Cheers! Lessons from a not so Dry January

So, how are you getting on with your New Year Resolutions?

I’ve broken one of mine already. Well, sort of.

I’m writing this blog on the Eurostar to Paris where I’m off for a few days of café culture and wintry wanderings. When I made a last-minute plan to sign up to Dry January I knew I’d pause my wine-free break, and treat myself to a glass (or three) while I was there.

Some would call that cheating. I’m happy with it. Why? Because I’ve already learned so much about how my white wine habit impacts my wellbeing and productivity – and, more to the point, that I’m quite capable of cutting it out for 20 days. It’s been an absolute revelation, if I’m honest.

But here’s the thing. If I’d felt I must stick to 31 dry days, or else see myself as a failure, I’d probably not have taken up the challenge at all. Or if I had, I’d most likely have fallen at the first tempting hurdle of a Parisian bar and given up entirely on giving up. What would have been the good of that?

So, how do you stick to your goals without sacrificing yourself to them? Here’s a few (not entirely Dry) January thoughts:

1. Getting derailed by the first hurdle is a common problem among my one-to-one coaching clients. Things go ‘wrong’ and they lose confidence in themselves and in their plans. But if you see your resolutions and goals as ideal aspirations that aren’t necessarily going to happen exactly as you envisage, you can be far more resilient. You’ll be able to flex with the ups and the downs, and bounce back from things that don’t quite work out.

Talking of which…

2. Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good. It’s great to have stretch targets, but I encourage my coaching clients to hold them lightly, and accept that you won’t always win through first time of trying. A hurdle is a hurdle; it’s not an admission of total failure. Now and then you’ll bump into one. So what? So you pick yourself up, rub the bruises and carry on. Even at the height of his game, Andy Murray dropped a set now and then…

3. Don’t run the race alone. It really is true that plans and resolutions work best when they’re shared with other people. Why? It creates some accountability: you’ve got witnesses! We don’t like breaking promises with ourselves and we most certainly don’t like breaking our promises with others! But it also gets you strokes of encouragement; no matter how self-reliant we are, we can all do with a touch of the “Well done! – Keep going!” as we head through those hurdles

Over to you

What could you do to stay on track with your goals and resolutions, even if you have a bit of a wobble? Is there someone who could offer you encouragement when you need it? How would it feel to lighten things up a little, loosening your grip on the quest for perfection?

What next?

Want some helpful support (and even gentle accountability) from your non-profit peers? Then come along to my Leaders Who Brunch meet-up on 30th January. Click here to find out more and to book.

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