Saturday, 1 February 2014

On 14:46 by Victoria Stanham   No comments
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?

I did. A whole bunch. Listed them out neatly. All through the end of December I was adding a new mini goal to my list as they popped up into my consciousness:

·        Quit drinking Diet Coke
·        Meditate every morning and evening
·        Do Yoga every morning
·        Blog more regularly

The list went on for quite a bit.

It’s January 10th now. How many of those resolutions are still holding up?

I’m sad to say that only one of mine still floats, and that’s because it’s the only one for which I had a specific, detailed, actionable plan to follow daily AND I am highly motivated by it: I can see its value.
The rest? Well they sunk like the Titanic upon hitting the first motivational iceberg.

How familiar is this situation to you?

To me, it’s a yearly affair. A part of me was even smirking through December every time I wrote down another lofty goal on my diary. It said, “Here we go again! How long will this last you Vicky? I give it one day. Tops.” The other part of me stodgily kept on listing goals (it loves lists, get’s a high from them really) ignoring the snide comments of the voice inside her. “I’m really motivated this year”, it thought, “and I can totally see the value of installing these habits in my life.”

But was there a specific detailed plan to deal with motivational icebergs?

Let me first explain what a motivational iceberg is. The part of you that jots down goals and gets all psyched about the benefits that it will accrue from conquering them is NOT the part of you that will actually do the work. (I wrote about this multiple personality thing before). The planner is NOT the doer; and most of the time the doer is NOT psyched about the planner’s plans.

Why is the doer not happy with the planner’s plans?

Because the planner has left no instructions for following the plan when motivational icebergs appear. When all is nice and sunny, perhaps the doer is happy with the planner’s plans. But, soon enough, obstacles appear: you’re tired, motivation runs low, you just don’t feel like it, etc. These unforeseen obstacles could have easily been foreseen (I mean, they’re obvious most of them) and duly planned for.

What to do about it?

Firstly, you need to cut down on the number of your goals. Focusing on just ONE goal, ONE habit to install, will be easier to manage and plan for. It will also keep all your energy focused on one objective and not stretched out thin over too many, with the proven consequence that you end up not following through on any.

Secondlyplan around the motivational icebergs for your goal. What things will most likely derail you? How can you help yourself before you get to that point?

One of the best ways of doing this is arranging your external conditions so that they foster the doing of the thing, instead of the procrastinating on it. For example, if I had chosen the morning yoga habit, I would need to leave my yoga mat rolled out in the living room the night before, the space cleared, my computer with my favorite yoga video set to go on play, my yoga clothes neatly laid out by my bed so they are the first thing I see when I wake up, and my alarm clock set for a suitable hour. I would also need to go to bed earlier.

So think, how can you manipulate your environment so that it helps you instead of hinder you?

Thirdlyfind partners in crime, aka a group. This is paramount for hopping over motivational icebergs. It can be just only one other person whom you share your process with.

Fourthlyget the necessary info, aka find a teacher. It can be really frustrating if you’re trying to change something or do something new and you don’t have the necessary knowledge to make any real progress. Perhaps you’re working on alas! wrong information for your specific goal or case. If I had a lumbar hernia or stenosis or some other spinal disorder I would really need to work with a knowledgeable teacher before embarking on a yoga program. My teacher would be able to design a program for me that fits my goals and my conditions. And even better, I can return for regular lessons with her to gauge my progress, get new info, and correct any deviations from course that I’m sure to incur in if I am completely on my own.

Is correcting your posture one of your New Year’s goals?

Would you like it to be?

If the answer is yes, and you’ll be in Montevideo (Uruguay) in February, here’s an invitation for you.

I’ll be doing a series of 3 hour workshops on Posture, Propioception and Breathing to very small groups (just you and one or two of your friends).

If you’re interested, put your name and email address in the sign up box at the top-right corner of this blog, and you’ll be getting all the relevant info in the coming weeks.

If the answer is yes, and you're no where near Uruguay, you can try finding yourself a good Alexander Technique teacher. Check out The Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique for a plethora of resources to help you out on your quest.

See you next week.



Image credit: "Titanic Ship Sinking At Night" by Victor Habbick /


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