We all want success.
Whether we seek success in our careers, our finances, our interpersonal relationships, our health, or our ability to play quarters, I think we can safely say we don’t want to fail in reaching your goal.
(Okay, success in playing quarters may depend on your absolute goal rather than your ability to get the quarter into the glass.)
I’m feeling like a faker, a failure. I’ve tried a bunch of things this year (often blogging about them) only to find myself NOT following through. And while I’d love to say I’m not beating myself up about it, that’s exactly what I’m doing.
In so many areas, I haven’t reached my goals because I haven’t reset my habits. I’m boogieing down the road, but I’m not reaching a bunch of my chosen destinations. I won’t say I’m out of control exactly, but I’ve definitely veered off-track.
All the Little Failures of the Year
This year, I’ve kicked off a number of different little projects, only to have many of them drop by the wayside.
- I started a price book and kept it up for about 3 months. (this is about what I planned, but I didn’t keep it up even after I noted it was successful.)
- To help keep my grocery budget on track, I tried meal planning. That worked for 2 weeks, but once we finished the two weeks, we forgot about it.
- Because I was feeling like a couch potato, I deliberately increased the amount of steps I was getting each day to increase my level of activity. I stuck to the plan for about a month, modified the plan, and then let it all fall apart. Every time I made a little progress, I’d get derailed by work, a cold, or general lack of prioritization.
- I tried to write a post or two ahead on the blog. LOL, I only succeeded right before we went on vacation.
- Spurred on by Mrs. Groovy’s Positivity Challenge, I tried unplugging from the internet, at least during evenings. Then I tried unplugging from wasteful internet surfing. Nope, back to normal.
- I tried making a list of everything I needed to get done in a given week.I got everything done that one week, and then got scattered the next week.
- After telling you guys not to shop on Black Friday, I bought a pair of sneakers and 2 sweaters for myself on Black Friday. Yeah, it meant my mother-in-law’s birthday present went further, but darn it, I did what I told you guys not to do!
Now, that’s not to say I only had failures this year. I kept up our expense tracking, got our bills down to a sustainable but reasonable level, and kept blogging (if not blogging ahead.) My family relationships have stayed strong, and I’ve done more volunteering this year. So, why all the misses?
Finding the Reason
As I list all of these failures, I realized that so many of my goals concerned building new and better habits that would put me on track for more success.
I know I need changes, and that setting positive habits often leads to positive outcomes.
Evidently, I’m crap at setting new habits. Even once I realize that I was off-course, I had trouble making course corrections to reset them. And thanks to a couple of articles over at ChooseBetterLife.com, I may have figured out why I’ve struggled.
I fell victim to the “What the Hell” effect. Once my new, better habit was broken, I stopped trying. Why? Because….I’m not particularly self-motivated. Tell me something’s good for me and even though i know it’s good for me I won’t necessarily do it. If someone else is depending on me to do something, though, and I will get it done come hell or high water.
I’m an obiliger, according to the summary Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before. Evidently I will follow outward expectations but not inward ones. I don’t find it difficult to keep the family finances in check, work hard, or show up to volunteer commitments. However, I struggle with stepping away from the chocolate and getting off the couch.
I read these two articles and completely identified with both of these scenarios. Now what? How do I move forward from understanding to action?
Action Steps for Better Habits
To a large degree, I’ve tried to reset my habits by the equivalent of “Navigation by Approximation.” In other words, I just wing it.
But I’m pretty sure I’ll find success through accountability, and that means more planning and sharing.
I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers put their goals on their monthly roundups. Maybe I need to start doing some of that.
I also noticed that the to-do list helps tons, yet I haven’t used that powerful tool very often. Maybe the list can provide the external motivation I need.
So, I’ll start with those two items: A to do list for the month to help with prioritization and accountability, and an accountability section in my monthly roundup to start in January. (For December, I’ll just put my to-do list here.)
And maybe, for right now, I need to scale back and not try quite so many different things. I have tons of things I want to do in tons of different areas, but maybe I don’t need to tackle a huge decluttering project right this minute. Maybe I don’t need to do a formal meal plan THIS month. Let’s just stick to what I absolutely need to get done for myself, my family and a successful holiday that won’t completely derail the successes I have reached this year.
December’s To Do List
- Write 9 posts.
- Finish 1 class for blogging improvement.
- Work the social media plan.
- Finish all required classes.
- Put up Decorations.
- Send Christmas cards to family.
- Finish Christmas shopping.
- Wrap gifts.
- Cook Christmas treats for family members.
- Have fun.
- Do 2 fun things with Little Bit each week.
- Help Little Bit deliver her Girl Scout candy.
- Have one date with Jon.
- Take neighborhood walks 4 times per week.
- Continue expense tracking, budgeting, etc.
- Complete 5 “cleaning tasks” per week.
- Check To-Do List Progress Weekly and adjust behavior accordingly.
Course Correction Ahead: New Habits
Okay, that’s the plan: Get a list, limit the list (for now), work the list and check my course and correct regularly.
If i can establish this, maybe i can add a few more new habits to try. I have several areas to develop, particularly on the health and productivity fronts. But I’ve found myself vowing to do a bunch of new things only to drop them, and we’ll see if this more limited, task based approach works better than infinite good intentions.
Wish me luck!
How have you reacted when your intentions don’t match your behavior? What approaches work best for you?