Why Can't I Stick to a Resolution? (+ dirty goal setting strategies)
Each January 1st, the beginning of each month, each Monday, and each morning, I set goals for myself, but consistently fail to achieve them. Why? Am I not trying hard enough? Are my goals not specific enough, or conversely, are they too specific? Is this not what I'm meant to be doing? Part of this blog's purpose is for you to learn from my failures and get yourself successful (in the most direct way possible). The format may change, but for now it is my story followed by how to do it for yourself better. Grab a paper + pen (or open your favorite note taking app) and let's get started.
A case for try harder - do better.
In the nursing world, we say "to err is human." Star Wars' Yoda reminds us that there is no try. Only an accomplishment or a failure, kind of like crafts on pinterest. Since the nursing world can not accept failure, as it would lead to harming, killing, maiming patients, we study quality improvement extensively at University and beyond. A fact of life is that you will not do better by simply trying harder. ooh, ouch. That hurts. But as quality improvement science shows, improved systems lead to improved results, not just the will to do better next time.
How it relates: I (+ you) can not just say "next month I am going to do it!" I do not care what the next instagram 30 day yoga challenge is, I am going to post a picture every single day in that pose. Day 1? POSTED!!! Ooh that felt good. See you tomorrow camera, it's a date! Day 2? POSTED!!! Might as well take tomorrows picture today too! Day 3? No yoga today, but I took a picture yesterday so POSTED! Going to get back on the mat tomorrow. Day 4? No yoga today. I'll do day 4 and 5 tomorrow. Day 5? Nope. Too far behind now, will start again next month. And the process has repeated for 6 months. One lady who was 1 month ahead of me on participating in yoga challenges went from totally sucking to being a full blown yoga instructor with an entire shift in perspective on life. PS. This pattern is not just evident in my life regarding yoga and instagram. Practicing lettering, calligraphy, composing shots, dressing preppy, keeping my polish on my nails, all suffer the same ill fate. And perhaps blogging, but I am "trying harder" on that one and putting a system in place so that I can not possibly fail.
Put a system in place
I could put a reminder in my phone, or have my mom call me everyday asking if I posted to instagram or hire an accountability partner! You've heard that if you set a goal in your mind you are not very likely to keep it, if you write it down your chances go up, and if you tell someone that you care about (or proclaim it to the internet world) chances go up even higher. Those are only external sources, where as real quality improvement comes from internal forces as well. Let's dig deeper.
Why do I need to stick my goal?
What does posting daily to instagram mean to me? I love beautiful things. To me the written word and photographs are beautiful; therefore, it makes sense for me to write something beautifully, compose a photo, and send it off. But I am also expecting something in return. It isn't enough to just make, I crave the like, favorite, share, comment, etc. Eventually I want to make a living on doing things that I love, from the comfort of my house. Even more than that I want to become good, expert even. Therefore, since success is measured in society's approval, I need to get good so that I can be accepted (Mazlow's hierarchy coming into play big time). You may full heartedly disagree with the previous statement. But this is my mind working it out; I just learned something new about myself. I really care what others think. I really don't want to "be a failure."
If the why is X, how else am I attaining X?
There are a lot of ways to get approval that do not require doing something that does not come naturally. Take the focus off of what posting to instagram does for others (gets them to approve of me) and see what posing + posting does for me. Deliberate practice and taking a photo every day shows that I am making progress. Practice makes progress. Screw perfection. Tweet that gem! Woah that was hard to say. I have been called a perfectionist my entire life until Junior year of University when I started learning to let go and be happier.
I can show deliberate practice in things that do come easier, such as ballet, writing, knowing weird body + disease trivia, than doing yoga. But it isn't the thing that is hard, it is the showing up everyday doing the same thing. I get bored.
How it relates: You need to show up every single day. Not just when it feels good.
What do you want to be known for? ________________________________ (answer the question) Go do that. Every day. Even when it feels bad. And put a system in place so that you can not physically not do the thing.
And if you want to hire me to call you every day and ask if you posted to instagram I can do that for you. I'm semi joking, semi not. Sign up for my newsletter to get weekly check ins on how things are going.
-Vera Lou Shaw