Last week I wrote about how exercise and meditation that is focused on gratefulness sets you up for a great Monday morning instead of a difficult transition from weekend to work week. Today I would like to ask a little more, so instead of just starting out with a great attitude we need to view this day as a chance to start anew. Pick something you want to change about your life, which shouldn’t be too difficult for most of us. Here is a list of a few goals that apply to many people:
- This week I am going to stick with my exercise program. No excuses, no more days missed because someone else set your priorities.
- This week I’m going to kick a bad habit I have. This habit might be over eating, smoking, drinking too much, loving your cell phone more than your friends or family, too much time with video games, gossiping about family/friends/co-workers, and the list goes on and on. You know what is holding you back, so pick one.
- This week I’m going to think about what I eat and make some good choices. You know what I mean; you don’t need to be a nutritionist to know when you are eating garbage.
- This week I’m going to focus on positive interactions with everyone I encounter. What will it cost you, but practicing a little self-control, maybe a bit of empathy, or being less judgmental.
So we are starting out a new week and we will make one change, from my list above or something else that has been weighing heavily on your mind. I’m not advocating you give it all up and join the monastery, we don’t have to make a radical change, but make a change and do it now. The result is these changes will accumulate, they will make you stronger, and they will build on each other. Let’s take a look what 4 short weeks could do:
- Week 1 – I started running/walking 3 days a week
- Week 2 – I stopped drinking anything with sugar in it
- Week 3 – I volunteered at the local food pantry
- Week 4 – I stopped gossiping about people I work with
These aren’t huge things that take tons of planning, but you are now creating good things in your life. After a month of just changing 4 things I now have a good exercise habit, rehydrating without the worthless calories, giving back to your community, and taking the high road with your co-workers. Now that was just the first month.
Your homework should you choose to accept this challenge is to write down 4 goals, one for each week in the month and start working on one every Monday. When you reach the fourth week, write down 4 more. I just started a Google doc I called “Weekly Goals” so I can see how this flows over time. Sometimes we get hung up on making elaborate plans with no due dates or simply unreasonable ones; this method keeps you focused on one goal for the week not some daunting list. The approach is one step at a time and it is based on achievement, and it takes minimal planning. I also would start with those goals you can achieve, don’t set yourself up for failure, as you begin achieving some of your initial goals, you can make them more challenging, but you must first embrace the mindset that you can change and this takes time.