Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Juggling all those good intentions

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At any given time, it's likely that there are numerous things we wish were better in our lives. Some require only small adjustments, some call for giant revolutions, but all require some sort of change. With all of these possibilities competing, how can we get the job done? 
Here are some tips I like for choosing how and what you juggle.

Image by dpadua


1. Know why you're challenging yourself.

I've decided my major focus is health. In my wheel of life exercise, I outlined why it is important to me, and what perfection looks like. I've also decided to focus on this because of a desire to train as a fitness instructor or facilitator, be generally healthy, and because there are many activities that can open up to me with the effort. Working towards a career in fitness is a large aim, with much personal significance attached to it. Because I know that improving my cardio is my first chosen step in this journey, I have a strong sense of why this target is important to me and the idea helps to keep me on course if the work gets tough.

2. Recognize the commitments involved.

As I mentioned in the layout of my SMART goal, I'll be aiming for 150 minutes of cardio per week. As it is now, I'm working out 3 times a week with a short running program. The switchover means that since my resistance training doesn't completely fit with the running into my lunch time, I need to break up my weights and dedicate other sessions to those left over. It also means that I will have to be aware of the energy required for the new program and ensure I sleep and eat well (loose goals in themselves).

Image by kojotomoto

I say this not to make it sound negative, but to be realistic and that's the point. Every goal is going to require a modification of behaviour and too many changes at once will be overwhelming.
 

3. Know that you can have more later.
I tend to be indecisive, but choice is key here. I may not be able to start the new workout program, rid my place of all clutter, and mount a show all in the same month. However, I may be able to achieve these targets by gradually changing how I budget my time and live my life. I need to choose my goals for now and recognize that I can build with others later. 

How often I can incorporate something new into my life will depend on how much effort it will take to work it in. Think it through and reassess before committing to 20 new goals all at once. For me, the trick to keeping that upward spiral going upward is to focus on one large goal and a few small ones, until they become natural. Then, with time, it makes sense to take on the next big thing. 

Leaving a little wiggle room or recognizing when you need to cut back is also a good idea. While we can decide some of the things we want to work on, life can also hand us surprises (like job loss, an unexpected guest, an illness, or a new opportunity) and we need to be able to manage our priorities and leave room for curveballs (and much deserved relaxation).

Photo by Valerie Everett

4. If possible, choose complementary goals.
Like I said, I'll focus on one large goal and a few small ones, if it feels manageable, until they become natural. Then I'll add on. For me, I intend to work on my 150 minutes (big thing) and I will make 2 giant healthy meals per week that I can use for leftovers for work. I had incorporated the meditation from my 30-day challenge into my life pretty well, but found reading to be more relaxing, so, for now, I'll keep that. My new 30-day challenge has been to think about other possible activities when considering whether or not to watch TV or internet content. 

The goals are reasonable to balance and complement each other, so that helps a lot. Watching less TV leaves more time for cooking, physical activities, etc., and eating better food gives me more energy for my workouts, and life in general. 


5. Set a date for assessment.
At the end of the month, I'll assess and see how I'm doing. I might then decide I need a new strategy for achieving what I want or I might be satisfied, comfortable, and ready to tackle a new goal. Whatever my next action, I'll keep in mind what I'm working on as I decide what to add next to the juggling act- onward and upwards.
 

How do you tackle multiple goals? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear new ideas.
As always, if you like what you read, remember to share, subscribe, or follow me on twitter.

Live well, Charlotte.

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