What New Year’s Resolutions have you made? Have you kept them? It is all well and good starting another year with the best intentions but if they are not realistic goals you will not see them through and this disappointment will inhibit you from future efforts of self-improvement. Dreaming big is good, but also think about the small steps that will help you on your journey.
Break Your Goals Down
Steps in the culinary bastion that is The Wolesley in London, a must for any meal on your next visit
When I left university my goal was to be able to run a mile without being self-conscious. My first thirty minute run was torture, but that run became an hour and four years later I have qualified to represent Great Britain for my age group at the 2017 European Triathlon Championships.
Set that big goal whether it be ‘Next year I’m going for a job promotion’ or ‘In the Autumn I will run a half marathon’, then work out the steps you need to get you there. What skills do you need to develop to show you are ready for promotion? Will you need to sign up for an evening software course? Is it time you volunteered to lead a research project? If you want to run a half-marathon have you joined your local Park Run and have you signed up to a couple of 10K fun runs in the Spring and Summer to edge you towards longer races?
Gearing up towards self-improvement, when incremental, is then not so daunting.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Even when you take small steps to build yourself up you might lose your footing once or twice, and that’s fine. No one’s progress is linear and there is no one plan to success (here is the truth about overnight successes). If there was one formula for achieving goals then everyone would be superhuman. Finding your personal magic combination and facing adversity is what makes each little accomplishment so much more of a triumph. The only thing that is certain is if you give up then nothing will change.
In November’s blog ‘Characteristics You Need for Career and Sport Progression’ I mentioned that when my growth in marketing for what I thought was my dream company seemed to have halted and was causing anguish, I moved into a more marketing specific role in another industry I never thought I would enter. Since that move I have been able to identify a number of technical skills I need to acquire before advancing professionally. That is how I understood I needed InDesign training. I took the Beginners and Advanced course with Certitec which I highly rate for its depth and small class sizes. Since the course I have been able to not only work on required tasks at work faster but have also been able reduce company expenses by not outsourcing smaller design projects. No, I am not yet CMO, but I am also not retiring any time soon.
It hurt like hell cycling to Emosson Dam in the Alps but I took each turn as it came and could look down on where I had come from. Now other hills appear like bumps.
Keep At It
So previous attempts at accomplishing your goal did not work; look at why this was and try another way(s). You may not be getting there because one change, once, is not enough. Maybe you need to change a few things consistently to get things moving.
A number of my fellow triathletes, as well as myself, reach various plateaus at each of our disciplines. Sometimes we are not reducing our swim speed because although we are raising our stroke rate we are not executing each tiny part of the catch and pull in our stoke efficiently, or/and the we are turning too much when we breathe, or/and we rushed from the office to the pool so we are stressed, and we ran out of time to get a pre-training snack, oh and the we were out last night for drinks at work…You get the idea. Individually these little things do not necessarily make an enormous difference to performance but combined together over a long time they will make a significant impact.
Rather than overhauling your lifestyle it may be easier to adjust each thing individually or everything gradually. For me, ensuring I eat properly (consistently) after late night swim squad and getting more early nights will be a 2017 priority so I can recover for the next training training session. This means I will set either Sunday or Monday evening aside to stay in and prepare a balanced and portable meal I can have that evening and as well as for swim evenings. That should mean a good night’s sleep at the beginning of the week and two balanced meals prepared.
One such suitable recipe is this Nourishing Quinoa Bowl. Sweet potato is one of the best sources of beta carotene, the plant form of vitamin A, which is required for a healthy immune system. Athletes can especially benefit from the broccoli’s anti-oxidant vitamins C and E, its bone-building vitamin K and its iron content to help energy production. The beetroot acts as an anti-inflammatory following intense works whilst the chickpeas and quinoa provide protein for building tissues and muscles, fibre for colon health and preventing sugar spikes, manganese for bone development and wound healing.
Image source: http://www.simplyquinoa.com