Laurie sets a goal to run a half marathon in the spring. She starts out well, but then life happens, and by early February she's off track, literally.
We are drawn to fresh starts and second chances - weight loss, personal development, quitting bad habits, starting new good ones. What is behind the stereotypical failed New Year’s resolutions?
Its not what you may think. Its not that you don't have willpower or discipline.
It is poor timing, pure and simple. We are pushing against our natural rhythm.
Our metabolism naturally slows in winter, our internal clocks are affected by light, the shorter days tell us to sleep more. There are also studies which shows the brain is less efficient in winter. We can feel this intuitively.
For those of in the Northern Hemisphere, late December - early January is the dead of winter. Most mammals, if not hibernating, are at least in low energy mode for several more weeks to survive the rest of the cold season.
Against this natural backdrop, humans have a culturally imposed holiday calendar of socializing and a New Year's tradition of fresh projects and goals in January.
December is usually an emotional whirlwind during which time our supportive routines fall by the wayside. We skip workouts, meditation, yoga class. For women in midlife, this may affect us more deeply than in times past.
Some of us have kids coming home for winter break from college, or not coming home at all for the first time because of new jobs. We may be recently divorced, in new relationships, entertaining a houseful of guests when we secretly are craving some time alone, or even grappling with facing the holidays mostly alone.
The holiday season interrupts our routines with bouts of socializing, drinking, eating, and emotional (good and bad) interactions with family and friends.
Enter January - our good intentions for change and achievement collide with the time of year we are probably least equipped to follow through on our resolutions. We choose the exact time when our animal side is wanting to curl up and sleep in front of the fire to challenge ourselves with bold resolutions.
The failed resolution syndrome is what I call prime opprotunity for a momentum leak. What does that mean?
Consider Laurie once again, who has a goal to run a half marathon in the late spring. She starts out great in January, life gets busy, her motivation fades, and she falls off of her plan.
She doesn’t let go completely, though - she is still thinking about it and feeling lame for having quit, so now it is also a background source of stress.
In March, her natural rhythm begins to kicks in. The weather starts to change, days get a bit longer. She's waking up inside and motivated to go for it again. Pretty soon she picks up her goal , feeling behind, but at least back to training.
If she could have continued her training, even at a lower pace, rather than losing those few weeks in February and early March, she would be much further along by late March.
She’s experienced a major momentum leak.
Multiply that scenario by a few years in a row and you can see how New Years resolutions start to feel like a defeating, exhausting cycle, tempting us to give up on January goals altogether.
I say go for it - what do you want to have in your life in 6 months that is not there now?
Here are 2 techniques for keeping our January promises:
First, Instead of starting January 1, make the first new moon of January your start date for a new resolution - it takes the pressure off Jan. 1, gives you a bit of time to recover from December’s parties and emotional ups and downs. This year the new moon is Jan. 17.
Secondly - bridge the late winter gap with some support.
Studies and our own experience tell us that the #1 key to achieving longer term goals is accountability. But not just any kind of accountability.
You need a supportive group of women at the same stage of momentum as you are at - medium to high. What does medium to high momentum look like? We know the feeling - showing up, prioritizing time spent on the goal, refusing distractions, staying positive, feeling energized by the challenge rather than daunted, fewer setbacks than in low momentum stage.
Sometimes we hesitate because we don't want to add one more committment to our calendar. This is backwards - accountability to others actually can save us time. It helps us prioritize more clearly. For myself, an update meeting means I have a deadline for completion, I'm much less likely to over-work the task or spend more time than is necessary.
There is nothing wrong with being in a no or low momentum phase, but that doesn’t mix with the energy of those wanting to move faster. It's frustrating for everyone if the phases aren’t matched.
Don't fall into Laurie's trap. We are forming 6 month women's accountability circles now, to help each other keep up our momentum, and much more than that. Please email me for more information.
reference: Huffington Post, How Different Seasons Affect the Way Your Brain Works.
Lets talk money, shall we?
Now don't get stressed, I know its December! Hello Uncle Visa!
I have good news for you though.
First the bad news: It costs between $3000 and $30,000 to start a business in the U.S. And, the failure rate for new business is about 50%. (source: US Small Business Administration)
One of the reasons businesses fail is that they run out of money, sometimes because they spend money on the wrong things at the start.
Here is the good news: In the DreamBiz phase, you do not have to spend a lot of money to get the most important information you need to know BEFORE you start your business.
Information that can reduce your risk of failure.
Information like "What does my customer really want? What is my competition? How do I really feel about this idea after all?"
There are SO many things you DO NOT have to spend money on at first.
This can be confusing because we get advice that we need this, then that, and then more of all of it.
So, to simplify we have created a visual of the Business Box. You should spend almost all of your time in the pre-business phase OUTSIDE of the Business Box.
We’ve prepared a short fun video to explain. We hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to post them up in the Facebook group.
I hear this all the time - "I’ve never started a business before."
Or, "I don’t have any experience so I’m not ready."
Yes, it can absolutely help to have experience, not doubt about it.
But think about it, if we all had to have experience to start a business, there would be a serious shortage of new, cool businesses out there!
Martha Stewart had no experience in magazine publishing. Jessica Alba (The Honest Company) had no experience with selling consumer products and now her company is worth over 1 billion dollars!
Those are big examples, of course. But I know you could walk around the shopping district in your town and find small business owners who had no experience before they started.
In fact, that is exactly what you should do. Why?
What does experience give you? Knowledge and contacts.
You can acquire knowledge. Even more quickly, you can start to get out and meet people in the field that you are interested in.
Tony Robbins advises us to find someone who has done what we want to do and learn from their experience. Makes sense, no?
Lets see, you know how to be curious, ask questions and take some notes, right?
Then you have all the experience you need to get started right now.
I talk more about growing your social capital in the video above. Oh, and how it might grow your social life in a really interesting way, too! It did mine!
I’ve enjoyed a busier Sunday than I had hoped, it sort of comes with the holiday territory, right?
I have a question for you. Are you a fan of new year planning? Apparently most people are not.
Studies show that people spend more time planning their vacations than they do their life goals.
Do you know why?
It is because vacation time has a firm deadline. If you don’t take that time, you lose it.
We want what vacation time represents - a break, new experiences, time to ourselves to complete a thought.
We know if we don't schedule it, we lose it.
Think about that. Now think about your life.
What happens to the time you don’t take to work on yourself.
Maybe read that again - its not “what happens if you don’t take the time to work on yourself” - although that is obviously a good question too.
No, the question is “What happens - to the time - you don’t take to work on yourself?“
We lose it, that’s what. We lose it to Someday. To distractions. To other people’s priorities.
Ironically, we lose it propping up situations we don’t have time to fix. It can become a crazy cycle. I know, I’ve totally been there.
Maybe you have support and a plan and time blocked and all that is working together to get to to your next level. If so that’s awesome, I’d love to hear what works for you.
If not, and prioritizing your growth is something you want to do, then you are invited to find out more about the curated circles I’m putting together for 2018. 6 women per circle, 6 months, you choose your goal.
The key is to get something on your calendar with a group of women who are in the same boat. Here is the first step:
I’m having a meeting on-line on Tuesday next week for women who are interested in hearing more about all of the above.
VIP INVITATION HERE
No top-down coaching, although we will have coaches and other interesting people chime in for different meetings. I am curating genius for you all.
As I said in the last email, think of it as the most interesting small seminar you've ever been to, only you get to choose the homework.
We will reclaim our time and power from Someday and give your next step a DEADLINE so you don’t lose the most important “vacation” time of all.
If you can’t make it and would like some more info let’s set up a brief call for Dec. 21 or 22 in the afternoon / early evening. Email me with your preferred time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m sorry I can’t do more than one next week. I’m also doing 2 webinars for the DreamBiz Test Drive, and I leave for London on Sunday to go see my girl!
We'll talk more about all of the above, and how it is different for women in midlife, now.
An example - I am not an athlete, never really have been. I'm very much a Libra when it comes to exercise.
But I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been, and I know exactly why.
Its not a new exercise, or app, or fitbit, or drinking coffee with butter in it or a wack diet.
Its bigger and simpler than that.
Two years ago I claimed my top 3 non-negotiable life elements. I had never done that before.
One of them is health. To the degree I can influence it, I choose actions that help me stay healthy.
Before I figured out my top 3, I skipped workouts all the time. I had a lot more time back then and was much less consistent. And, if I'm completely honest, I had a nightly wine habit that was trending in the wrong direction.
Now, this is not one of those extreme makeover stories. I do not have a super structured workout plan, I don't like to puke during exercise, and I don’t even write down reps anymore. (as if that ever made a difference)
I improvise and play around with a loose basic routine.
What isn't loose is this: Its on my calendar for real. 3 - 4 times per week I am at the park, working out, and if some email doesn’t go out that morning, so be it.
So, is personal growth a priority for you?
Don't you hate questions like that? I mean, who is going to say, “Nahh. Not really”?
Better question: What do you have in your calendar, right now, that addresses a personal goal that is just for you.
So, when you wake up in 6 months, what do you want to have in your life that is not there right now?
Don't you just love questions like that? : )))
Its our time -
Here is the link to Tuesday's meeting at 1:00 CDT
Do you have a friend who might be interested? Collaboration is a key element of this process. Please feel free to forward this to her.