We used 'running a marathon' as our example for last week so this week we'll look at another type of goal. I know so many people who wanted to 'learn something new' as part of their resolution list. It’s an admirable goal! Keeping our brain active has huge benefits for our mind, body and soul.
So where do we start? Let’s ask ourselves those all important questions:
1. Why am I doing this?
2. When am I doing this?
Why we want to learn a new skill is more often than not a very personal choice. I’m going to Italy this year so learning to speak a few sentences of Italian would be highly beneficial. Learning a new skill may compliment your business, or set you up with a new business venture.
When you want to learn your new skill will depend on the learning provider. If it’s through a local college then courses normally start in January or September. Distance learning courses can begin at any time.
Our third question; what do I need to do to achieve success? can be easily accomplished if you have chosen a specific course/place. For example; if you have chosen to learn creative writing at your local college, half the work has been done for you. All you have to do is turn up to class every week and complete the writing exercises!
Sometimes this is easier said than done. If you do enrol on a community course then it’s important to write each of the class dates in your diary or on the calendar. You may prefer to set a reminder on your phone. Commit yourself 100% to taking this course. Illness or bad weather may thwart you on occasion but if the intention is there then you’ll return the following week.
Actively leaving the house to attend a weekly class takes away all the stress of setting a weekly intention. You booked the course, paid the fee – now turn up and enjoy yourself. Telling your friends or family just how important the class is to you will help keep you focused and give you that precious 2 hours a week for yourself. You many need a babysitter or help with transport – people are very willing to help out so just ask.
What if you’ve chosen a distance learning course? You can learn something new while sat in your pyjamas! Of course, this may be heaven for some people, but for others it’s a minefield of self-motivation and abandoned dreams.
The way around this pitfall is to treat an online course in exactly the same way you would with a community college course. Assign a day/night/two-hour slot per week and block it out of your diary. By writing it down, you are more likely to commit. It also allows you to tell your friends and family that you are busy if they invite you for coffee.
Thinking about your goals weekly will help to keep them at the forefront of your mind. My weight watchers group meet every Wednesday lunchtime. The same people show up week after week because we have committed to this date/time. We support each other, and it has become a valuable part of my week. My mum has been at goal weight for three years, but she still attends the meetings – why? Because it keeps her motivated to maintain her goal.
If you have several challenges on the go then you may find it helpful to use a ‘Weekly Intention List’ (I do love my lists!). You can split your weekly action points into sections such as Personal, Business, Kids, and Money, etc..
Here is my personal list:
· Book an acupuncture appointment for February
· Buy my brother’s birthday present before 31st January
Here is my business list:
· Complete the next chapter of my WIP non-fiction book by end of February
· Go over my vision board presentation schedule for next week’s workshop
· Write the next five blog posts
· Email self-help author re a guest post/interview
These are my ‘Weekly Intentions’. If I was hand writing this list, I may use a green, orange and red pen so that at a glance I could see the priorities. For example; if I wrote my list on a Sunday evening and my vision board workshop was on Monday evening, then this would be my top priority.
My advice, when writing your weekly intentions, is to keep it simple. Don’t use it as a to-do list. My to-do list of all the jobs I need to complete (home, work, kids, writing, business, social media, and leisure) covers two A4 sides! If this were my weekly list, I’d be deep breathing into a paper bag by now! I transfer the items I need to do in that week and include an action point that drives my goal forward.
Looking at my weekly intention list above, you will see that I added ‘complete the next chapter of my WIP’. This item will help me achieve my 2015 goal of completing my second non-fiction book ready for editing before October.
Remember that the weekly intentions are there to help drive your goals and they can be used on their own or together with your daily practice.
Next week we will look at developing a ‘Monthly Care Plan’.
Do you have a way to boost your motivation from week-to-week?
Photograph 'Schedule in an Organizer' is by Stuart Miles (freedigitalphotos.net)