Hold Yourself Accountable
Hi, everyone, and happy new year! I can't believe we made it through 2020--what a year! I want us to start 2021 by holding ourselves accountable for our actions; that's the only way we'll be able to stick to our goals and change our lifestyle permanently. Replacing old habits was just the start; now, let's put all those new habits, goals, and dreams into action by making them a reality! A better life starts and ends with you. You have the power to make those choices that will impact the rest of your life. Change starts today! Are you ready? Because I'm so freaking excited!
A way I hold myself accountable for reaching my goals is by using a daily planner. I'm a full-time freelancer, so it is crucial to be as organized as possible for me. When you're "your own boss," it is very easy to slack and procrastinate because, well, you make your schedule. I hold myself accountable not only by creating a to-do list but also by accounting for my time and keeping a plan of what I am doing and how long. I have found this super helpful. On days I feel I didn't accomplish much, I can always go back and check out precisely what I was doing on that specific day. This also helps me prepare for a more productive tomorrow. If you have a regular 9-5 job, maybe a daily planner is too much for you; go for a weekly planner to balance your work life and personal goals outside of work. If you already have a planner, then you're in good shape! Here's a free daily and weekly printable to get you started for those of you that don't.
These printable will hold you over until you get your personal planner/agenda. Choosing the right planner is also very important; think about it--you'll be spending 365 days with this little book-- writing in it, achieving milestones, and becoming a better version of yourself. This planner should inspire you to want to write in it every day. Before I chose my planner, I always look through the pages and see if I like the layout and how things are spaced out; that's always number one for me. It should be a piece of paper with useful information, aligned with my goals. Lastly, I look at the cover, but the surface is not a deal-breaker; if I don't like it, I can always change it by adding cuttings in the front-- I almost always do that anyway. The important thing when selecting a planner is the inside layout.
Don't judge a book by it's cover
Now that we have our days and weeks in order, it's time to know why we're doing things. Define why you do what you do each day. Integrate your values with your goals. What do you value? What do you care about? Sit and honestly think of this-- ask yourself what matters to you. I had to linger with this thought for a few weeks. At first, the usual came up, I said to myself, "I care about being successful," "I care about being my own boss," "I care about being financially independent and traveling the world." But the more I thought about what "I cared about," the more I noticed that was the superficial answer--- It was not what I valued.
To find out what I truly valued, I had to ask myself a series of questions. I did this while walking my dog, which was perfect since I was in motion and was not expecting an "outcome" or "answer." I asked myself, "do I care about money," and the answer was no, not really. I want to be financially independent and have more than enough to cover everything I want in life, but I don't value money. "Do I care about being liked"? That was a tricky one; I mean, who doesn't want a million likes on their Instagram page?? That question was a breakthrough for me. When I thought about what I truly valued, I discovered it wasn't the likes on Instagram. It was being honest and transparent. Showing traveling through my experiences without sugar coding it or making everything look "Insta perfect." I want people to feel they're there when reading my post or looking at my photos/videos. I value honesty.
I am aware that Instagram can be a very superficial platform. Before I post a photo, I usually know how it's going to perform. The ones with the epic landscape, a subject, pop of color, and generally larger than life imagery are the hits. The ones of "reality" are not. People want to escape reality, and I get it. But, for me, I need a balance of both; if not, it seems fake. So, I value honesty, the truth, and loyalty.
Now, there was no way I would have come up with that without backtracking and asking myself why I valued what I valued. I discovered something I didn't know about myself, and I can say that it has helped me a lot. Integrating my values with my goals gave me a personal mission statement, and every time I need a little push or pick-me-up, I remind myself why I am doing what I am doing. That keeps me going.
Set big/small goals and have a deadline
Your big goals would be your dream board, and your small goals are how and what you need to do to get there. Think about it as going up a flight of stairs; your "big goal" is to reach the top, your "small goal" is to go up one step at a time. What is the first thing you need to do, and so on. It is also beneficial setting deadlines to those small goals and having a plan on how you're going to deal with and do when the "unexpected" happens, because hey-- it's life. How will you deal with obstacles, and how will you get back on track?
Have deadlines of when you expect to do something by and be realistic while setting those dates. You want to challenge yourself, but you also want to make sure the goals you set are attainable. Here's an example:
Big Goal " Run my first marathon" by Nov.7th
Small Goals "Start a 16- week training program, 16 weeks before the marathon". Those 16 weeks of training are filled with small goals to help you achieve your big goal.
If you meet your goals, reward yourself! It's a way of acknowledging an accomplishment. Set what your reward will be ahead of time, so you have the motivation to keep going and push yourself. A glass of wine, your favorite candy bar, a cheat meal that you're allowed to have once a week if you eat healthy the rest of the week. Anything you love, to create the habit of working hard to achieve something and not instant but delayed gratification that came from doing the right thing and holding yourself accountable.
New habits for January
Schedule your days and hold yourself accountable for meeting your daily goals.
Thanks for reading, and start planning!