Hello all, and welcome to the first Friday’s With The Ferret of 2014! So, with a new year beginning and so many folks out there resigning themselves to resolutions (as if starting your goals at a specific time makes a difference) I figured the topic we would cover today is goal setting and how we can forge the tenacity to see those goals accomplished instead of falling into the same trap many of us find time and time again as we start our “new versions” of ourselves.
What is the deal with committing ourselves to change when the New Year begins? Perhaps it is this manifested idea of “starting from scratch” that appeals to us or maybe it is simply just a tradition passed down from ancient times. Regardless, if you make resolutions every year and end up falling off your own wagon, not all hope is lost! In fact, just making a resolution each year is a good indicator that you have hope for yourself and desire some form of change to better your life. Hope, my friends, is the very first step.
With hope, we can imagine an ideal. Even if that ideal is farfetched and over the top, it gives us a rubric, or skeleton if you will for a goal that we can then flesh out with our own details. Hope provides us a destination on which to begin a journey towards and keeps a light burning in the darkest of times.
Imagining the destination is always the easiest part of the journey. It doesn’t take much work to achieve and can be shaped by the hope that lives inside each of us. The next step however, is the most difficult. Starting.
The question always comes down to “When to start” and “Where to start.” In one person’s life time to achieve one goal, they may find themselves starting a hundred times before they finish. I certainly know I have.
The answer, oddly enough, is a lot simpler than we all make it out to be. With a resounding NOW I tell you, NOW is the time, NOW is the place. We spend so much time fumbling with the where and when that we inevitably put it off. Because let’s face it, procrastinating is an easy job that takes no will power, discipline, or focus. You just, do it.
So stop convincing yourself that there is a better time such as “The new year” or, “next month,” “next week,” or “tomorrow.” You see, the trouble with tomorrow is, it’s always going to be a day away and it will always be easier to convince yourself that tomorrow will be better than today.
We often find ourselves struck with inspiration at the most inopportune of times. In the shower, in bed, in the car (while driving!), and really just anywhere where our mind can wander while we do a familiar activity that allows the brain to go into some form of auto pilot. So how do we transpose those moments of inspiration or those brilliant ideas into active time slots in our life?
Step One: The first step is something I like to call a “Brain Book.” A Brain Book, is a pocket sized note pad that you can literally carry around with you anywhere! Back pocket, front pocket, purse, and what have you. The important features of a brain book are for it to be easily accessible at ANY time and that it be compact enough so it may be carried without burdening you or really even reminding you it’s there until you need it.
So, now you’ve got your Brain Book … How do you make it useful?
Step 2: Moving on from actually having the brain book, we now must utilize it. Whenever you are struck with an idea (any idea at all) that you don’t want to forget or a moment of inspiration for yourself, or a notion on how to progress a goal, or a great recipe, quote, song lyric (heck, I could keep going, but you get the picture, right?) You can put ANYTHING in it that is meaningful to you. Here’s another kicker; Remember how back in school you were asked to take notes? Those of you who did not have a photographic memory and actually took the tedious time to write things down that were already said, you probably in most cases found it easier to recall things from lessons when it came down to test time. This is because when we write something down, just as when we hear it, and repeat it, we are scribing that information to different parts of our brain, and if memory games teach us anything, it is that repetition produces better results. So with that theory in mind, your new Brain Book will not only help keep your brain on track with your new way of thinking and recording, but having the permanency of pen (or pencil) on paper makes it so your thought is easily recallable. (Rather than filing it away in the mess we call a brain, it’s neat, and on paper!)
Ok, so that’s great. You have the Brain Book. You are putting your own spark notes in the book. So what do you do with all of this?
Step 3: *This is the most crucial step, and if you skip it, or put it off, you will be wasting so much potential for yourself.* You must, must, must, must, MUST set time aside for yourself (yes, for, your, self) to review your brain book, and put those ideas in to practice.
So, let’s say our goal was to eat better and we jotted down a little note that read “Nutrition.” Simple and effective, plus we know what it means to us. With the time we set aside (I’d recommend giving yourself no less than 30 – 60 minutes one time a week. Start small, baby steps. When that becomes easier to maintain and focus, add more. Just like a well-rounded fitness program, you want to progressively overload yourself. If you go for the whole thing right from the get go, you’re gonna have a bad time.) we would then want to begin dissecting our diet, making a list, or a spread sheet even of the things we eat. Then, with a little research or good advice or knowledge we already have, we can start to fill in that spread sheet with healthier options and then start planning our grocery shopping and cooking schedule accordingly to accommodate. Will you accomplish all of this the first time you sit down with your set aside time? Unless you can work like The Flash and are not human, don’t count on it. But what you should count on is starting. Starting the snowball rolling down the hill so each time you sit down with that set aside time, you have a new place to start from, which is exactly where you left off.
So now you are equipped with some bullet proof tactics. From here it’s up to you and always remember: If it doesn’t work at first … Try, try again. Don’t give up on yourself, your goals, or your future. Do not let life take you a drift in its stormy weather, learn to navigate.