obstacles First
In this step you must look at your entire environment, including those you surround yourself with. Let’s use the example goal of losing 20 pounds, (but you can fill in any goal here). Let’s start with WHAT you surround yourself with. What’s in your kitchen? Are there potato chips and Cheez-Its in your pantry? Is there pizza in the fridge? If there is, it is going to make reaching your goal more difficult. What if instead, you had rotisseries chicken, roasted carrots, and broccoli in the fridge? Protein powder in pantry? Then it’s much easier to stay on track toward your goal.
Now let’s look at WHO. Do you eat your meals with others who are not concerned with being mindful and intentional about what they eat? Do you go out with a group to lunch most days who choose restaurants with high calories food and no healthier choices? If so, your mind is more likely to give you permission to do what the group is doing, making it much more difficult to reach your goal of losing weight.
So WHAT and WHO do you surround yourself with? Will your environment make reaching your goal easier or harder?
Now Let’s Look At Internal Obstacles
What do you tell yourself that has been getting in your way? This neg self-talk could be stopping you from even setting a goal, let alone achieving it. When you think about what you want to do, what does your brain tell you? Does it say, “I can’t lose weight. I’ve always had problems with my weight”? Does it say, “I can’t do it. I SHOULDN’T FOCUS ON MYSELF. I’m not worthy of having what I WANT”?
What do you say to yourself that stops you before you even start? We can remove all of the potato chips from your house and you can surround yourself with others who are interested in eating clean, but if you tell yourself you can’t do it … you won’t do it.
If you have any negative self-talk getting in your way, push it to the side. You get to make the choice to believe the negative or to write a new story. You can decide to tell yourself, “I’m not where I want to be, but I have the power to change and to take the action to get myself where I want to be.” You can go from that helpless place of feeling like you don’t have a choice to being powerful and in charge.
So you have:
- Step 1: Determined what you want most in 2020
- Step 2: Clarity about what and who is helpful and what and who is not
Now you are ready for Step 3.
Step 3: Make Space
Clean out everything that isn’t helping you.
Remove The External Obstacles In Your Way
Back to our weight loss example. Make space in your environment for what will help you reach your goal.
First, clean out your pantry and fridge of everything that will get in the way of your goal – the cookies, the chips. Get rid of it. Make it easier on yourself.
Second, you don’t have to rid yourself of friends or co-workers, but you need to be mindful about who you eat with. Don’t go to lunch with the group who is going to the place that only has double cheeseburger and fries on the menu. Find the group going to a place where you can create your own salad and add the protein you like. Or, bring a lunch from home that is in keeping with your goal.
Once again get rid of the options that make it difficult for you to choose to stay on the path toward your goals.
Notice the negative self-talk and stop it in its tracks. Make the choice not to buy into it. Choose not to listen to it. Choose not to believe it. It is your choice. Just because your brain tells you so does not mean it is so.
The example I use all of the time with my clients is: My brain can tell me, “I am Beyoncé. I am Beyoncé. I am Beyoncé.” But, that does not make me Beyoncé. Now I don’t really believe I am Beyoncé. I just use that example to show you that our brains tell us things that are not true. Our brains tell us things that are not helpful. You have a choice. Believe it. Buy into it. Or not.