It’s already that time of year again: December was a blur, January was spent recovering and—somehow—we are in February. This is the time when we all start to properly take stock of our progress with the resolutions that we drunkenly made over a month ago, if we can even remember them.
Overindulgence is impossible to avoid over Christmas, be it with food, alcohol or sleep. We have all done it—binged for days on mince pies for breakfast and then proceeded to panic and make ridiculous plans, setting unobtainable goals for ourselves. “Lose six stone!”, “Run 10k every day!”, “Do everything on my bucket list by this time next year!”.
So, unsurprisingly, here I am in February thinking, “Why do I still feel crap and why have I not achieved a single thing I set out to?” My initial thought was that I am clearly procrastinating and not trying hard enough. But the answer, I realise, is simple: I am being way too hard on myself. So I have decided to approach my goals differently. You should give it a go too and here’s how:
Goal 1: Get fit AND look fabulous
Instead of continuing to wear clothes which fitted me before Christmas, during which I ate my own bodyweight in potatoes roasted in goose fat and drank the bar dry, I am going to stop torturing myself. Wearing uncomfortably tight clothes would force me to think about my weight every second of every day. Instead, I’ve resolved to take them off, put them away and go and buy myself something which fits and makes me feel gorgeous (although I won’t go shopping naked, that would have tedious repercussions).
Now, ladies, I am not saying that you shouldn’t try and lose those extra few pounds if you want to, but you don’t have to make it so difficult for yourself—you don’t have to feel hideous in the process. While you’ve got the plastic out, treat yourself to a new workout outfit which makes you want to exercise, you’ll be surprised at the power of a jazzy new pair of leggings (I went for sparkly unicorn-clad ones myself).
Perhaps you have set yourself the goal of improving your diet. Please don’t set yourself a series of mini-goals within that. I see so many of my girlfriends restricting their consumption of certain yummy foods and making themselves miserable in the process. Everything in moderation. If you want chocolate, have it, just don’t eat it excessively. Look into healthier alternatives which you will equally love (dark chocolate, anyone?). Be proactive. Go and do some product research, try new things and find healthier foods which are also delicious, not ones which you have to choke down just because you think you should. No one likes broccoli anyway, stop kidding yourself. Give yourself a break; how is eating things you dislike going to motivate you?
Goal 2: Be more efficient AND get the job done
I’m forever making endless lists for myself and never ticking anything off, getting myself into a right panic. We should all try to be a completer/finisher, even though it is easier said than done. Don’t flit from one task to another; make a methodical list and prioritise. If you haven’t finished that ‘big project’ by the end of the day, break it down into manageable chunks and work through them.
Another thing; when we get to the end of the day, why are we always beating ourselves up over what is still left to do? Look back at what you have achieved, not what you haven’t. Don’t let your list get you down, even when there doesn’t seem to be many ticks. I bet you did tons of other things without even thinking about it and they weren’t on your list. I bet you managed to dress and feed yourself and successfully ‘adult’ all day (well most of the day), that in itself has to be applauded sometimes. You are brilliant at what you do, so remind yourself once in a while. As long as you are doing something each day towards your end goal, you are on track.
Goal 3: Demand the career you have always only dreamed of
Stop dreaming and start doing. Daydreaming of the career you want, whilst working a job you aren’t suited to is soul-destroying and does nothing for your happiness. Don’t like it? Make a plan and change your career path, no matter how hard it may seem. I’m not suggesting you stand up, tip your desk over and declare that you are leaving—though flouncing out does sound fun sometimes, but you spend such a large chunk of your days working, you need to enjoy it. When thinking about a career change, people tend to make a mental list of why it would be too difficult to do so. Stop making yourself unhappy and take positive steps to make your dreams a reality.
Stop flipping through Facebook and thinking, “my friends have such wonderful lives, I wish I could be like them,” because you can. Sure, it’s scary, but if you are longing for a change then MAKE IT HAPPEN. Comparing yourself to others makes you miserable and you only see a snapshot of their lives. You are already subconsciously setting yourself an unobtainable goal of having someone else’s ‘perfect’ life. I bet that friend who posts constant selfies in different exotic locations has their own share of life’s problems, they just choose to show you the positives.
So, stop setting yourself up for a fall and being so hard on yourself. Take a step back; what are you doing to make your life harder? Are you giving yourself a mental pat on the back often enough? Nothing happens overnight, so give yourself a break, take baby steps in the right direction and everything will start to fall into place. If you want it go and get it. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want. It doesn’t matter, you are already halfway there. Accepting that the situation you are currently in is not right for you is half the battle.
And, for those smug people who have, so far, stuck to their seemingly unattainable goals for 2016, I salute you!