Monday, July 01, 2013
Although every single day is a new start, there is something special about the first day of the month. It is a chance to see the blank canvas ahead of you and plan out strategies to make the most of the next 30 days or so. It is a manageable bite of time; not so long that you'll be weary of it by the time it is over, but just long enough for you to accomplish a tough goal if you really sink your teeth into it.
This year I have developed a motivation system that is working well for me. At the first of the year I printed out a calendar, one month on each 8.5x11 sheet of paper. I taped them on the wall of my office opposite my desk, where I see them every day. I made an arrow out of a post-it note and wrote "You Are Here" on the arrow. It travels from day to day, reminding me that each day brings me closer to the end of another year, and each day is a day I will never see again, so I should make the most of it. I chose 3 elements to track each day and chose a different colored pencil to mark them. Blue for the days I manage to go to the gym, green for the days I do exercise other than at the gym, and purple for the days I am successful in healthful eating. When the day is over I assess which of these 3 elements I accomplished and color in the square for that day accordingly. Then I move the arrow to the next day.
I also chose a different goal for each month and wrote that goal on the calendar. If, at the end of the month, I reach the goal, I write "I reached my goal!" on a post-it note and stick it on that month.
I can see at a glance how I am doing so far this year at any one of these 3 elements. I am motivated by seeing those squares fill up with color. Visualizing things such as the year being half over as of today, makes me feel like moving my butt a little more intensely from here going forward. I also see that I really need to work on eating healthfully, as there is very little purple on my calendar so far. I realize that all of these elements can be easily tracked on Spark People, and that may be enough for some. I've found that I need to see the whole picture at a glance, and I really benefit from having the calendar "in my face" every day.
My point is to encourage you to seek something that motivates you and establish it firmly in your daily routine. I feel like previous years have passed in a fog and at the end of each year I was no closer to reaching my goals, but I didn't really know why. This year I can easily remember, for instance, that I was very sick in March and didn't work out for 3 weeks. I can also look at the month of May and be proud to see that I worked out every single day and completed my goal for that month. It motivates me to move forward and reach higher.
Community support is a wonderful thing and we are so much better off for being a part of the Spark People community. But we also need to find motivation from within, and find ways to express that motivation so it can work for us in our every day lives.
Happy First Day of July!