This wonderful year called 2020 started out as a year when I was super-focused on some amazing goals. I had even chosen powerful words and allocated hashtags to just how 2020 would be for me. To say that 2020 has sideswiped me would be an understatement. I know for sure that I am not alone (some social listening told me so) and that is why I bring this series to you how to back track and finish 20 strong.
That is correct, this is going to be a series of posts, there is much for us to cover and one post ain’t gonna crack it.
Words Have Power
The words and hashtags I allocated for this year are as follows:
How ironic, 2020 certainly has been a year of #20plenty, just not what I had in mind!
I even wrote a blog about these words with an awesome online community I belong to. You are welcome to have a read, Know No Limited and Conquer From Within
As far at the other hashtags are concerned, they have been necessary for 2020. Again, not at all in the way I originally intended, lol.
So, sign up with me and let’s do this all together! To sign up, just click on the image below to share your name and email address … thank way you will not miss anything in this series:
LET’S GET STARTED With How To Back Track & Finish 2020 Strong [Habits & Goals]
Why start with habits? Simply put, our habits are either contributing to our lives to contaminating our lives (wise words from Dr. Phil – he was referring to relationships when he said this, but I liken them to habits too).
Good habits contribute positively to our lives. Bad habits contaminate our lives and can even move us further away from our goals.
As Steven Covey says in his book, the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, “We become what we repeatedly do”.
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What he is saying is that we may not even realize it, but what we are doing today and again tomorrow is what we will become.
So, if being a slouch on the couch during lockdown (yeah, I did some of this too) continues, that is who we will become. A slouch on the couch!
So, it is important to be mindful of what we are doing on a daily basis, so that in the future, we become what we want to become, rather than a product of bad habits. Make sense?
Let’s get into some ideas about creating good habits that will lead us to achieving our goals.
A Simple Exercise To Help You Identify Your Current Habits
A colleague of mine recently wrote an article which has helped me to identify my current (bad & not so bad) habits, it is a simple method and he called it Write It Down – 10 Seconds
Essentially what he is saying is that we should allocate a few days or a week and write down everything we do day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Literally in time blocks.
It is a great way to identify where you are spending your time, and more importantly if it is time well spent. This could be a bit like micro-managing ourselves, between you and me though, I have needed this exercise after all the upheaval and disruption 2020 has brought my way. Give it a try, it has been very revealing for me.
What are your intentions?
1. Spend some time deciding on how you want this year to pan out. Yes, we are all aware of the challenges 2020 has thrown at us. If you are healthy and strong, like me, you are completely blessed. That has not been the reality for millions of people around the world.
If you have been affected by ill-health, spending time on what you want from your life is possibly even more important for you than for those who are strong and healthy. Why do I say that? We all need hope, have a look at what Robert Fulghum says in All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten:
“Hope Always Triumphs Over Experience”
I believe we also need everything else that has been mentioned in that quote, and we need to draw on each one of them:
1. Imagination – we need to make use of that marvelous, powerful gift we have called imagination. We need to look at our lives and imagine our lives the way we want them to be. I do not follow the law of attraction so this is no “woo woo” stuff I am sharing here. The fact is that we do have imaginations and we move towards what we focus on. So, use your imagination to see your life the way you want it to be. Write it down and feel it!.
2. Dreams – like imagination, is a powerful tool we have in our hands. As Robert Fulghum says, dreams are more powerful than facts. Don’t be afraid to dream. We have all experienced disappointment and we are still here. Open your mind up to the possibilities and dreams. Again, write it down and feel it!
3. Hope – as we already saw, hope triumphs over experience. We need to hold hope close and believe that better days are coming. You already know what I am going to say next … write it down and feel it.
4. Laughter – I have not laughed nearly enough during 2020, what about you? Let’s actively look for things that make us laugh. No matter how small, watch a comedy instead of Series on Netflix, look up some jokes online. Laugh at yourself, teach your children to laugh at themselves. 2020 has brought a lot of grief to our lives. The normal we once knew and thought we could count on has gone.
5. Love – Robert Fulghum believes that love is stronger than death. How very profound. Losing someone we love is so incredibly hard. I do not believe we are ever the same after losing a loved one. When I think about my Mum and how much I loved her, that love absolutely is stronger than death. She has not been here for decades already and the love in my heart has not died. So, let’s look at love and death and grasp which is stronger. Write it down and feel it.
Have taken hold of the above five things, let’s set our intentions, every single day.
Those intentions define what we do and hat we do defines our habits.
If you know that you want to be stronger, slimmer, and healthier by December 2020, what do you need to do? Eat healthy, exercise, and hydrate. It really is that simple. Your intentions are stronger, slimmer, healthier and your habits will be the three things to get you there.
Write down your intentions, what do you want your life to look like come 31 December 2020?
These are my intentions:
- Spiritually strong
- Physically strong
- Financially strong
- Emotionally connected to my loved ones.
Not necessarily in that order, but you get the idea.
It is important to not overwhelm ourselves. Just focus on one or two habits at a time. More than that will just frustrate you and the likelihood of quitting then becomes much higher.
For example, I have 4 intentions above and I will do one thing for each area every single day:
- Spiritual – have a quiet-time daily (15 minutes reading the Word and praying)
- Physical – once a day I shall exercise. Even if it is only 20 minutes
- Financial – every day I shall work in my online business
- Emotional – I shall reach out to people I love daily, even if it is sending a quick whatsapp message, a short phone call, write an email, or share a joke.
Make it easy for yourself. This is key.
Put measures in place that will help you achieve and maintain the habits you aim to create. Here are some examples:
- If you want to have a quiet time when you wake, as I do, make sure everything you need is within easy reach. Your reading material, journal, and pen. Do this before you go to bed the night before.
- If you want to exercise at 6 am every day, lay out your exercise clothing the night before and go to sleep at a time that makes it easier for you to rise at 6 am.
- If eating healthy is important to you, ensure that easy to eat healthy foods are available in your home, and do not buy the foods you do not want to eat.
Make things as seamlessly simple as possible. Create an environment that helps you to achieve your goals and do it gradually.
Create visible reminders of your goals and place them in strategic spots around your home. I have my hashtags and power words written and displayed on my light switch, the back of the door, and on the pantry door. These are quick reminders for me, they remind me of my intentions.
You can do this by placing notes on your fridge, mirror and so on. Another handy tool is your phone. You can set reminders on your phone with a message to encourage yourself.
An Exercise To Help You Identify Your Current Habits: A colleague of mine recently wrote an article which has helped me to identify my current (bad & not so bad) habits, it is a simple method and he called it Write It Down – 10 Seconds
Essentially what he is saying is that we should allocate a few days or a week and write down everything we do day by day, hour by hour. It is a great way to identify where you are spending your time, and more importantly if it is time well spent. This could be a bit like micro-managing ourselves, between you and me though, I have needed this exercise after all the upheaval and disruption 2020 has brought my way. Give it a try.
Create momentum with your new habits by attaching them to your current habits. For example, I enjoy drinking a lot of water when I wake up, so my favourite cup is set out with everything else I need for my quiet time.
If you decide that you want to exercise after work, as soon as you get home, put on your exercise kit. Make sure it is laid out and ready for you.
It’s a bit like making your bed as soon as you wake up. It becomes habitual.
It may even involve losing a habit to create another. A couple of months ago I stopped drinking coffee, this helped me to start drinking green tea rather than the coffee. I love coffee with lots of hot milk. The reason green tea is better for me is that I eat healthier too. With coffee, I am more tempted to have a sweet biscuit or rusk.
Maybe that is just me, but it works for me. You can find what works best for you too.
Give Yourself Grace
When you have a day that you do not achieve something you planned, put it down to experience and start again. Give yourself the grace to be human but do not lose focus on where you are headed.
Our self-talk is so important. Rather than criticizing yourself for what you haven’t done today, think about how you could set yourself up for an easier transition tomorrow.
I read somewhere that we should commit to forgiving ourselves in the same way we should commit to our goals.
Expect The Best But Also Be Patient
Life is a marathon and not a sprint. Creating the life you desire is going to take time.
Commit to the daily actions, day in and day out. This results with be cumulative, results are not visible immediately, but keep at it. Exercise 5 days a week for 10 weeks and you have exercised for 50 days!
It may even be a good idea to have a calendar somewhere visible, write on it every day, and watch your progress. That would be very encouraging!
A calendar will also help you on the days when your energy and motivation are low. When you see how far you have come already, it is unlikely that you will want to lose the momentum.
Again, keep it simple, something you can do in a matter of minutes on a daily basis. If technology is your thing, there are many online tracking systems you can use. I made use of fittrack.com when I was training for a 94.7km cycling challenge a few years ago, it’s awesome.
Time To Love & Leave You…
So that is the end of our time together exploring Habits and Goals and our route to how to backtrack and finish 2020 strong.
Are you in this with me? I hope so! Remember, you can also sign up with me and receive emails which will keep you on track, I would love to take this journey alongside you!
I would love to read about your ideas, plans, and successes, please let me know by dropping a message in the comment section below.