& just like that we are halfway through March, if you’re reading this when it goes out then you probably feel, a little like me, that Christmas was only 2 minutes ago! As the end of March gets closer so many of us will be thinking back the goals we set ourselves at the start of Q1. So today I wanted to write about how we can treat this reflection with kindness rather than self-criticism.
When I write about goals here I’m referring to any kind of intention you might have set yourself at the start of 2020 or the end of 2019. That could be in terms of business, career and side hustles. Or it could be something much simpler like perhaps you wanted to be more mindful this year or take up running, make more time for reading. Anything that you wanted to work on in Q1 of 2020 can be related to in this post.
PSST: Before we go on I’ll talk about goals as both goals and intentions. I love the word intention as a replacement for a goal. To me, it sounds kinder and less overwhelming but that might just be my odd way of thinking.
Choosing Kindness over Criticism
So, how many of you have already started looking back at the goals you set yourself at the start of the year? I can put my hand firmly in the air for this one. And how many of you immediately started feeling negative about the intentions or goals you may not have achieved? The human mind automatically focuses on the negatives as opposed to the positives, which is what I want to dive into this post. I could easily write about how we should just focus on all that we have achieved and ignore the negative feelings we have but that wouldn’t do any good. Instead, I want to talk about how we can approach those goals we may not have met with kindness as opposed to bashing ourselves down.
Some of the goals I had for Q1 include, launching a podcast, being more intentional with my time, reading more, starting to run again and being more mindful in general. Of course, I’ve smashed some of these goals but I definitely haven’t put as much effort into some as much as I should, especially running. The old me a year ago would’ve looked at the goals that I hadn’t met and started talking like this to herself:
- You’re not good enough
- How can you start a business when you have no self-discipline
- Perhaps its because you’re not pretty enough, that’s why you haven’t met your goals
- You never stick with anything
- You’re a failure
- You will never succeed
- People like you don’t start businesses or run marathons
You get the idea. I used to be so mean to myself constantly which drove my confidence into the ground. Don’t get me wrong I put on a good front but deep down I was constantly feeling inadequate about the human I was. It’s actually heartbreaking to think that this is how I viewed myself such a short time ago. But now I approach things like reflecting on my goals with kindness.
Asking Small Questions for Big Outcomes
There are 2 questions that I ask myself when it comes to reflecting back on my Q1 goals that I’d love to share with you guys. I hope that you take these exercises on and that they help you be more kind to yourself and quieten the inner critic inside.
Ask the question Does it Really Matter?
We often split the year into quarters because that’s what we are used to doing in the world of work right? Whether it’s a corporate role a nursing one we often break the year into quarters I mean it makes sense. But I want you to ask yourself if it really matters if that goal or intention isn’t locked down by the end of March? And ask yourself these questions when you do so.
- Do I still have a roof over my head?
- Am I still breathing?
- Can I still do my food shopping?
- Am I safe?
- Are my kids looked after?
- Do I still have an income coming in?
If the answers to these questions are all yes then the likelihood of it mattering that you haven’t met a specific goal is slim.
I get that these questions might make you roll your eyes. But as a nurse, I’ve seen tragedy with my own eyes on a daily basis. I’ve seen how hearts can be shattered and lives changed in a second. In the grand scheme of things, those people are not thinking about whether or not they uploaded enough blog posts in this quarter.
So ask yourself ‘Does it Really Matter?’ Most of the time the answer is no. The likelihood is that it won’t make a blind bit of difference if you push that goal into Q2.
Ask Yourself If You Would Speak To Your Best Mate Like That?
Okay, let me explain this one in a little detail. Imagine that your best friend or a loved one took you out for a coffee. They told you that they were feeling a little rubbish about the goals they hadn’t met in Q1. How would you respond? Would you tell them how crap they were? Tell them they aren’t good enough? Tell them not to pursue that goal? Call them a failure? Probably not. Instead, I’m guessing you’d tell them to focus on how much they achieved? You’d probably tell them how amazing they are and tell them to never give up, am I right?
So when you’re looking back at your goals before you start bringing yourself down with hurtful words and phrases first think, would I say this to my best friend? Choose kindness.
Speaking from experience, I can guarantee that you’ll achieve your goals a hell of a lot quicker if you’re executing them from a place of kindness rather than hatred. Proving your inner critic wrong is never a healthy place to be taking action from.
If there is a goal or intention that you’re bummed out about that haven’t reached in Q1 then make don’t panic. There’s still 2 weeks of March left! Grab a piece of paper and write out that goal. Then, break it down into bite-sized chunks, here’s an example of the way I execute my goals without feeling overwhelmed.
Goal: To Start Running More
Actions to Achieve the Goal:
- Research some places I will enjoy running
- Download couch to 5K app to ease myself in
- Make sure I’ve got some decent running shoes
- Block out time for my first run
- Go for my first run
- Think about how I felt afterwards
- Time block for a second run
By just researching some places to run I’ll already feel like I’m working towards this goal. So break it up by just doing one thing in the next few weeks that will get you closer to that goal. Just one simple task.
I hope that you enjoyed this post. I also hope that you’ll take on these exercises and reflect on your Q1 goals with kindness, not criticism. If you did enjoy this post then make sure you share it with your friends! I also chatted about this topic on this week’s podcast episode so make sure you check it out.
Love, Alicia x