I want to help you to achieve your goals this year. This can be a parenting goal or a goal for any other area of your life.
Based on my experience and that of many others I know when we try to change everything at once we set ourselves up for failure. Every time we fail we reinforce our negative beliefs, like “I can’t lose weight, I can’t finish anything, and I’m weak.” With these thoughts to start again becomes even harder because of the strong influence our unconscious limiting beliefs have on us.
This is why many of us stop trying after a few attempts. Think about it . . . our lives can be broken down into many different areas: career, health, money, family, friends, hobby, and learning/growth.
These are all important areas and most of us can use some improvement in almost all of them. I can for sure. In our attempt to improve ourselves, we often resort to extremes out of desperation. We decide to make huge changes in every major areas at once.
We tell ourselves, “Starting tomorrow I will run 2 miles every day, stop eating sugar, quit smoking, play an hour with my kids, stop looking at Facebook, study Spanish 30 minutes a day, meditate 30 minutes, create a plan for myself to follow and come up with new rules for the kids, with planned activities minute-by-minute, cook something new everyday. (This is all too common around New Year’s)
I got it! In today’s world we are impatient and we’re so used to having instant gratification. We have an illusion that we can change instantly because we see many other people changing, seemingly overnight. It looks like they’re doing it with ease and having fun in the process. In reality, it takes time to successfully change and get lasting results.
Every day we have a certain amount of will power. That is why it is suggested that you do your hardest and most important activities in the morning. Our willpower gets depleted by the end of the day. We use it for all kinds of things aside from our goals; like not screaming when someone cuts us off in traffic, not getting angry when our coworker did not finish his work, being patient with the kids while trying to get them out the door in the morning.
We need to create habits, because habits do not require willpower.
Here are 4 steps to achieve your goals
Make a list of what you want to change and prioritize everything.
Take the most important one and set a goal for it, for example: Establish screen-time rules for my kids and myself.
Make a written plan that’s reasonable to achieve.
Include the consequences if it is not followed through on. For example, on weekdays we spend 1 hour/day and 2 hours/day on weekends on screens. We will use timers or apps to achieve this.
Allow 2 weeks grace period for adjusting
For this time you can’t be angry at yourself or your kids if they forget the new routine, just shake it off. After this period the consequences are on.
I implemented the grace period after I saw police doing this with new speed limits; every time they changed it they put a date under the new sign telling drivers when it will be enforced with consequences.
Follow your family’s schedule; make up and adjust your own rules and consequences. The goal is to do it every day even if it failed the day before. Give a reminder and a warning, adjust and then reset.
At first it will be difficult, but if you’re consistent after 3 to 4 weeks it will become a habit and will no longer require will power. Once a habit is created you can introduce a new goal and make a plan. Remember the plan has to include small consistent steps. By doing this step-by-step you will achieve your goals within a year by introducing a new change every month or so.
Why is it important to take small steps?
Because this way your subconscious mind does not kick in and force you to procrastinate or quit. Everybody can walk 15 minutes a day, or read one page a day, study a new language for 10 minutes, meditate 10 minutes, or try a new veggie every week, right?
If you try to do these things all at once it adds up to more than an hour per day trying to focus on goals and that can overwhelm us.
Having a great and inspirational planner can help to create and monitor your progress.
Hope this helps. I would love for you to share your opinions, your tricks, and tips.