I think one of the most challenging aspects of being surrounded by advertising and individuals (virtual or real) focused on “new starts” and resolutions is NOT getting caught up in feeling like what everyone ELSE is doing is right for you.
Amidst the noise of everyone else working on themselves and their goals, how do we stay in our own lane?
Social media is PARTICULARLY problematic for remaining focused on ourselves.
You go on there for a few minutes, “just to check” and 45 minutes later your watching some stranger sort through her sock draw in Des Moines because HER resolution is to de-clutter her home and while a totally worthy goal, you realize that you’ve been sucked into valuing and prioritizing everyone else goals while ALSO wasting your own precious time.
I think we would all be hard-pressed to find a goal or resolution that someone we know is working on right now that has no value, isn’t a good change, wouldn’t positively impact us….but would it be the MOST impactful change for us?
Is it where WE need to put OUR energy right now?
Lots of people are doing amazing things in the world and with time, discipline, persistence and patience we can accomplish our own versions of all of them, but when it comes to devoting time and energy to improving ourselves, it’s all about triage.
We have to work on something, but WHAT is most important? What needs our attention now and what areas of change should we work on because they have the GREATEST potential to effect all of the other things?
There’s no getting around it, there is work for you to do in 2019.
It might be physical work? It could be spiritual, emotional. It could be on yourself, at our job, in a relationship with someone else.
But you can bet your bottom dollar, there’s work for you to do in the next 12 months.
I’m somebody that believes that the sooner one reconciles herself to the idea that life is supposed to be MOSTLY about hard work and educating oneself, the happier one will be.
If you’re not moving TOWARDS improvement, then you’re most likely incrementally sliding backwards.
Now that doesn’t mean that we have to be slaving away, striving ALL of the time.
We need to rest, take breaks, be selective about what sorts of work we do, ALL things that I’m working on right now, but we also have to accept that life is a LOT of work.
Since the dawn of time it has ALWAYS been work to stay alive and hopefully thrive as human beings, and it still is, the work just looks a little different for everyone depending on your unique life.
But what work?
This is the hard part and I truly believe that the ONLY way to figure it out is a three step process.
Mute the noise. Stop looking around at what everyone is telling you that THEY are working on or what everyone is suggesting that YOU need to work on. I’m not saying that every person that is offering you an opportunity to take a class with them, join a gym, hire a coach, register for their program is WRONG, just that if you are feeling pulled in MULTIPLE directions and are feeling tempted to improve in ALL OF the areas at once, then block all of these things for now.
Get inside your own head and body. Not sure what changes you need to make, spend 1-2 weeks journaling daily about how you feel. Are you routinely tired, tired, sluggish, hungry, experiencing cravings, bloated, overwhelmed, frustrated, sad, happy, jealous, bored, stressed, distracted, too busy? See what recurring feelings and sensations come up over the course of 2 weeks.
Choose the struggle you know is MOST important for you right now.
Pick the one that is either easiest for you to begin to tackle in the next month OR the struggle that when addressed will most likely positively impact or even eliminate the others. As for how to solve it, start with the MOST obvious solution and then go from there.
For example,if you’re chronically tired, don’t even think about what everyone else is doing, you have to tackle that one FIRST, otherwise you won’t have any energy to do anything but just barely survive. Make a list of what is shown to be out effective for resolving issues of exhaustion:
1. Get blood work done by your doctor.
2. Sleep 8-9 hours a night EVERY NIGHT, roughly during the same windows of time.
3. Take magnesium (everyone is deficient, if you’re not taking it, you need it) to help you sleep soundly and calm your mind.
4. Move daily for at least 30 minutes and or exercise 3-4 days a week for 30 minutes (preferably strength training) this will balance hormones, help you sleep more soundly, and increase Vitamin D production if you can do get some of your movement OUTSIDE, even in cold weather.
5. Eat protein at every meal 80-100 grams per day in total and 100 grams of fiber-rich (non-sugary/starchy) cabs daily, vegetables twice a day too!
You may even be pleasantly surprised at how working on this one area can positively impact the other struggles you're having!
Whatever you decide are the biggest most impactful "rocks" in your life, the areas where you should devote some awareness and work in order to improve, wherever you put your energy and your time, that is where you will results.
If you devote lots of time to looking at what everyone is doing, you WILL get results, it's just that your results may be changes that don't make a difference for you, OR your results may just be all of the time spent looking around at others and not looking IN and working ON at what is best for you.
Many of us are looking or external validation and so we search and scan for answers from the crowd, "TELL ME WHAT TO DO??!!!"
But as someone that has spent time working on goals that I ultimately realized were not right for me and my life, not the big rocks, not the most impactful areas, I can tell you truly, there is work for you to do, but your particular work is unique to you.
Stay in your own lane.
Work on what YOU need to work on.
Make the changes that are MOST likely to make your life better!!!
Oh and it's 100% ok to take your time.
I mean, take that list I gave you above for helping you feel less tired, that's potentially 5 months worth of work right there, but if you REALLY devoted 5 months to all of those steps, you would feel like a different person and will most likely have cultivated habits that stick around longterm and will grow into other positive habits too!!
Sarah Smith is a personal trainer, level two Russian Kettlebell Instructor, postnatal fitness specialist and pelvic floor and gut health advocate with a Masters in Agricultural Science.
She works online and in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Sarah specializes in helping women online and in-person feel strong, confident and capable in their bodies!
She is a mom to three boys and one English Bulldog. She loves soil, coffee and not folding laundry. Come follow her on Instagram or Facebook.