Setting yourself up for success

Setting yourself up for success

First of all, ask yourself what success means to you. I recently saw Brené Brown’s talk on Netlix (go watch it! She also has a great podcast on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations), where she speaks about her daughter being scared to take part in a swim race. She says something along the lines of:

winning is not coming first in the race, winning is finding the courage to simply get wet.

If we take away the immense pressure we put on ourselves, we might be able to actually commit to something. When we want to commit to something new, like a new goal or hobby, or stick to something like a workout schedule, let’s start with taking away the element of pressure. We won’t be able to do something every single day, we won’t be perfect at everything, we won’t feel like it all the time, and we won’t “win” without losing. Just because you’re not great at something doesn’t mean you’re going to quit all together, right? Because if you’re going to stop yourself before you even start… how will you ever discover your potential?!

So commit to doing the best you can at that certain moment - sometimes that means pushing yourself, but it can also mean skipping a day, being kind to yourself and just giving yourself space to be.

So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are some tips that will help you stick to your goals.

1. What’s your “Why”?

When you’ve committed to something new, say for example a new morning routine, a new workout, or adding in something like “meditating 5 minutes a day”, “learning a new language”, “working out 3 times a week”, “adding more veggies to your meals”,… whatever it is, ask yourself: “Why do I want to do this?”.

When you understand the purpose, and know what exactly what you want to get out of it, it will be easier to -in Niké’s words- just do it . For example, I personally like working out first thing in the morning. Why? I know I’ll feel great for the rest of the day, physically and mentally. I’ll have more energy, I’ll have time to do other stuff in the evening, I know I’ll make healthier choices the rest of the day. And, I’ve done it enough to know that when I don’t want to get out of bed, I usually still will because I know exactly why I’m doing it, and know how I’ll feel after it. I also know that when I really can’t get myself to do it, it usually means I need a break or I have to cut myself some slack and plan it in a little later.

Personally, I also think it’s better to have a “emotional why”, instead of a “visual why”. If you want to stick to a workout because you want a summer body, hey you do you… but I wouldn’t recommend focusing on that visual outcome alone and thinking that everything will be fixed as soon as you have that summer body. I recommend focusing on the emotional why, as in: I’ll feel healthier, the mental benefits are immense, I’ll feel more relaxed, I’ll feel more comfortable in my skin, It will feel great being able to run across the beach without immediately running out of breath, …

This works for all types of goals. For instance, I want to learn this language, not to boast to other people about how many languages I speak, but because: “I want to be able to read this book in the original language so I can really understand what the author meant”, or because “I want to understand my neighbor”, because “I’m going on a trip and want to be able to communicate with the locals”, … or even because “I want to train my brain and learning new things is super healthy and will make me feel better and keep my brain working hard”.

Dig a little deeper to find a good why, and believe me… sticking to something will get way easier! If you can’t find a good why… then maybe it’s time to let it go and find a new goal?

2. Plan

If you’re anything like me, you have an OG paper planner… I just love actually writing stuff down instead of using google calendar. However, how you keep track of your schedule doesn’t matter, what is important is that if you want to do something, and do it well… you’ve gotta schedule it in. Plan ahead and note it down like an actual meeting (with yourself).

If your schedule is pretty straightforward, good for you! You won’t have to switch it up too often. However, if it’s like mine and different every day, flexibility is key! I’m lucky if I know my schedule a few days in advance, then for my workouts, I’ll check my gym’s calendar, and see which day I could fit in a class. If nothing matches, I’ll go for a run or do a workout at home (I love trying new workouts on Youtube!). Even though planning is key, flexibility and being able to adapt your routine to your ever-changing schedule, and circumstances (weather, work, injuries, …) is the MAJOR KEY (Okurrr, DJ Khaled).

3. Find Joy

Most things aren’t 100% fun all the time. Often things are difficult and scary, and you don’t have a lot of time, and you’re dealing with other stuff. Still, see if you can find joy in whatever it is you are doing. And often, that joy can come from gratitude.

If you’re studying, or maybe learning a new language or you’re working on a new song or script, whatever it may be…. Simply thinking, “Okay, it’s sunny out and I’m stuck inside studying.. but hey, I have the opportunity to learn something new… I have the possibility to make time, I can afford to make time, afford this course, and sit comfortably while I’m studying… that’s amazing. And you know what, even though this specific topic isn't super interesting, I know it’ll contribute to my overall knowledge or that one thing that I am interested in so that’s great!”

During a run, for example, see if you can find joy in feeling the sun on your skin, spotting the birds in the trees and funny shapes in the clouds,… it might sound silly but it works!

Finding Joy and Gratitude… goes such a long way!

4. Be Kind

Be kind to yourself. Seems simple but we can get sucked into such negative self-talk. “I’m not good enough”, “I’m lazy”, “I suck”, “They’ll think I’m stupid”, “I’m too slow”, … STOP. Be your own best friend. And work on that self-talk. Let’s see if you can get to: “Hey gurl, today was A LOT. You did the best you could, you showed up and now it’s okay to take a little break.” or “Dude, I know that you’re amazing - you’ll probably feel better if you just do it, get it out of the way, and then after you’re done, why not take a nice long bath.” or “Yeah, today sucked, but tomorrow will be better.”

I recently came across this quote

“success without fulfillment is failure”

and though failure seems like a harsh word, I really like this quote. It kinda boils down to the “WHY” again. Why, how does it make you feel and if it’s not fulfilling you, it's okay to change course and set new ambitions, goals and dreams.