New Year, Same Me (But Better)
How the heck was your first week of 2019?
I was loving all of the goal setting (and those of you who are totally against it) on my social media feeds over the past week. No matter where you land on the matter, I think that we can all agree that improvement is a good thing and even though I have evolved how I have set my goals for my year, I still make improvement a big part of the yearly plan for me.
This year, I have some big plans for where I want to go but perhaps the greatest thing I have learned is that you often can’t accomplish it alone. I have a lot of people backing me as I work towards success.
Twice a month, I speak with an executive coach who focuses me in my career.
This year, I signed with a new triathlon coach who is working with me on some big athletic goals for the next year and beyond.
I have developed a personal Board of Directors last year who meet with me individually about every four months to check in on some of the growth goals I set for myself. Some of the key projects I am doing with them right now are time logs, setting personal mission statements and writing my eulogy which seems dark but has proved quite clarifying.
I have my finance coach I meet with every year to go over investments, retirement plans and saving goals.
You get the picture. I have learned I simply don’t have the time, resources, smarts or bandwidth to learn everything I need to learn in the time I have so I have outsourced that to other people who are WAY more equipped than me and they help me get where I want to go faster.
It is a six week challenge where I set a main goal for 2019 that I will reach by prioritizing some areas of focus. In order of importance for me, I have chosen optimal health then nutrition then fitness.
My main goal is around a performance goal at the 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France in September. I have identified that although nutrition and fitness are important, I have a handle on those more or less with my work with my coach and my nutritionists. What I am pretty awful at is stress management, rest and slowing down which is why I am taking the difficult step to focus on those areas.
Before I dive into what “those areas” are, the core thing that the challenge requires is that you ground the challenge in mindset. Every day, I need to read or speak my mantra for the challenge. The one that I have chosen is:
The only person who can beat me, is me.
I chose this one because it is easy to compare myself with others who seem to be better than me in some way. At the end of the day, I don’t want to waste mental bandwidth thinking about how I measure up to other people because that isn’t what everything I do is about. It is about being 1% better than I was yesterday.
The second portion of the mindfulness challenge is “reconnecting with my why.” In order to truly reach a goal, you need to know why you set it in the first place. I have spent some time figuring out what is meaningful about my goal and every day, I will remind myself of why I am putting in the hard work.
Finally, I do a review at the end of the day to check in how I did and do a bit of self reflection. Easy right? 🙂
So, what are the things I am focusing on for the next 6 weeks?
- Meditation and Gratitude Journal – Every day, I am going to take time to meditate and to write things I am grateful for. A portion of this is to ensure that I slow down enough to make it happen but a second part of this is because one of the greatest thieves of joy is divided attention. If I am physically in one place but mentally in another, I am not every fully anywhere and I miss out on life. NOT ON MY WATCH.
- Personal Development – I am choosing to read a chapter of a book every day. I have already been pretty good at this but it hasn’t been every day. As a part of sloooowing down, I want to make sure I carve in enough time to do this. I have received a lot of requests for my book lists so I will be sharing that in a post coming soon.
- Sleeeep. I am being realistic and saying 7 hours a night, more if I can. I get up before 5 AM every morning of the week so it can be difficult to be in bed with enough time for 8 hours.
- Meal prep. I fly by the seat of my pants so often with food and this is a huge area of improvement. I often eat breakfast in the car on the way to work from the gym, lunch in a few quick bites between meetings at my desk and dinner over the sink before heading to an event or a workout. I am going to have nutritious meals prepared and schedule in time to actually SIT DOWN AND EAT THEM. I know this sounds obvious but this is a big change for me.
- No Stimulants. So no cocaine for a while then…I am joking. This is going to be a HARD one for me. I am giving up my morning cup of coffee for the first time in my life. Why? Because I have enough stress that anything that is raising cortisol could take a break from my system. And I am addicted to caffeine so I will perform better with it when I can remove it. I will not be stopping with it, just no longer being dependant on it. This ALSO means killing off my dirty Coke Zero habit and perhaps just as hard, GIVING UP SUGAR for 6 weeks. I told you, this is almost as hard as sitting still for me.
- Bonus Work – They say the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit of extra and that is why I am committing to doing 10 minutes of stretching and strengthening 4 x a week.
I will be checking in every week or so with an update of how I am doing with the challenge. I chose things that will be REALLY difficult for me but I think it is going to be an incredible way to kick off an amazing year.
Let’s do this!