It’s only January 20, and it seems like we’ve lived through months already. The Coronavirus, political turmoil, our own personal struggles.
About three weeks ago, you committed to goals for the year. You can call them resolutions. You can call them intentions. You can call them guiding words.
And, I know committed was the right word. You did this with your heart and mind in the right place. You looked at what would serve you to make the next year the best for you.
This week marks the time that people start to give up on those goals.
This past Monday has been referred to as Blue Monday. It references a campaign created by Dr. Cliff Arnall and Sky Travel in 2005. This is a pseudo-scientific calculation that considers weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing your New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels, and feeling of a need to take action.
The idea is that all of that is enough to put you in a “blue” mood. Of course, the solution for your low feelings would be to book travel! (Remember the campaign creators.)
Strava, a company that offers a running and cycling stats tracking app, looked at the apps use over time. It discovered that the 3rd Sunday of January, earlier this week, is the day most people give up on their resolutions. They call it “Quitters’ Day.”
If you did succomb to Quitter’s Day or are now feeling blue with your choices at the beginning of the year, here are seven tips to keep going.
Give yourself grace
Instead of beating yourself up because you failed to keep your resolution, just start over. In the end, there’s nothing magical about checking the done block every single day.
Remember, you are not starting from the beginning, you are starting from experience. You have learned a lot from all your past experiences, successes and failures. Now you can put all that to work when you start again.
Look at your habits
Much of what you are trying to do is connected to your habits.
If your goal was to walk every day, did you put your walking clothes out the night before?
If your goal was to be more organized in your studio space, did you take 15 minutes at the end of the day to put things away?
If your goal is to write more content, do you set it as a priority each day?
Go back and look at the habits that are connected to your goals.
Are your goals your goals?
It’s so easy to set a goal because someone else thinks it would be great for you. Nothing dooms you quicker than not being committed to your goal. Go back and consider if the goal is really your goal or someone else’s.
It’s perfectly fine to set a new goal or intention if it will serve you better. I’ve done that in the past.
Does your environment support you?
Right now I’m looking around at my environment.
One of my goals is to spend more time on my art. I need to have my tools readily available. They need to be clean and sharp. I need to keep the clutter at bay.
Take a look at your environment. Does it support or hinder you in reaching your goals?
Use your calendar
If you are serious about accomplishing your goals, then you will make time to work on them. That means setting the time aside.
Your calendar is your friend for this. Decide each day how much time you’ll devote to your goals.
I like choosing between one and three tasks that will move me forward. A task can be small. Tasks continue to add up. Before you know it, you will have accomplished a lot.
For years I’ve had accountability partners. Someone I can connect with each day or few days or weekly who will hold my feet to the fire.
Your partner’s job is to ask if you did the work you said you’d do. Your job is to do the work.
If you are looking for accountability, check out the Members’ Studio. We have several ways to hold you accountable each week.
Even when you don’t want to, show up
When you’re tired and ready to give up, show up.
When you are discouraged, show up.
Show up anyway. That’s your job.
The effort will pay off. Maybe not immediately. Maybe not every day. It will pay off.
When I get discouraged that my creativity has taken a break, I remember this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on creative genius.
It’s your turn!
What’s the hardest part of getting back on track when you think about quitting?