Here are some things I’ve learned for how to give yourself grace and start again to accomplish your goals. These tips apply in so many different situations in life, from fitness goals to business goals to raising children. Think about these any time you just can’t find that motivation to begin again once you’ve stumbled.
1. Leave the past behind.
For some, it might be a motivational factor to be a little angry at yourself for failing. For others, that may have the opposite effect. Either way, it’s imperative that you don’t dwell on your mistakes. Think about what you want to accomplish today and work on steps to reach those goals.
2. Take that first, small step.
I knew that with several weeks of little physical activity under my belt, it would be unwise to jump into an intense workout program. So I started with one that takes only 25 minutes a day; it doesn’t make me so tired and sore that I can’t continue. And while it’s getting me back into shape, it’s also building a daily habit that will help me graduate to a more intense program in the future.
Think about how this same principle applies to other facets of life. Want to read a book a week? Start by trying to read a book in a month. Or start with a shorter book. Want to eat healthier? Instead of eating only salads every meal for a week, eat one salad a day, or replace dessert with an apple. Do something small that gets the momentum going in the right direction.
3. Find people who can help hold you accountable.
Having accountability is important all the time but especially when everyone is physically distant. It’s so easy to let yourself slip in areas of discipline when no one can see you. So it’s helpful to reach out to somebody close, share your struggles and your goals, and support each other in forming and sticking to new, good habits.
I know I didn’t start working out again until I said something to my community group about how I wanted to do it. I’d been thinking about it for weeks, but it wasn’t until I had someone encouraging me, offering to join me, and making me feel like I wasn’t alone, that I committed to doing it.
4. Take it one day at a time.
It only takes one day to start a new streak. You can’t work out 30 days in a row on a Monday. You can work out on that Monday and then again on Tuesday. But it can’t all happen at once. All it takes is a dedication to make today the day that you take a step in the right direction. It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday, and you can’t do anything about tomorrow yet; all you can do is make decisions for today.
So whatever it is that you want to start doing, don’t get lost in thoughts about how long it’s going to take or how difficult it might be, just think about what it will take to do it today.
These are weird times, and none of us know quite what we’re doing or how to do it. So forgive yourself for bad habits you may have started or mistakes you might’ve made in adjusting to your new normal, and look forward instead. A bright future begins with good decisions today.