Eeks, is it that time of the year again! I spend the last few days of a year looking at my previous goals and evaluating where I have been successful or not. Sadly, some goals are carried over from year to year and I look forward to the day when I will finally be able to strike these off.
Seeing the same goals in an annual list is an insight itself into how we operate as individuals. Applying some thought into how and why this happens has been an eye opener for me. I have always prided myself on being able to embrace change but, as it happens, not when it comes to lifelong habits, such as sugar addiction.
The behaviour involved, I have discovered, is down to how I embrace change. I find that change which involves eliminating daily habits are ones that are much harder to combat.
Put simply, I am sick to death of repeating the same old habits which, really, aren’t good for me but all is not lost. I remain the eternal optimist.
Methods to break bad habits
- Extreme Pain: You reach a breaking point that is big enough to cause you to push through the cycle of the old habit. For example, losing a job which you weren’t enjoying may lead you to looking elsewhere for what really interests you. Let’s face it, many of us become comfortable in ‘safe’ jobs which we don’t enjoy and complain about but lack the courage to branch out.
- Introspective honesty: There is a part of you that doesn’t want to change. Despite your protestations, you are comfortable with your habits because it acts as a safety blanket. You receive a benefit from doing what you do, even if it’s a negative benefit. You can see your resistance to letting it to. Once you attain this level of self-honesty, you can choose to change or stay where you are. Whatever decision you make is an informed choice.
Armed with the tools to break bad habits, you can look at your current goal list with fresh eyes. Don’t carry over what you are comfortable with and draw up new goals instead.
I start off by identifying what I really want. I use Blue Sky thinking without letting practicalities and limitations affect my ‘wish list’. In the second stage, I narrow this down and my decisions are shaped by my skills, talents and interests. I am mindful of cost implications (travel) and practicalities (working from the Bahamas isn’t a realistic prospect).
But that is not to say that narrowing my wish list down equals the dumbing down of my dreams. On the contrary, being fully aware of my dreams helps with this process. As an example, I have an ambition to become a published author so my goal for 2023 is to find a literary agent. Recognizing that I need a literary agent is the practical aspect to becoming a published author. While my overall dream is to see my book in print form, the chances of doing this without a literary agent are low.
Have you drawn up your goal list yet for 2023? Remember that we may be over 45 years old but our best years could still be ahead of us. Never give up dreaming and trying.
Is there something that you want, dream of, but decided at some point that you couldn’t have it? Having spent half a life putting your own desires aside for the sake of family or financial necessity NOW could be the time to go after it. When you do your Blue Sky thinking, circle any desires that you feel a strong emotional reaction to when you think about them. It could be the gateway to a brighter 2023 for you.