A Year of 30 Day Challenges Part 2: Setting Myself Up for Success

I have a very all-or-nothing personality, especially when it comes to goals I set for myself. Due to that “all” side of my personality I find myself tempted to just jump in and start doing all 12 of the challenges I’ve come up with January 1 instead of spreading them throughout the year as planned. But I know myself well enough to know that I’d be setting myself up for failure if I do that. I’d do okay for a while, then I’d feel overwhelmed, “cheat” and eventually give up. I can’t let that happen; better health is too important.

And yet, the “or nothing” side of my personality presents some challenges as well. I already find myself ‘saving’ things that are obviously good for me because I haven’t come to that part of the challenge yet. Intellectually I know that it’s good for me and more than okay to drink lots of water right now. But that’s for later and therefore isn’t something I ‘should’ be doing now. And if I do decide to go ahead and drink the water then I start feeling pulled into the “all” side of things and obsessing about how much water I’ve had… all or nothing.

In the past I’ve tried to ignore or chastized myself about my natural tendencies toward all or nothing as well as some other deep seeded aspects of my personality. However, I want this challenge to be wholly successful- which means I will feel good both mentally and physically about these challenges. That means no beating myself up when I stumble, no wishing I could change myself as opposed to simply changing some habits. This time I’d like to bring the things about myself I’ve found challenging when trying new things to the forefront and recognize them as a worthy and valuable part of myself that must be worked with instead of against. Sheer force of will and belittling myself because I “should” be different will get me no where.

So, keeping that in mind I recognize that finding balance (yep, there’s that word again) between all and nothing will be a challenge as I take on this goal. Another challenge will be motivation when my blood glucose numbers aren’t what I want them to be. My need for external feedback can be an issue as well. Not falling into disordered, obsessive thinking is probably my greatest concern. Looking at these I can see that I need to do a few thing to prepare.

  1. Establish a support system: Accepting that I sometimes need help staying motivated and thrive on external feedback is part of working with my personality instead of against it. I can lecture myself all day about why intrinsic motivation and praise are better but that won’t change the fact that I need a few understanding people to be a sounding board and to give me honest yet compassionate feedback when I feel myself going off the rails. This won’t be a problem because I have GREAT friends.
  2. Start wearing a special piece of jewelry on a regular basis: I know I need to change my inner dialogue. I have been working on this a lot lately by taking a few deep breaths and remembering to be kind to myself, to trust myself, that if other’s don’t understand it doesn’t mean I am responsible for making them understand. I’m improving in this area but I think I a talisman of some sort will help me with this. In the past a particular necklace has served as a good reminder for self-improvement so I’m going to try it first.
  3. Place a note on the bathroom mirror and change my computer wallpaper: I am easily distracted and forgetful. It’s just part of who I am. I also have that all-or-nothing thing I mentioned earlier. As a result I need lots of  reminders that each day is a new day. If I stumble that doesn’t mean I’m done. I’ve learned this lesson with my previous 30 day challenges but I know I will have to keep reminding myself. But then I also have to be careful not to overuse or abuse this and allow it to become a crutch. More balance. A reminder that I’ll see every morning and at other points throughout the day will help with this.

I feel good about this plan for success. When I first started writing it the ideas were vague; things like, “Change my inner dialogue,” without a plan for HOW to do that. I have learned that vague ideas are a recipe for disaster. When I stumble I begin to berate myself (yes, I berate myself for berating myself) but having an actual physical plan helps prevent that. I know myself well enough to know what some of my biggest obstacles for success will be so planning for that only makes sense. Hopefully it will mean fewer missteps and faster recovery if/when those missteps occur.

Up next: My 12 challenges…

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2 responses to “A Year of 30 Day Challenges Part 2: Setting Myself Up for Success

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