How many times have you said to yourself: Right! That's it, from Monday I'm...[Insert Extreme, Unobtainable Goal Here]
It's the kind of thing I say a lot. I identify that something needs to change in my life and I set myself ridiculous, unachievable goals in order to make that change.
But just how effective is this kind of thinking?
In my case, not very. I have a very all or nothing, black and white attitude when it comes to my goals. When it comes to my health, I feel like I have to eat perfectly healthy 100% of the time or it's a failure. When it comes to my blog, I feel like I have to 100% stick to the schedule I make myself at the start of each month or there's no point. With my exercise regime, I can't miss a day, oh no.
Unfortunately this way of thinking means that when I "fail" - I give up entirely, because what's the point? I go back to my old ways immediately - I eat whatever I damn well please, I don't do any exercise beyond the walking my life requires and so on. It's not helpful. At all.
So I've decided to ditch the overhaul attitude.
There are changes I want to make in my life. I know I don't eat enough fruit or veg. I know I'm not as fit as someone my age should be, so I could do with a little bit more exercise. I have way too many possessions and my life would be greatly improved if I just let most of them go. I spend too much time watching TV when there are other things I could be doing that would make me feel happier than TV does. I spend a huge amount of time moaning about one particular aspect of my life despite the fact that it's something I could change if I just sat down and dedicated some time to fixing it.
Unfortunately, all this isn't going to happen overnight, and I need to stop beating myself up when it doesn't.
From now on, I'm all about the gradual changes, the baby steps towards my goals. Adding a piece of fruit to my breakfast one week, then adding an extra vegetable into my lunch the next. Fitting the swimming pool back into my routine once a week, then upping it to twice when I know I'm strong enough post-surgery to handle it again. Not watching TV while I eat my dinner so I'm more likely to do something else with my time afterwards. Just one step at a time towards what I really want.
I've now been back in Reading, back in work, back to my routine, for just over three weeks and this is an attitude I've adopted since then and it's doing my mental health a world of good. I've still eaten a few too many takeaways and my room is still a tip because it's just got too much stuff in it, but I feel like I've made more progress these past three weeks than I have done in months previously. I've just been aiming to take one small step each day towards what I want and it really is helping. Eventually, I will gain momentum and I'll start jogging, then running towards my goals.
We're only human. If you find yourself stuck in the "I MUST completely overhaul my life" cycle like I was, I recommend taking a step back. Figure out exactly what it is you want to achieve, and then, instead of just expecting everything to change overnight, work out how you can take a step each day towards your goal. Trust me, you'll get there a lot quicker and you'll feel much better about it.