You Are Your Own Goal-Keeper

Making goals at the beginning of the year is easy: you feel more optimistic and motivated to make a fresh start. Come of the end of January, however, a lot of us find ourselves falling off of the wagon. It takes about 21 days, or 3 weeks, to develop or kick a habit. If we haven’t set realistic goals for ourselves then it’s less likely we’re going to form new habits and stick with them. Plus, once the shine of the new year wears off, you begin to feel less motivated, especially here where the days are still short and shockingly cold.
I’m the last person to be talking about setting New Year’s resolutions, though. Every year I set the same goal of reading more (50-60 books/year) and even though I read a little bit more every year, I still find myself falling short. I’ve set myself goals on Goodreads. I’ve announced my goal to all of my friends (who generally think I’m crazy). I started a reading journal but seeing as I already journal I found the practice difficult to sustain. I even promised myself that I would try and read an hour every night beforehand, which works out great (not) because I’m not always great at having a set bedtime.
The reason I don’t make my goal every year is because it’s ill-defined; I rely on others and the formation of other habits I don’t already have in place to try and get what I want. I am not my own goal-keeper. If you’re not keeping your resolutions, you might not be your own goal-keeper either.
In life, you’ve got the opposing team (your competition and your enemies) and your team (family and friends). These are the people who will act as your defense and sometimes even participate in your offense. But you’re the only one that’s watching the goal.
Asking your defense to watch your goal means they have to take their eyes off of the offense, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Plus, each member of your team has their own goals to watch. They don’t have time to check your position.
Relying on a teammate you don’t have, or a piece of equipment that isn’t there doesn’t make sense either because you need to be able to fit those things into your game strategy now. If you think that you’ll get x just as soon as you get y then your goal is really about getting the y and not the x. (For example, I can’t read before bed if I don’t have a set bedtime. Then setting the bedtime becomes the goal, instead of reading beforehand.)
Well, no more. This year, I’m my own goal-keeper, responsible for my own goals. I’m doing this by being realistic and making my goal tangible: instead of setting a goal to read more (what is more?), I’m blocking off an hour every day on my calendar (when I know I’m awake) and dedicating it to reading. No excuses. No pretending. It’s there in black and white, so there’s no arguments and because it’s in my planner I’ve got no one to blame but myself if I miss a day.
Is it a perfect system? No. But can I keep up with it consistently? 90% of the time the answer is yes.
Right now, I’m kind of ok with those odds.
In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

5 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Still Make (and Keep!)

I’m the first person to admit that I have never had much success at making new year’s resolutions, but even so I firmly believe that there is no right time to kick an old habit, start something new or think about the things you can do to improve your life. Self-improvement (much like your professional development) is your own project and there are certain simple things that you can start doing today (yes, today!) that in the long-run can lead to a happier and healthier existence.

Here are a few of my suggestions on some of the things you can do right now (yes, right now!) to feel happier, more relaxed and confident in your abilities.

  1. Practice gratitude, or if that sounds corny, commit to practicing happiness. Every night while you’re lying awake in bed trying to fall asleep, think of three things that gave you joy during the day instead of fretting over the things you can’t control. Better still, write them in your journal.
  2. Drink more water. You drink less water in the wintertime which can contribute to feelings of sluggishness, inattentiveness and fatigue. Pour yourself a glass every time you have a coffee or tea and then marvel at how you can stay awake through a whole movie on Netflix.
  3. Smile more. If you start smiling every time you say hello, you’ll realize how much you don’t actually smile, which is sad because many people believe it’s actually good for you.
  4. Be okay with having a good cry once in awhile. We’re so focused on avoiding negative emotions that we forget that releasing them can actually feel good and dare I say it? Cathartic. Pretending you aren’t in a bad mood doesn’t make things easier so if you’re feeling it, let it out. Your reasons for feeling a certain way aren’t always reasonable but your emotions are there regardless and therefore still have validity. Embrace your melancholy, have a good cry, and then move on with your life.
  5. Stop being a flake. For some of you it may be hard to imagine a time when you couldn’t text someone last minute to bail on plans. During ye olden times if you ditched someone you’d be leaving them alone at a table in a restaurant or stranded at a bus stop. Friends don’t do that to friends right? Make a commitment to do something fun and do it. You may surprise yourself and actually have a good time.

What are some of the simple resolutions you’re trying to put in place this year? Tell us below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

Stop Talking About What You Need to Do

I normally love the holidays but personal circumstances left me feeling a little low this past season. I found myself getting irritated a lot more easily with the people around me and the tasks I had at hand. Like many people, I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed out until I realized, there was nothing left to do. I was all set for Christmas. The stress that I was feeling was coming from other people and I was taking it on as if it were my own.

In fact, when I think back to the month of December, every time I felt frustrated or panicky was when I was talking to my friends and family about all of the things that were on our to-do lists.

I love my friends and family, obviously, and I love helping them out but I realized that talking about all of the stuff that needed to get done wasn’t actually helping anyone out at all. Not only was I subconsciously taking on other people’s tasks as my own, but we weren’t even doing any of the things that we said we were going to do. We were just talking about it.

And sure, it feels good to talk things out and get a clear picture in your head of what needs to be done. Or maybe you find it helpful to get another opinion about your plan of attack. But the more we talked about what needed to be done, the more we talked about it, and the more we put it off. Strategies were formed, dissolved and discussed over and over again. It felt like we were being productive and we weren’t. We were wasting precious time and it was making us even more stressed out.

Even though I don’t make New Year’s resolutions (at least, ones that stick), this year I’m enforcing a new rule on my life: do the s#&! you say you’re going to do. Don’t talk about it; just do it. (Nike has been saying it for years, so it must be true, right?)

I mean, we can still talk. It’s good to check in with friends and family, or to ask for help, even if it’s just organizing your thoughts. But let’s multi-task, shall we? The more we get done, the less we’ll have to discuss, and then just maybe we can talk about something fun- or we could just brag about how 2019 is going to be the best year ever!

What are some of the things that you’ve been talking about forever that just never seem to get done? This is the year we’re going to do it! Tell us all about your plans below or email me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and let me know how it’s going.

I’m always looking for the best ways to manage my time and workflow more effectively and efficiently. If you’re looking for more ways to increase your productivity as well, click here for more strategies that I’ve developed and researched and here for more ways to stay organized. For more ways to deal with your busy lifestyle, click here.