It's the third week of January. How are those goals you set for yourself this year going?
I have come to the conclusion that one of the reasons that most of us abandon our goals after a short period of time is that they get ... well, boring!
After the initial excitement of making a new change wears off, and the reality of the day-to-day, monotonous, "making it happen" sets in, it stops being fun.
So, why not find a way to keep the fun?
This idea came to me last fall as I was beginning again to try to lose the excess weight I was carrying. See here for that story. We were watching a BYU football game as a family. As any football fan knows, periodically during the game, they will display the height and weight of various players. I cringed as I realized that a number of these big, strong guys weighed less than me. Ugh.
Then the idea came. Why not set up a little game for myself? I decided that I was going to weigh less than every football player on that roster by the end of the season. (Please note: I chose a bunch of football players to compete with, and I'm sure they wouldn't mind if they knew. I don't by any means promote making unhealthy comparisons. For example, you won't catch me setting a goal to weigh less than any of my friends, or my family, or any other group of women for that matter. I am a believer that comparisons like that just make us unhappy. OK - clarification/ lecture over.)
I printed out a team roster and had fun crossing a whole bunch of those guys off right off the bat. (Yay for success!) Every Monday morning, after I weighed in and recorded my progress, I would pull out my roster and cross off the players I had passed up that week.
And you know what? It was fun!
It was a small little something that kept things interesting. When I was tempted to slip up, it was a little something to encourage me to do things right. When I didn't want to get out on my morning run, I remembered my goal and grabbed my shoes.
So how did I do? I'm almost there. I missed my end of the season deadline, but decided to keep going. There are 3 guys left on that list, and they are all within 5 pounds of each other.
Pretty soon, I will cross off that freshman kicker that's been the "guy to beat" all season, and I will find joy in a goal accomplished.
So, how do you make this concept work for you? Many of your goals are different: maybe you are trying to yell less, be more responsible with your money, or exercise more. There are a few different ways you can bring in the "fun."
1 - Fun in the Doing
Find a way to make what you are trying to accomplish enjoyable. This might mean trying out some new forms of exercise and finding something that's truly fun. Or maybe, you and your spouse discuss the budget while out on an economical date each week. Or maybe you have a family competition and see who can put together the most delicious, yet cheap, dinner for the family. You can all go shopping together and split up in the store. Heck - you might even pass on some good financial habits to your kids AND get them to cook!
2 - Fun in the Measurement
This is the category my little game fell into. Maybe you can track "scream free" days on a chart, or by adding a pebble to a jar, or something else that makes it visible and a little more fun. Maybe you can even let your family measure for you. Your kids can award you "Mary Poppins points" or something like that when you handle something well. Be creative!
3- Fun in the Rewards
Finally, if you are having trouble thinking of ideas to make the doing or the measuring fun, why not plan a fun reward for yourself that will motivate you to keep going on those inevitable days that the going gets hard? (Just try not to sabotage yourself with this one. For example, food based rewards for fitness goals, or expensive rewards for financial wisdom are kind of counter-productive, no?)
What ways have you found to make progress fun? Share in the comments! There may just be another reader out there that would benefit from your ideas!
**Special thanks to the BYU Football team for helping me make such fabulous progress this fall. Much love from a loyal fan!