New Year's Day often comes with resolutions and commitments to meet new goals. Taking stock and choosing to make changes that improve the way we live our lives is a good thing! It is how we grow and improve our overall wellbeing. Usually around this time in January, many feel themselves losing momentum and focus no matter how worthy the goals and sincere their efforts. Rest assured, that is just the natural ebb and flow of the change process. You may be second guessing your reasons for setting the goals in the first place. You may have commited to too much at once or got lost in the day-to-day tasks of living.
We tend to feel life gets in the way of reaching our goals. Life happens. Sometimes it is good, sometimes amazing and often it is boring or super busy. And sometimes, life is difficult or depressing. I have an important shift in perception for you :) This isnot life getting in the way; this is Life! We must come to accept that moving forward with our goals means moving forward while we Live our Lives, regardless of what is happening to us or around us. That means we must keep going no matter what. How? All you need is one thing: Awareness. Be aware of when you are losing focus or feeling overwhelmed. Feel your feelings! Consciously reaffirm your commitment to work towards staying on track. You will succeed and any lack of motivation will disappear. This mind set is crucial to success.
Here is another shift for you. The actual process of reaching goals is best approached with flexibility. You may take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. You may reach a standstill. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself permission to take a break! That is where awareness comes in. By making an assessment based on awareness that honors your personal needs, you can make an intentional choice to take a guilt free pause. Taking a time out from going full speed ahead towards a list of desired accomplishments is a healthy thing to do. You simply allow yourself to stop, and then pick up where you left off. This does not mean you allow yourself to relapse. It means you choose to slow down and give yourself a chance to reinforce the great changes and new habits you have made so far.
Maintaining your new habits, goals and accomplishments to date actually reinforces all those changes and secures them into your daily routine. If you have lost 5lbs, quit smoking, put money in a savings account or started drinking more water then hold those results steady. Again, taking a break does not mean relapse. Keep your current accomplishments going strong. A break means you maintain all of your great changes and celebrate your efforts to date while not pushing further ahead for the time being.
Take this time to reflect on how far you have come, how far you want to go and when you plan to start up again. This will help you focus and commit for the long haul and more importantly, prevents the ‘all or nothing’ mentality that leads to life long patterns of relapse and restart.
You have come a long way ~ Congratulations! Give yourself permission to stop, relax, enjoy, reward and regroup along your road to success. When you are ready to move happily forward on your journey to health, you will be refreshed, motivated and even more prepared after your well deserved break.
Keep going and KTQ!
Vikki Q CTTS-M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist