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Daily Tip: If something “sometimes” works for you, give it a good three weeks before calling it quits or switching to something else. It may just be the difficulty of learning a new habit.
We’re getting towards the end of our challenge. That means it’s time to evaluate: what is working for you, and what isn’t?
In some ways, this is the hardest part. We all have the best of intentions when we set our goals. We want to improve our lives and want to do the “right” things. But…what if now is just not the time for those goals? Or what if we haven’t yet found the method that works best for us to achieve them?
We have to be honest with ourselves. If we’re not, we can end up putting something off and feeling like a “failure” when that really isn’t true. We need to look carefully at how our goals are going…and revamp or even remove if needed.
So how do we do that?
1. “Do I Find It Easy To Do Naturally?”
Is your goal or method becoming part of your routine fairly easily? Does it feel fairly natural to you, even if you occasionally forget since it’s new? Or is it a real hassle to you, something you debate whether or not you should do everyday before finally forcing yourself to do it? For example, I told myself several times I was going to hang my clothes on my clothes tree instead of laying them on my vanity. But I never developed the habit because it just didn’t work for me. In contrast, brewing kombucha is something I’ve done for almost three years now, so that method of improving my family’s health stuck with me. So be honest — does it feel natural to you? Or are you struggling?
2. “Is This Method Working?”
Maybe your goal is actually helping you a lot in the end…but you’re annoyed by the method. For example, perhaps you love having a meal plan, but you’re not liking the way you’re creating it. Find another way to accomplish the same end! There are many ways to do it and you can keep tweaking until it works for you.
3. “Is This Something I Really Want to Do?”
Sometimes you make a goal because you think you ‘should.’ That is, maybe you look in the mirror and think you need to dress better…or that you haven’t learned anything new in awhile so you need to take a class. Maybe your best friend has made a goal and begged you to join her so she’ll stick with it. But…is this really something that you want to do right now? Or do you have other priorities? It’s okay if it’s not the right goal for you. Be honest and abandon it if needed, or modify it. Maybe you do want to learn something new, but self-study is more your speed than taking a class. Or maybe you can still be a “check in” person for your best friend without actually making the same goal yourself. It’s okay — we can’t do everything.
4. “Is This Working for My Family?”
Even if the goal is working for you, is it working for your family? Some readers have mentioned that they want to hit the gym five days a week, but their small children cry the entire time they are in the gym’s childcare. Maybe the children will adapt in a week or two…but if they don’t, then what? Perhaps the gym isn’t the best way to get exercise at this time. Maybe a “Mommy and Me” DVD at home would be a better fit. Maybe going to the gym 2 – 3 nights a week when Daddy is home to watch the kids is a better fit. What is going to really work best with your family?
5. “Does This Work with My Routine?”
We all have limited time. We have to spend that limited time on things that are truly important — and we might not be able to do good things that just don’t fit. Some new things can be streamlined into our routines easily, and some can’t. For example, cooking a week’s worth of food on Sunday/Monday and putting it in the fridge or freezer works for us. Trying to cook “meals to go” throughout the week as they’re needed just doesn’t because we have other responsibilities and are always left scrambling. Think about how to make better use of your time if needed. Take your supplements all at once with breakfast or right before bed, whichever works better for you, instead of trying to remember at a time that doesn’t really fit your routine.
6. “Do I Have the Right Tools?”
Sometimes the goal is right and the method is right…but the tools aren’t. If you’re trying to clean your kitchen naturally and are constantly frustrated that you don’t have a spray bottle to mix a cleaning solution in, go buy one. If you’re trying to keep your kids’ toys organized by your current system never stays nice, find something else. (On the kids’ toys — we had one of those 12-box organizers that go in the wood structures. They just got dumped everyday. Now we have a small book shelf with 4 – 5 main toys and a box with a lid for each. It works much better.) If there’s one item that would just make your life easier, buy it. Are you trying to make bread daily, and a bread machine would help you achieve your goal? Or would a Pickl-It jar make it easier to start fermenting? Do you need better glass storage options for your leftovers? (ESP has some great options there!) Get yourself the tools you really need…even if they’re expensive or you keep telling yourself “I can live without those.” Make it easier.
7. “Is It Time for Something Else?”
If you are trying to do something that is just not working for you, and no amount of modification, better tools, etc. is going to change that — scrap it. If you want to learn to make milk kefir but you, well, really hate it…don’t. It doesn’t matter how many health benefits it has; if you don’t like it and don’t want to do it, you shouldn’t. It’s okay to abandon some of your goals. Maybe you’ve even just made too many goals, and don’t feel you have the time to devote to them all. Set some aside for three months or six months until you have more time. It’s okay!