Stay on Track

Jennifer MitchellPsychotherapy

With January nearing an end, I like to take a step back and check in with how I’ve felt the first month of a new year has gone.  It may mean checking in on goals, checking in on my self care or seeing how I’m doing with life balance. Over the years, I’ve employed a few tips to keep me on track.

I phrase many of my intentions more positively. Instead of saying, for example, “I will no longer eat out” or “I’m not allowed to_____,” I try to phrase things in terms of what I can do, such as “ Yess, I can eat out ____times this month!”  I try to leave judgement language behind.  We can often apply judgement, especially around mental or physical health.  We all may do it, “eating out is so bad; that is a guilty pleasure food; ugh I ate so bad yesterday, I have to be good for the next month.”  I like to check in with myself and do a tune up to any shame or judgey language I might be using and see if I can shift the phrasing of goals to what I can do.

I do not try and do it all. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and abandoning all the goals because we feel like failures. Rather, breaking it down into manageable, concrete chunks. At the end of January, I like to step back and see if a goal could be broken down even more. For example, I had a vision of myself reading 5 (of my already bought) books per month. Well, I can tell you, this has not happened. But rather than abandoning my goal of reading more of my books, I have reworked the goal to read 1 – 2 chapters per week.

I use the 2-minute rule. If it can be done in 2 minutes, I do it! It’s amazing what you can do in 2 minutes! This is an amended version of the 5-minute rule you may have read about. For myself, I found my follow through was better with 2 minutes. This has helped with the cleanliness of my house, doing tasks and generally helping prevent a pile up of work/tasks/duties. This helps me not just walk by the pile of clothes on the floor, put the dirty dish in the dishwasher, file that paper, pay that bill etc. This continues to help me with my overall goal of procrastination.

Whatever it is you are hoping to achieve or maintain this year, take a minute to stop, and check in! See if you need to reassess, amend or get additional support.