Summer is definitely here in the Napa Valley. Temperatures have soared, the vines are flourishing, the sky is crystal blue. With the warm weather heating the valley, it seems that all you want to do is find a shady spot under a tree and spread out a picnic lunch. Seems like everything we are working on can wait for just a bit.
Amazingly, it also means that we are already half way through 2013! So how are those 2013 goals working for you?
One of the great things about the change of seasons is it gives us the chance to pause and reflect on where we are in the year. It is a common business practice–the quarterly, or semi-annual, financial report. For those who made resolutions in January, this is a great time to take a look and see what kind of progress you’ve made. Now, I admit a lot of people make resolutions as a part of the festivities of the season. Those resolutions are usually stashed in a drawer by the second or third day of January and pulled out again come December 31st of the next year. Nothing wrong with that, if it makes you happy.
However, if you were serious about making some positive changes in your life for this year, now is a good time to take a breath and see where you are. The problem with making resolutions in January is that the rest of the year gets in the way. The holidays end, we go back to work, our focus shifts from personal development to daily crisis management, and suddenly another New Year’s Eve is looming and very little has changed on that list of self and career improvement.
As a personal health and wellness coach, one of the most valuable tools I offer my clients is accountability. Let’s be honest. It is very hard to make changes on your own. If you are truly serious about achieving positive health or lifestyle changes, checking in on a regular basis with a coach or partner is one of the best ways to make sure you stay on track. Without that piece of the puzzle, it is too easy to become distracted by the latest drama or deadline. Those goals slowly fade to the back of the to-do list, and pretty soon they become another entry on the best-of-intentions list.
That is why I suggest using this time of year to pause and reflect on your progress so far. Are you exactly where you expected to be? Great! Congratulations! Was your plan on target, or did you tweak it along the way? Are you confident that the current path will continue to yield the desired results? Is there any fine-tuning that needs to happen?
Sometimes we are overzealous when planning goals for the year. If you aren’t where you had hoped to be, is it possible that the goal is unrealistic? Did you plan to lose 50 pounds by now? Probably not going to happen. Re-scaling the goal into something manageable and achievable could help to keep the motivation flowing. So often we have big dreams but don’t give ourselves enough time move those dreams into reality. The result is often frustration and abandonment, but it doesn’t have to be. If you didn’t have an exercise regime already in place on January 1st, chances are you haven’t kept up with the daily visits to the gym as planned. No need to give up–just re-define it. Instead of daily workouts and body chiseled from stone, maybe two days a week and some daily home stretches is a more realistic goal. It may not give you the perfect body you dream of, but guess what? It will give you a better body and better health. It will also keep you moving forward toward your ultimate goal.
Did you overshoot your goal? Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit and make the goals too simple. If that is the case, is there something further you wish to achieve? Is there another way to challenge yourself? Possibly something you can refine? Maybe the outcome was exactly what you planned, it just came more easily than expected. In that case–congrats again. Now the choice is to remain where you are or build on your success.
Of course, sometimes life just gets in the way. We mean to make all those changes happen. We just don’t have the time. If that is the case, now may be a good time to revisit why you wanted to make those changes in the first place. What would be different in your life if you did change? How would it make your life better? More importantly, how will you feel if things remain status quo and nothing changes? What negative impact will that have on your life? Are the goals something you honestly wanted to achieve, or were they just something you thought you should achieve? Here’s a hint on that one–if you want to change because you think you should, most likely it won’t happen. The most successful change begins with organic origins. Changing to meet other’s expectations might happen in the short run, but will seldom last as a personal, sustainable habit.
Wherever you are in your personal journey for the year, now is a good time to reflect on your progress. Take a some time to review what has happened so far. Another important point to keep in mind during this reflection is that judgement has no place in this process. Too often we rush to judge ourselves more harshly than we judge others. Treat yourself with the same compassion you give friends and even strangers. Do not blame yourself if you feel you are lagging behind or have lost sight of your plans. Simply review, regroup, and keep moving forward.
No one said change was easy. However, if you neglect to monitor it, the change you hope for will seldom happen. Staying responsible and accountable is one of the best ways to make sure you create new and lasting behaviors in your life. Taking time out on a regular basis to review progress is a great way to keep moving forward.
Change may not be easy, but it’s not impossible. Remaining mindful and aware of where you are in your journey is a very powerful way to make sure you get where you truly want to go.
Ready to clarify your goals? Click here for free thirty minute session to see how we can work together to make your goals a reality before 2014.