Winter Blues Baby
Last time I checked it was March and the sun was beginning to set on another glorious summer. Then just as suddenly I was calculating how on earth I could get out of bed and to the gym in the morning without letting the cold air touch my skin.
Undeniably winter sucks. Sure, you can wear more scarves and cute boots but it can be pretty debilitating when you’re scared of getting out of the warmth of your own shower. What’s the one saving grace of living like a snowman? It’s good for the grind; progress, hustle, creation aka WERK. Why’s that? Because in the winter you can’t sit in the sun and sip a mojito, in fact you can’t do many of the otherwise pleasurable activities that are so seductive during the warmer months of the year. So you may as well be making your own magic.
Also, on a slightly evil note, all of the people living it up in Europe are focused on that; consumption x 1000. So while they’re spending their money, drinking calories and putting their dreams on hold you are slowly but surely chipping away at yours. You’re also not jolted by the inertia of coming BACK to hell frozen over/reality.
July serves as the perfect time to re-establish those earmarked goals or reset their parameters and make them closer to attainment by COB 31st December. Here’s some tips to help drag yourself through the frozen months of the year.
Check in with yourself. Be honest about where you are and where you want to be. If you haven’t made the progress you dreamt about then re evaluate and go back to the drawing board but be intently honest and direct with yourself. No progress is no progress.
Disable unrealistic expectation. Abandon romantic notions of explicit transformation in the next 6 months. It’s fine to have day dreams about learning to fly planes or moving to France to open a boutique cheese shop but when we’re talking about relatively short term goals it’s not realistic to spend precious energy wistfully hoping for something vague to occur. Either stick this on your vision goal for long term growth or be courageous enough to throw it away. Once you’ve made a decision you’ll know how you really feel about this certain goal; you’ll decide you want to pursue it relentlessly or it will fade into a distant memory. Remember that working out what you don’t want is just as important as working out what you do want.
Create a budget – I use the fact that I don’t gel well with numbers as a reason to evade budget writing, but it’s a pretty irresponsible approach to managing money, particularly because I still maintain grandiose ideals of having an abundance of wealth. When it comes to finances, ignorance is not bliss, because you can’t just expect to ‘grow’ more money without being mindful of what your income vs expenditure is. Since July brings the start of the new financial year it’s also a good right time to sort out your money matters. #EOFY
List your priorities. You don’t have to do anything with the list. Just writing down your goals, no matter how haphazardly will begin to put everything in perspective for you. Write down 2 business related, 2 health related and 2 personal goals for the short term and for 5 years time. Naturally your life will align around them. Revisit them every 3 months and evaluate using the suggestion above and commit to either abandon or pursue them.
Reward yourself for successes, even the small ones. Often we downplay or forget the progress we DO make in the effort to appear modest but all this does is perpetually stimulate a negative thought pattern and bullies us into thinking we’ve done nothing. Don’t undermine your successes. Own your successes, no matter how personal they may be; quitting eating banana chips, pining after your ex, become 4 times better at the guitar, gained 3 new clients, received a pay rise, been to the gym 30% more often than last year, written 75 pages of a novel…
Get comfy in your routine. Sound boring? Well that’s because it is.. but if you make all of those things that you HAVE to do everyday simple; going to the gym, getting to work, dressing, and having meals then you will actually be rewarded with extra time when those things become autonomous. It takes 3 weeks to create a habit, and that’s the obstacle to anything, but when it’s firmly in place you’ll spend less time stressing about: ‘OMG why am I so disorganised? I want to lose weight but haven’t been to the gym, where’s my lunch? Oh no I ate Oportos again, my hair is dirty, my clothes are unclean and I’m broke’ because it will all just happen. The beauty of this is that whilst you’re not anxious about boring things you can spend your time and energy in better places like thinking of business ideas, writing a book, learning to DJ or taking photography lessons. AMAZING.
Tweak the process – Making an error isn’t really just about missing the bus or over eating accidentally, it’s a build up of steps that result in getting to that point. Therefore doing something wrong is actually the cumulative effect of a bunch of smaller errors we cognitively allow. By tightening up boring things like routine and learning to be assertive you’ll less likely to fall prey to errors that throw your mental equilibrium out of whack and allow you to stay on track.