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Failed to achieve that lifestyle change? How to pick yourself back up and try again

Committing to 10 minutes of meditation every day for one month. Sounds easy… right?

For the month of October, I made a commitment to meditate for at least 10 minutes every day. Before my daughter was born I had successfully established a habit of meditating for 20 minutes every night before bed, so 10 minutes sounded like a piece of cake. In making this commitment it obviously slipped my mind how time-consuming and often exhausting #mumlife can be.

I was lucky the first two days of the challenge fell on work days. I easily found 10 minutes to sit out in my courtyard, blissfully tuning into my breath and out of reality. It was lovely and a great reminder of why I had decided to commit to the challenge in the first place. By the end of day three, my challenge streak came to a crashing halt. Nothing dramatic had happened and I wasn’t too busy to find 10 minutes, I simply forgot. Mum brain got the best of me and it wasn’t until day four that I realised.

I have done a lot of work in the behaviour change field. I have been taught how brain wiring works and why it’s so hard to modify current habits or build new ones. Yet, there I was wondering why I was struggling only a few days in. On day four I decided to involve my daughter — maybe that’s the trick to getting it done, I thought. If you have ever tried to get anything done with a two-year-old I’m sure you can picture how it went.

After some successful days, but several unsuccessful days I decided to admit defeat. As I sat down to write this blog I realised I had the opportunity to reflect on my experience. I still had a strong desire to reinstate a daily meditation practice. My ‘why power’ was still all the benefits I know I would receive from giving myself time to slow down. Checking in with my reason for working towards this goal was important. If my underlying reason for wanting to make this change wasn’t something important to me I would never truly be committed to achieving the goal. So, I needed to consider what went wrong and how I could change my goal to still achieve my desired outcome.

“Don’t think of it as failure. Think of it as time-released success.” —Robert Orben

This is what my self-reflection looked like: 

  • Was my goal SMART?
  • Was it Specific enough? 10 minutes of meditation every day for a month. On the surface, this seemed pretty specific. However, if I had defined the time of day rather than planning to get it done “whenever”, would that have made a difference?
  • Was it Measurable? 10 minutes, every day, for a month. Sure, I can measure that.
  • Was it Achievable? Again, on face value, my goal sounded achievable. On reflection, what I didn’t do was outline foreseeable barriers BEFORE I started the challenge. I should have known workdays would be breezy, but days spent with my toddler would be challenging. So, is there a time of day that is consistent for me? Yes, bedtime. When adding in a time of day to make the goal more specific, if I make it at a time I am less likely to be interrupted, like bedtime, it makes the goal more achievable too. 
  • Was it Relevant? Lately, I have been experiencing increased life stressors and have noticed this impacting my emotional wellbeing. In the past, I have successfully used meditation as a way of coping with such changes. So right now, yes, this goal is relevant to me and something I do wish to incorporate into my lifestyle.
  • Was it Timely? Yes, I committed to trialling it for the month of October. Committing to a set period of time like a month allows me enough time to try and establish the habit, whilst having a cut off time for reflection and re-evaluation of what isn’t working.

It would be easy for me to say “I failed” and leave it at that, but meditation has so many benefits and I know how much better I function when I have a regular meditation routine. If something is important to you and you are struggling to make the change, breaking it down like this can make it seem so much more manageable.

If you have found yourself not achieving a goal that means a lot to you it might be worth remembering these five tips:

  1. Keep the goal simple but specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART). You can always set more goals once you are crushing this one!
  2. Check your WHY? Is it a strong enough driver to make you want to change?
  3. What are the barriers and how can you overcome them?
  4. Are you confident you can make this change?
  5. Use your deadline to reflect on how things went and set a new goal.

Do you need help making nutrition-related lifestyle changes? If you do, I’d love to help. Pop on over to my APPOINTMENTS page and book in some time to chat with me.

Melissa Gray

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