Engage strength to achieve change

As we come to the end of the year, it’s always helpful to reflect on the past twelve months and notice what needs to change for next year.

Many of us are busy writing goals for 2022 ready to get a head start on the New Year. But without the reflection on the current year, your future goals can be quite futile.

This is because in the review process we gain insights that can maybe make our goals more realistic. Which means we are more likely to achieve them.

Another benefit of reflection is that we are also able to see what habits need to change. Because, in the pursuit of goals something else needs to give and it’s often unhelpful behaviours. Annoying habits, which have got in the way this year.

It’s easy to just decide what new practices we need to adopt. But in order to do that we need to first of all stop doing habits that have been causing roadblocks.

And that requires strength, both mental and emotional and maybe even physical depending on what the goal is.

Let me give you an example of my own

Each year I always have a maintenance goal for my relationship with my sons. Connection is of upmost of importance to me and for this reason family is at the top of my list.

Now I do have a pretty good relationship with both of them, considering they are adults with families of their own. That’s why it’s normally a maintenance goal, not much needs to change. However, this year I have noticed a bit of a spanner in the works and I’ve found it upsetting.

In reflection recently, I have become very aware of a habit I have with my dearest close ones. And that is my strong need to voice my opinion on that which I’m passionate about, which causes me to not listen properly. Even as I’m writing this, I am realising how strange it is. This is because it’s similar to a bad habit my dad used to have that really annoyed me.

It’s also quite ironic really considering active listening is one of my strongest talents with my clients. Go figure!

But as humans our most unhelpful habits are usually played out in our strongest relationships.

Anyway, it took strength for me to be honest with myself and face up to this, And even more strength to admit this to you.

After all I am a coach right?

But that certainly doesn’t mean I’m perfect, because first and foremost I am human.

The reason I’m sharing this with you now is to stress the importance of utilising inner strength to face up to what needs to change. To understand our part in any roadblocks we’ve experienced this year and how to make necessary changes.

Explore what didn’t work this year and why

Please don’t do this exploration from a place of fault finding, but from an observer space. And it requires strength not to go down that rabbit hole of self-blame.

If you’ve been having repetitive relationship issues, family, health or work problems or haven’t achieved goals, explore why.

This exercise is best done alone. Friends can be helpful but sometimes too protective of your feelings and this keeps you in your unhelpful pattern. If you do involve a friend in this, make sure it’s someone you can trust to tell you the truth, no matter how uncomfortable that is. And remember to be kind to yourself too.

Utilise your strength in being honest about what needs to change

Let me tell you, that does require strength. It’s about looking yourself straight in the eye and noticing your part in a situation. Being truthful about what habits have been playing out and what behaviour needs to change.

Refuse to hide from it, because it’s these revelations that produce gold in all aspects of your life, including health, relationships, finances, career and more.

It’s often not comfortable but in the long run can be incredibly fruitful.

Decide what you will stop doing so you can start something new

This might sound like common sense but too many of us get all excited about a new habit and neglect to finish old ones.

Over time, no matter how much strength you try to muster up, the old gets in the way of the new. And you end up back at square one.

So for someone who wants to start exercising in the morning for instance, they may need to start getting up earlier. However, this also might mean they need to stop going to bed late. Or perhaps they need to stop placing their alarm next to the bed where it’s easy to switch off and snooze.

And for me personally it means I need to stop interrupting so that I am able to fully listen to my dearly loved sons.

Finally, reflection isn’t just about what needs to change but also about wins

Yep, it’s also about celebrating your wins. And acknowledging yourself for the change you’ve made in the effort to achieve them.

We humans have a tendency to only pay attention to what we didn’t achieve and what didn’t work. So this change also requires strength because it’s a new ritual that involves changing your mindset. And it’s a healthy habit that will serve you for years to come.

Sustainable change can be challenging, because some of our most unhelpful habits are quite ingrained. If you need some assistance or support with achieving goals and creating sustainable change in your life, then working with a coach can help. You can book your complimentary clarity call HERE to see if coaching feels like the right choice for you.