• Catherine Steele

4 Steps to Reignite Your 2019 Goals This Spring

Snowdrops in leaf debris

It's only mid February and we're on it feels like we're on the cusp of Spring - my favourite season of all. The first glimpse of a delicate Snowdrop sprouting through the rotten debris of last year's fallen leaves, fills me with hope and optimism. They are amongst the strongest of flowers, daring to bloom well before the threat of frost and/or snow has disappeared. Though hardy by nature, they are simple, understated and fragile in appearance. They thrive and maintain their unique beauty in the most challenging of circumstances - exactly how I would describe many of us cancer survivors.

Just like the delicate Snowdrop, we've survived the long cold winter (though, admittedly this winter has been brief and mild, rather than long and cold) and are marching quickly towards brighter, longer days full of growth and new life.

If, like me, you set yourself some goals or intentions at the start of the year, how are you doing on these? Now is the perfect time to check your progress.

If you haven't set any goals yet, try reading my blog post from January "Overcoming the fear of goal setting"

If you've set goals but haven't made as much progress as you would like, you're not alone, nor have I! It's now time to ask yourself why you haven't progressed and take appropriate action so that you can realign your actions with what makes you happy and fulfilled.

The most common reasons for lack of progress are -

1. You're not as passionate about the goal as you were in January.

Goals that we set in January are made at a time where there is a global feeling of hope and resolve to improve our lives. It feels good as we get carried along with the tide of shared optimism, surrounded by others who are equally committed to making this year their best yet. By the second or third week in January, that communal warm and fluffy feeling is long gone and you have to turn to your internal drive and determination in order to succeed. If your goals are not driven from a deep sense of passion, then it is likely that you will veer off plan and fail to achieve your goals.

Now is the time to take a look at each of your goals and decide whether you have enough desire to achieve it. If a goal doesn't set your heart alight, maybe it's time to replace it with something that you are more passionate about or to drop it so as to allow more focus on your remaining goals.

2. You haven't had enough time.

Is this is really true? We all have essential tasks that absorb our time - work, tax returns, washing etc.., but what other non-essential activities are taking up your time? Are they as important as the goals you've set yourself? Do they bring you joy and happiness that is on a par with the feeling you get from working on your goal? If not, maybe it's time to either drop them or at least reduce the amount of time you're spending on them.

3. You don't have a plan.

You are far more likely to achieve a goal if you have a plan to work to. If you don't have a plan, now is the time to sit down and create a plan. It's no good creating a perfect plan that doesn't fit your lifestyle or individual circumstances. It must be realistic and you must believe in it.

4. You haven't taken the first step.

We've all heard the quote from Lao Tzu that "A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step", but equally important is and understanding that this first step is the hardest. Once you take it and your goal becomes that tiny bit closer, your mind becomes more confident of success and therefore more committed to the journey. If you're struggling to take this first step, a fantastic book on this subject is "Change One Thing" by Sue Hadfield.

So here's where I am... I started the year with five goals - pass my grade 1 piano exam, publish my book, run multiple 5k park runs, learn Spanish and climb Ben Nevis. I'm pretty much sticking to my plan on my learning goals, but I've done woeful job on the others. I haven't even run for a bus since Christmas, let alone started training for my 5k runs or Ben Nevis hike. I am still as passionate about both so it's tomorrow I'm going to take the first step. Care to join me?

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