Setting goals and resolutions are good but it takes so much more than lip service to keep them. You have to make a concrete and realistic plan and work out that plan every day. You also have to seriously commit to do things you actually DON’T want to do because change can appear scary and uncomfortable. It can be painful too. Now, once you actually start to make change happen, you have to maintain or improve that change for the rest of your life.
What are the things that if I do a little bit at a time, over a year I would have significant results, which means it's something small that I do daily, but the compound effect is amazing?
Hi, everyone, hope you all are doing okay. What am I settling into 2022?
A lot of times towards the end of the year, we all start to make plans and set goals and get seriously ambitious about what we want to accomplish in the next year. Your email is just blasting full of everybody who has a program; your WhatsApp groups are blasted; everybody has a recommendation for you on how to set your goals and how to be accountable and protected.
I'll be honest with you. This end of last year 2021, I got very overwhelmed by all the suggestions out there. It was just getting to be too much. Just too much!
As you get older, you're going to notice that this happens every single year, and you end up setting so many goals. By March, you realize you didn't even start most of them and you start to give up on the ones that you did start. Then summer comes and before you know what's happening, it's fall. Then it's Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and you do it all again. Yet you haven't lost any weight you gained; you haven't drank more water; you haven't finished that book; you haven't called your family, and you haven't made a commitment that you said you're gonna make.
So for me, I kind of just took a step back and said, "Look! What do I want? What is going to make me feel like a better version of myself at the end of 2022 that if I did consistently would make me proud and would make me happy, and would also do something for me?"
It's not just about achievements. Look, ya'll, I am like the achievement Queen. I know that about myself. So in terms of creating things, I'm the first in line. I want to create many things and do it and feel happy.
But what's really going to give me long lasting fulfillment? What do I really want to do consistently that at the end of 2022, not only would I have sustained and maintained those habits but that it will also be beneficial to me; not just as a checkmark, not just as saying, "I set up this webinar" or "I produce this product", or "I launch this and launch that" but also something that I can carry on for the rest of my life and would be beneficial to me.
I know that I can do it.
So then this kind of led me to that quote that says, "We overestimate what we can do in one day and underestimate what we can do in one year." So I mused on that quote. I really, really mused on that.
So okay, what are the things that if I do a little bit at a time, over a year, I would have significant results? It should be something small that I do daily but the compounding effect is, amazing. So I took out my list using the Wheel of Life as my guide. I kind of tailor the Wheel of Life to me. For me, it was my career as a physician, my family but I split "family" up into my children, my spouse, other close relatives, and then friends.
Then my health. I broke that up into nutrition and fitness. Then I looked at what I do for fun and recreation. So I broke everything down. And I said, "What can I do in each area that I would need to do every single day?"
You can't just be like this, "I'm going to try to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year." That's because when you make up so many goals, and all the different areas of your life that is just so huge, you know, it's all macro, with no plans for the micro, you're gonna lose steam in all the segments that you're trying to balance.
It has to be something that you can do every day. So that means it has to be smart. Invoking the Kaizen principle of small wins. So, in regards to my health, I said, "Let me focus this year on hydration. Let me set a goal to drink a certain amount of water every single day." And I have to do that, and I can do it.
I didn't even use metrics. I just said, I'm going to drink four bottles of water using my favorite hydro flask, which is orange in color, and I love that bottle. If I drank four of it, what would that be? It turns out that four of those measures up to about 64 ounces, just coincidentally, but I was gonna drink four of those. And it was manageable , doable , and I committed to that.
In regards to my fitness, you know, I always say I want to go to the gym but I don't go because of my schedule. It was just time constraints from my end. So I did a mapping of my time so that I could start using time blocks.
Truth be told, I would work from literally 7:30 in the morning to five o'clock in the afternoon. There's no wiggle room there, right? Sometimes plus or minus an hour for lunch, which a lot of times isn't happening in my neck of the woods. So 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM is gone for me.
7:00 in the morning is when I have to start getting ready for my commute. So that's gone for me. Then I realized, "What do I have any time after five? How many hours I want for sleeping? What time do I want to wake up?" I've been waking up at five o'clock in the morning and then I have to take care of my two kids. They wake up at 6:00 AM or 6:30 AM. That means from 6:30 AM to 7:00 AM, I'm getting them ready for school and I'm getting myself ready for work. That's that's what's happening at that time. And then from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, what will I do that time. So those are my available time blocks.
So going back to that, I'll have less for my nutrition and my fitness. Some people are happy to wake up at four o'clock or five in the morning, and work out. But don't forget, part of the rules is that this has to be done consistently. I have to be able to do it every day. So I said, "Well, based on what I have, what can I do every single day for five minutes?" Don't go to the hour because I don't have time. At 5:00 PM, I'm exhausted. My mind is gone. Now I want to come home, spend time with my children, help my daughter with homework and she needs a lot of extra help, then get ready for that. But then how do I spend meaningful time with myself and meaningful time with my family and still be able to have the adequate amount of sleep, and be able to still wake up and do certain things?
So I said, "You know what? I'm gonna do burpees!" The commitment is a minimum of five burpees every single day. If you don't know what burpees are, you do jumping jacks, then you fall into a push up, and then you kind of like sprint back up. I'm going to do five of those every single day, no questions asked. If I want to do more things on top of that, that's on me to choose and how I want to use my time, but I must do those five burpees.
Then I'm a huge personal development junkie. I love to muse. I love to meditate. I love to listen. I could do that forever. But there's no time to do that. So I said, "You know what? I'm going to sacrifice an hour of sleep." I know I can wake up at 5:00 in the morning and meditate, pray, reflect, read something, and let it slip in and just sink in. To me, the morning times are the best times for me to do that. So I said, "Okay, I'm gonna wake up and do this from 5:00 to 6:00 in the morning. I could have put "workout" into that but can I tell you, I'm not gonna do it. I know, I'm not gonna do it and I'm just setting myself up for failure. I'm just hoping that it would work. What I know that I like to do, I like to wake up, get my coffee or tea, and meditate or read, which sometimes ends up leading me into reflection. Those are the things that I love. And if I did that every day, I'll feel very fulfilled. I'll feel very strengthened within. So I picked that over waking up in the morning to do workout, at least for this year.
If you're tracking me now, I've got five to six - personal time for reflection, reading, self development, praying, meditating, getting my kids for school and myself for work. I work from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM and there's other things that happen in between, but literally, I'm committed to be at work at that time. So then, 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, that's my time. I've now five hours.
Okay, what will I do with these five hours? What's meaningful to me is getting home, actually eating dinner, and then spending time with my kids, following up with them - how their day was, what happened at school. Then they have activities, they have basketball, or they have swimming. So I take them to that, and then get them home, do homework.
And then I said, "What am I going to do with them every single night?" I know, everybody acts like they read to the kids on Sunday night, which I used to do with my daughter a lot. But once I had my son, it kind of didn't happen consistently. So I said, "You know what, we're going to consistently read together." A lot of times it ends up taking just like 5 to 10 minutes. So very doable. And if I have a bit more time, then I can read again. Because I am a personal development junkie, I want to listen to another podcast, I want to listen to another audio book, I want to meditate, I just can't get enough. So if I have time, I'll do that before I sleep.
But then I said, "Okay, what else can I now add for my mindfulness, my reflection at the end of the day?" I decided I would journal. So my timer goes up at 10 o'clock, it actually reminds me from six o'clock but by 10 o'clock, another last reminder comes up that I should journal. And I've been doing that and just recording.
In regards to my spouse, I said, "You know what, I'm going to schedule for us to go out once a week, alone." It could be to get coffee, get a sandwich. Once a week, we're gonna go out together alone. And we're going to schedule it because what gets scheduled gets done.
So I was forced to to be realistic, instead of setting all all these goals based on my desires. I do believe all things are possible. I believe we can achieve them. But what's sustainable was my guideline for this year.
What can be long lasting is going to actually be beneficial to me. It's not just striving to do something, but what's going to help me thrive, what's gonna be beneficial to me, in the long run. So, hydration, meditation, mindfulness, spending time with loved ones. I chose to do that for this year.
Of course, I'm sure I'm going to have projects here and there that I can do. But based on the priorities that I have set, I will have to make time for those. By mapping out my time, the way that I did, I know where to get time from, so to speak. I know what to get time from. So am I going to lose sleep and wake up at four to design projects? Am I going to insist that I take lunch during one hour lunch break? Am I going to give up part of my meditation time to go to another project? Am I going to look at my schedule and see where my kids don't have, basketball, swimming and that's going to be the day of the week that I scheduled meetings or to do other projects. But by knowing the true amount of time that's available to me, I know where the time is going to come from; what I am saying yes to during the year; what I am saying no to during the year. It just makes me feel so good and so centered - that I chose to do something for myself, for my immediate inner circle and that's not necessarily been motivated by just 'achievements'.
So I'm curious, how's it going for you?
All right. This is like, what halfway through January? Are you still planning? How's your goal setting and achievement going?
I'd love to invite you to just put that quote in mind of overestimating what we can do in a day and under estimating what we can do in a year.
When you have that in your mind's eye, it allows you to have that perspective, the grace, and the compassion for yourself. We all technically are superhuman, but within constraints because we all still are here on Earth. So have compassion for yourself when you're not making this so called huge strides. Know that you're just one person but you're doing little things that are having a compounding effect. And in the long run, you're going to get to the end of the year and realize that you've actually achieved some major goals. So I want to just kind of leave that with you.