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Achieving your goals shouldn't feel like punishment

Image reads: Be kind to yourself. It's only January.

We’re three weeks into the new year, and this is usually around the time we start feeling a bit defeated, because although we started the new year with our newly refreshed goals and resolutions, we find that the start to the year has been a bit slower than we had envisioned.

Cut yourself some slack. It’s only January. There are still eleven months of the year to go.

Yes I said I was going to do X,Y and Z; but you know what, I say a lot of things, and hey, I’m allowed to change my mind. Now I’m not saying to let yourself off the hook completely, it is important to exercise your follow-through muscle, but just don’t be too harsh on yourself.

Sticking to your goals and resolutions shouldn’t feel like punishment. Too often than not, we relate trying to better ourselves with some big rigorous regimen that we quickly lose excitement over (usually because we haven’t been very realistic with our goal-setting, and have gone straight into it, hard and fast). But that’s really no way to go through life, even with tasks on the smallest level.

You can make even your most dreaded tasks enjoyable if you really wanted to. This is your life after all, why shouldn’t we enjoy it?

It’s like when you’re at school, you usually excel at the subject that you enjoy the most, or the one that is taught by your favourite teacher. We generally do better at the things we like.

We always hear that it’s about the journey, not the destination. And that especially rings true in this context.

For example, if I set myself the goal of reading 10 books this year, what’s the point of just reading the books for the sake of reaching my target, and not actually getting anything out of them? That in itself is a pointless, waste of time, after which I most likely wouldn't feel satisfied, and which would probably leave me less satisfied that if I hadn’t even read them in the first place.

Here’s an idea, instead of trying to cut something out completely, why not try adding a new, improved habit that can enhance your daily life. So instead of cutting out chocolate completely, how about adding some fruit to your weekly diet?

Instead of stressing about going to the gym every single day, which might be a bit of a stretch (pun intended), perhaps make time for a Wellness Walk during your lunch break, to get some fresh air and get your body moving.

Remember, even when you achieve your goals, you’re still a work in progress up until the day you die, anyway. Progress isn’t linear. The smallest of steps are still progress, regardless of what anyone else around you is doing.

And guys, be kind to yourself – we’re only in January. We still have so much time to achieve our goals for 2024.

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