I jumped right into the meatiness of this topic in Part 1, but by doing so, I got a bit ahead of myself. Before you look at making changes and creating a SMART goal for yourself to increase the chances of successfully meeting your goal, first you want to see what you already have on your plate! Is your plate already so full that the food is falling off the edges (like at Thanksgiving)? Is there anything to which you can say, “No thank you”? Are you wanting to keep everything that is already on your plate and add more? Are you (perchance) attempting to bite off more than you can chew?
If your plate is full and you then add something else to it, what might happen? Does food begin to drop off the edges? Hmmmm. Does this sound like a plan destined to fail in some way? Perhaps you will be successful with your new goal, but chances are that something else is going to fall off your plate. Or, you manage to keep everything on your plate, but you wonder why you’re not having much success with your new goal.
It is just too much! Call a halt! Stop! You don’t want to neglect yourself, your loved ones, your work or some other part of your life that is important because you are attempting to cram too much into too small a space! How can you come back to some balance?
Stopping. Stepping back. Assessing. “OK, exactly what is it that I have on my plate?” It may have been awhile since you really looked. Sometimes life can feel like it’s going faster than we can keep up. That is when it is most important to do what is counterintuitive and stop. Just stop. The urgency of it all is causing you to think you can’t, but you can indeed and must find a way to stop. Then take a few slow, deep breaths. Now look at your plate. Not with judgment or harshness or criticism. Just with neutrality and curiosity. Like you are looking at it for the first time. “Hmmm. How interesting. I have three rolls, a huge piece of steak, no veggies, a tiny serving of fruit and two desserts. Hmmm. Isn’t that interesting?” Not, “Oh my gosh! My nutrition has gone down the toilet, and there’s no hope for me!” That is not the kind of gentle assessing I’m talking about. You are observing your plate (like a scientist studying something) so you can see what is what, what you have plenty of, what you might want more of, and what you could do without, perhaps to make room for something more!
All of this is really a way of stopping to appreciate all that you do. It’s recognizing that you probably take care of and accomplish more that you give yourself credit for. I’ll bet that, in some way, somehow, you are taking yourself for granted. We don’t like it when other people take us for granted, do we? But look at that; we’re guilty of the same thing! Instead of taking yourself for granted, try this out. Step 1. Write down every single thing you accomplished today. If you are really diligent about recording what you did, you will have a much longer list than you thought you would have. Yes, making the bed counts. Doing the dishes counts. Running an errand counts. Completing the paperwork counts. Feeding the dog counts. Going for a walk around the block counts. It ALL counts. Write it all down. Step 2. Give yourself a pat on the back or a high-five or a “Way to go!” for all that you did do today. Right now is not the time to be concerned with what you thought you “should have” done or what you didn’t do. Keep your focus on all that you did do. Because you did a lot. And you deserve credit and appreciation. So give yourself some!
From this place of appreciation, you are in a much better position to make good decisions and see if there is any room at all for something new. Without first assessing how things are now and giving credit where credit is due, it becomes very difficult to make changes, much less to feel motivated to make changes!
Give yourself those gifts: 1)stopping, 2)assessing, 3)appreciating. By doing so, you are more prepared to move forward into the possibility of change.