Small goals can keep you motivated and growing

Are you finding your days blending into one another as we all practice self-isolation during this pandemic?

Working at home full time was exciting for the first few hours until the whole family started to work from home and we are all trying to find nooks and crannies in the house that we never used before …and before long each day seems to blend into another. Its hard to distinguish between a work day and a weekend and even work hours vs. home hours.

Some people thrive on external motivation such as a promotion or a reward like “Employee of the Month” and during this period of self isolation those external motivators are severely limited with most of us working from home or not working at all. Compounded with some of the “internal stress” of family members having to be in close quarters for unknown period of time, it can feel like a real lock down.

Here’s an idea that I have been trying off and on for the past several years that may be even more relevant now than it ever was before. With all the time we have now, whether it is the couple of hours that we are no longer commuting or the hours at home because we are no longer working or in school or able to volunteer – why not set yourself a tiny, small goal.

James Clear calls this “atomic” size, in his book “Atomic Habits” where he describes how we can create new habits by taking a habit and breaking it down into bite size pieces. For example if you want to stop drinking pop at every meal – you start with drinking only half the amount at each meal or instead of drinking pop seven days a week you only drink pop six days…essentially look for the smallest action you can take to move you towards your goal.

I am slightly pivoting off James’s idea…with the additional time most of us have in this period of ‘shelter in place’, why not try something new that you have always wanted to try but never did…here are some ideas:

Try a new way to move and get your heart rate up – I started getting back into jump rope and am trying to learn how to do criss-cross with a jump rope. This is me who has not used a jump rope since my childhood years and really never used it to do these kind of moves…or you can get even bolder and try a mini tight rope walk right in your backyard like this guy below…

Try your hand at tight rope walking in your backyard

Or how about trying to handstand? Most of you probably did this as kids with the same ease as walking or running. Well, I don’t have any of that flexibility and am trying to teach myself to handstand…definitely not on the edge of the mountain cliff right this guys below…

Gardening– why not get some seeds online or through your local garden store if they are still open and try growing some plants from seeds. I had this idea last fall to try to grow flowering vine plants and have a vision of flowering plants that are vines which are working through my chain link fence and covering them with blossoms. Growing these plants from seeds – something I had never done before – gave me more joy than I thought it would and when that first bloom showed up, it almost took my breath away….we even had a day when we had two blooms in one day. Can’t wait for frost free days so I can plant these outside.

Try something new in the kitchen – why not try a new recipe, whether you are an accomplished cook or neophyte, there are a plethora of recipes out there that use simple ingredients (at least prior to pandemic times) that could easily put a smile in your stomach and your face. Here are a couple of recipes our family loves…

  1. Cheesecake Brownies
  2. Classic Lemon Loaf Recipe

Pickup a new skill– how about learning to paint, to play an instrument (especially if you already have it in your house and has been collecting dust)…

The options are endless, one thing to keep in mind is to focus on the process – how are you feeling while you are doing it, versus the outcome. The outcome is nice when you can do a perfect handstand or have a delicious cheesecake brownie. I recommend you focus on the small goals of gaining strength in your upper body, or germinating a plan from seed – these little things, will help give focus, a sense of progress, and help the days have some definition. I don’t see myself being able to do a handstand anytime soon, but if I did that would be a great thrill for me…still I enjoy the practice of getting stronger and being able to lift even part of my body weight even if the rest is supported by a wall.

Have you tried something new this season?

Published by Priya Denton

I am a professional engineer, a wife, mother of two and discovering new meaning in life over the last few months. This blog is to share some of the learnings in my life journey in the hope that it will encourage and empower you.

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