Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 13 January 2022
Welcome to the first Community Coach blog of 2022. Another year working in this role with restrictions still hanging around us, but another year of opportunity for me to work alongside you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill.
I know this blog is coming out almost 2 weeks in to the new year, but how are you feeling as we enter 2022? Is it still “same old same old” as far as you’re concerned? Same stuff just another day? Or are you looking to make a positive change this year however small that may be?
If we’re to believe the hype, moving into a new year is a the time of reinventing yourself and living by mantras such as “new year, new me.” You may have set some new years resolutions or made a conscious move to do something new or stop doing something. You might choose to get fit(ter) or healthier? You might choose to take up something new or to give up something that isn’t doing you any good.
But what if, instead of completely changing our ways and trying to be someone we aren’t and possibly won’t ever be – which quite often ends in failure – we simply rebuild the foundations within us that may have lost their strength a little bit recently?
All these things that tell us that we should suddenly live a completely new (and demanding) lifestyle the minute the clock strikes midnight on Hogmanay are not sustainable for our mental health. Neither is setting long-term goals without any structure or progress markers. You want to get fitter but how, by when, and to what extent? Getting fitter could be anywhere from going for a short walk a couple of times a week to running a marathon. You need a structure and you need points to celebrate along the way.
I don’t know about you, but my social media timelines are full of ads for January fitness challenges: run this far for this charity this month; do so many miles for this charity; give this up this month. I’m not saying anything bad about the charities involved here, but if you’ve not engaged in physical activity like this before, this is probably one of the worst months to do so with the miserable weather and dark nights. This, I believe, is part of the reason why new years resolutions – especially those to do with fitness – are unsustainable and completely counter productive. Very quickly in the new year we reach a point of failure and if your mental health isn’t strong enough, you can easily be dragged down – potentially even to lower than you were before.
So, may I suggest that instead of completely reinventing ourselves, how about we just take small and trackable steps towards a new way that will bring benefit to us? The best way to do this is simply to slowly and consciously build new habits and routines into our life, and allow plenty of time to rest and recover too. This is more than about starting or stopping something. This is about you taking control of you.
The graphic below, courtesy of http://www.positivepsychology.com, shares some really helpful and important strategies to help you to reclaim your power in 2022. Stripping away the jargon here, what that really means is putting things in place that will make the most of all your communication, standards, and most importantly, your mental wellbeing.
Of course, just because we’ve come into a New Year doesn’t not necessarily mean that you have to change anything. It also isn’t the only time that you can make changes. Power and control of ourselves can drop at any given moment but crucially, you can reclaim it at any given time too. But sometimes, just the idea of a fresh beginning, whenever in the year that might be, can just give us the motivation we need to actually take action.
So if you want to make a change, however small, how can you do that? Simply, set some goals. That’s it! But make them specific and easily measured. Moving aside of the stereotypical healthy stuff, maybe you want to attend a new group. What kind of thing is that about? Where is it and how often will you go? Maybe you want to take on some new learning? What about? How will you do that – online or in person? What will that lead to? You see the thing I’m getting at here? For both of those things there are points you can celebrate. Signing up for the group or course – celebrate. Attending a first session or lesson – celebrate. Going back for the second part – celebrate. And so on. Reward yourself at each milestone and if you slip up, simply go back to the previous milestone and rebuild from there. That’s okay. And crucially, it’s not about starting right from the beginning again which can be so demoralising.
People much cleverer than me, tell me that when setting goals, the Greek Philosopher Aristotle believed that it doesn’t even matter if we achieve them or not. He believed that the active pursuit of a goal or virtue is the very definition of happiness, not the end state.
There is some debate about this statement as probably, most of us set goals that we want actually want to make happen and for that reason, motivation is critical which is where the milestone celebrations come back into play. As long as you know what you want, my advice is to set goals whenever you like. Set them the right way, by exploring your own powerful why, and make sure they speak to your values. According to the experts (people like you and me), that’s what matters most.
If you want to explore any of this further, or need some help in setting and being held accountable to your goals, then I’d love to walk this journey with you. Give me a shout and we’ll chat through your options so that I can help you to find your way to reach your potential in 2022.
Until next time….