New Year’s Eve; reflecting and looking ahead again.

We have reached the end of 2021, and on Saturday, we will open a new book with 365 blank pages to color! It’s a great moment to reflect on the past year. Often, we race through the hustle and bustle of daily life, and I find it comforting to take a moment to pause and consider all that has happened, where I have focused my attention, and the successes I have achieved. At the same time, I also reflect on areas where I may have given less attention and where there is room for improvement.

Recently, a Facebook memory from 2 years ago popped up, reminding me that on December 30th, I signed for the purchase of land and the construction of a house! The completion was last summer, and it led to a significant but incredibly exciting rollercoaster. I now live there with great pleasure. It’s safe to say that one of the main themes for me this year was my house.

In addition to reflecting, it’s, of course, a beautiful moment to look ahead; a whole new year lies before us with new possibilities and opportunities! So, what do you want to focus on in the coming year? I have created my own method for this, which I use every year, and I’m happy to share it. Below are some practical tools if you want to work on this as well. It provides more insight into what you would like to prioritize and, importantly, what to focus on less.

  1. It can be helpful to divide your life into different areas. You’ll notice that you can never fully focus on all areas at once, and it helps with focus. See below for some examples:
  • Family
  • Health
  • Social contacts
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Love
  • Personal growth
  • Free time
  • Home
  1. Answer the following questions for yourself:
  • What were the highlights of the past year?
  • On which aspects did you focus the most?
  • What was 2021 not about?
  • What would you have liked to see differently?
  • What will you take with you into 2022?
  • On which 3 areas (mentioned above) would you like to focus your attention in the coming year?
  • How will you concretely approach that?

Now that we are forced to stay at home due to the lockdown, these might be interesting questions to discuss with each other on New Year’s Eve!

If you find it challenging or feel the need to discuss this further, let me know; I’m happy to help.

Wishing you success and lots of inspiration, and of course, a wonderful New Year’s celebration!

 

Collaborating Remotely

Collaborating remotely has become quite normal by now. Yet, at the same time, it’s not quite the same. It’s a bit odd to only see the people you work with every day through a screen. Personally, I notice that the element of connection is sometimes missing, and that ultimately doesn’t contribute positively to collaboration and results. Moreover, you find yourself working with people more and more whom you’ve never met in person. I jokingly say that you need to have ‘smelled’ the other person to establish a bond, sort of sniffing each other out.

Unfortunately, this is not possible at the moment, and it’s a matter of making the best of the situation. Over the past period, I’ve received several requests to provide team training. Now that it’s not advisable to do this on location, I often get the reaction, ‘then let’s postpone it.’ Understandable, but on the other hand, it’s crucial in times like these to have conversations together! That’s why I often recommend going ahead with the training via Zoom or Teams. Of course, it’s more challenging to achieve a certain depth, but on the other hand, quite a bit is still possible!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve facilitated several training sessions online, and the responses have been very positive. Participants are often surprised by the possibilities of online interactions, leading to meaningful conversations and insights. Here are a few examples of the positive feedback received:

  • Taking the time as a team was excellent; I got to know and understand my colleagues better!
  • This training was a valuable addition to the team and collaboration.
  • It’s an enjoyable training that provides a good insight into the individuals working together in a team. Time flew by, and through fun exercises, you become familiar with the material.

So, my advice is not to wait until the team can physically come together again, especially since we don’t know how long this may take! If you want to know more, feel free to call me at +1721 586 0002 or email me at info@carpevita.sx.

180 days of yoga

Last week, I completed my 6th yoga challenge. Each challenge lasts for 30 days, so that adds up to 180 days of yoga! I was quite surprised to realize that I had done 180 online yoga sessions this year. I can say that this has become a new routine in my life and no longer requires much effort. This got me thinking: why did this change succeed while others don’t always? Is there an interesting lesson or message about how to sustain change? I explored this and would like to share my experience with you.

During the first lockdown in March, gyms suddenly closed, and I couldn’t attend my regular yoga class. Additionally, I started working from home instead of the office, and my daily movement was reduced to a minimum. I quickly felt that this was not very healthy for me—I became stiff, tired, and got headaches. A friend and I came up with the idea of doing the 30-day Yoga with Adriene challenge. This meant doing a yoga session every day, ranging from 20 to 45 minutes. So, we started this together. To motivate each other, we agreed to text each other when we completed a session ✅. Yes, it creates a sense of guilt if you skip it, and as soon as the other person completes it, it provides extra motivation. Now, we are four friends and have our own yoga challenge WhatsApp group.

The first challenge wasn’t easy, with many planks and other challenging poses that were quite painful for my not fully recovered shoulder. However, the beauty of yoga is that it’s not about performance; it’s more about being and doing what suits you. I soon noticed results, not only physically but also mentally. I usually start the day with a yoga session, making me much calmer in my mind and more relaxed when starting work. Additionally, I had started with healthy eating, and I found myself wanting to eat only healthy foods, resulting in a weight loss of 13 kilograms during this period.

In the summer, the challenge arose when restaurants reopened, and social life started to resume. Less time at home meant less time for yoga, and we occasionally started skipping days. This didn’t motivate us much and gave a feeling of failure. So, we reduced the frequency from 7 lessons per week to 5. This way, we had 2 ‘joker’ days per week and still stayed on track. From there, things went well again.

The most significant difference was observed in the first few weeks, especially seeing how quickly there was a difference in strength and flexibility. Even the shoulder was nearly pain-free after a few weeks. This is incredibly motivating! The challenge was to remain motivated after that initial period because you don’t notice as much difference. So, maintain the focus on what it brings rather than feeling obligated to get on the mat. Interestingly, I found that if I skipped yoga for two consecutive days, I immediately felt more stiffness and eagerly wanted to return to the mat!

Another significant milestone was achieving the ‘crow pose,’ an advanced yoga pose. I had thought that I would never be able to do it. Naturally, I’m not strong in my arms, and this pose seemed too complicated in terms of balance. But hey, nothing to lose, so I tried calmly each time and also accepted that if it didn’t work, that was okay too. Suddenly, after 165 days of yoga, I succeeded! It felt like a beautiful reward, and secretly, I was a bit proud of myself.

Source: yoga with adrienne

But what is the secret to sticking with it? I was curious myself, which is why I wanted to write this blog. Clues naturally came up:

  1. Do it together! It makes you feel more obligated to do it on days when you don’t feel like it. It’s also fun to share experiences.
  2. Opportunity: Due to the lockdown, there was a lot of opportunity to do yoga, making it easier to stick to.
  3. Motivation: Feeling stiff and lacking movement motivated me to start.
  4. Focus on the progress you make. Celebrate your successes instead of focusing on what (still) hasn’t worked.
  5. Realistic goals: Initially, doing 7 days a week was manageable, but when ‘normal’ life resumed, it became challenging. Instead of getting frustrated that the 7 lessons per week weren’t achieved, we reduced them to 5. If you then do 6, it feels like a bonus rather than having done 1 too few.
  6. Accept what is: This is perhaps the most important and aligns with the yoga philosophy. I wasn’t so focused on achieving results; I found it more important to take care of myself and do something that suited me. Often, certain exercises didn’t work, and that was fine; then, I looked at the things that did work. In other words, it couldn’t go wrong, at most, it could be different than expected.

In conclusion, I highly recommend everyone to start doing yoga. It’s not esoteric, and your body does get stronger, as does your mind! Since group classes are currently not possible, and we spend a lot of time at home, I would say, give it a try. Namaste 😉

Happiness @ work!

Work happiness; a term that has been ‘trendy’ for a while, and many people are delving into it. Last week was even designated as the Week of Work Happiness! Research indicates that individuals who are happy in their work have more energy, perform better, and often have better relationships with their colleagues. Additionally, they feel more engaged and get more work done. But how do you ensure that your employees are happy, and what factors influence this? Especially in these times of COVID-19, where in many cases, employees are working remotely. This, of course, has a significant impact on work happiness.

Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, distinguishes five factors that influence work happiness, encapsulated in the so-called PERMA model:

Positive Emotions

Engagement = Flow

Relations = connection

Meaning = significance

Accomplishment = challenge

The advantage of this model is that it focuses on factors that increase work happiness, rather than the traditional approach of focusing on factors that decrease work happiness. It zooms in on the positive aspects to explore how they can be enhanced. Below is an explanation of these five factors. It can be very interesting to examine how this applies to your company and where ‘positive’ gains can be made.

Positive emotions

Everyone experiences certain emotions during work. These can be positive emotions such as satisfaction, joy, and gratitude. On the other hand, there can also be emotions like frustration, anger, and dissatisfaction. As a leader, it can be helpful to gain more insight into this to see if you can assist your employees. Negative emotions are not only an energy drain for the employee but also for the environment. What does this employee need to experience more positive emotions? If the employee is dealing with many negative emotions, you can engage in a conversation to see if you can offer assistance. Additionally, you can explore when the employee does experience positive emotions. A coaching process might also be beneficial in such cases.

Flow

Ever experienced the feeling of being so engrossed in something that you suddenly lose track of time? When you’re in the moment, and the rest of the world seems to fade away? That’s being in a state of flow. You feel motivated and inspired to do your work, and it feels effortless. Employees who experience this flow tend to enjoy their work more and often perform better. The extent to which employees find their work meaningful also impacts how easily they enter a state of flow. Additionally, the nature of the tasks at hand plays a role in how much flow someone experiences. One person may love delving into files and working out all the details, while another may prefer coordinating and organizing tasks. If someone struggles to get into the flow, it’s also possible that the type of tasks may not be a good fit.

Relations

How employees experience their interactions with colleagues and their manager significantly influences the level of work happiness they feel. The team’s functioning also plays a role in this. Struggles in interpersonal relationships contribute to a decrease in the joy people derive from their work. Additionally, there is a natural human need to feel connected to others. A good connection with colleagues is crucial and determines how much enjoyment you bring to work. Team building is essential for this reason. It is advised not only to engage in activities such as dining out or an escape room but also to have a dialogue with the team about how the collaboration is going. This can enhance mutual trust within the team.

Significance

What meaning do you attribute to your work? What do you contribute, not only for yourself but also, for example, for society? For some professions, this is very clear, such as a police officer ensuring street safety or a healthcare worker caring for sick people. However, this clarity may not be present for all professions. It can be essential for an employee to contribute something meaningful to society. Are employees proud of what they do? Do they embody the company’s mission and core values? These are also determining factors in how much joy people derive from their work and how much energy they invest in it. This can be a valuable topic to discuss to assess its relevance within your company.

Challenge

Every person has a fundamental need for growth. For some, this means taking steps and advancing to higher positions, while for others, it involves personal growth or becoming better at what they do. Additionally, consider how much control an employee has over their work. It is crucial, especially for those who have been in the same position for an extended period, to pay attention to this. Otherwise, there’s a risk of them going to work like a kind of robot, feeling less motivated. Often, small adjustments or providing opportunities for further education can bring a positive stimulus to this.

These five factors also mutually influence each other. Someone in a state of flow is likely to have better relationships with colleagues. Someone experiencing more challenges is likely to have more positive emotions at work. Carpe Vita has developed a tool to assess where a team or company scores well and where improvement is possible. Especially in these times of COVID-19, it is crucial to check whether employees are happy in their work and make adjustments as needed. Interested in this tool or other topics mentioned in this blog? Call Petra at (+17) 215 860 002 or send an email to petra@carpevita.sx.

 

The 5 V’s of Virtual Leadership

Not long ago, a relatively unknown concept has become the focus of today: virtual leadership, or leading remotely. This requires a different leadership style than when working together in the same physical space. Many people have been working remotely for several weeks now, not seeing their colleagues. As a leader, you don’t have a direct view of your team, making it challenging to assess what employees are working on, whether they are facing challenges, or if there are issues within the team. The lack of physical proximity also brings about different challenges within the team, as casual interactions and impromptu meetings are no longer happening. This demands a different approach and leadership style. Based on experiences from my surroundings and personal insights, here are the 5 V’s for Virtual Leadership.

Tip 1: Trust

As a leader, you might be used to keeping a close eye on your team’s activities, and it can be challenging now that you have less direct control. However, being overly controlling can have a counterproductive effect. Trust in your team is crucial; it makes employees feel respected and taken seriously. Instead of excessive monitoring, trust your team to act professionally and be motivated to perform their tasks. Focus on motivating rather than controlling.

Tip 2: Connect

The risk of remote work is that everyone ends up on their own island, diminishing the connection between the leader and team members. This can be detrimental to collaboration. Personal conversations are essential; check in with your team to discuss how they’re doing and what challenges they may be facing while working from home. Encourage team members to actively seek each other out for personal contact rather than relying solely on emails. Organize fun team activities like virtual happy hours or pub quizzes. Creating a fun vlog can also positively contribute to team connection.

Tip 3: Clarify Expectations

Clear expectations provide clarity, so if employees know what is expected of them, it brings peace of mind for both parties. Employees may feel hesitant to communicate challenges when working from home. Clear expectations make it easier to address performance issues by discussing reasons for not meeting goals. This approach allows for an open conversation based on set expectations, rather than being overly controlling, aligning with Tip 1.

Tip 4: Example

As a leader, you play a role model. If you panic or express negativity about the situation, it affects your team. Keeping a level head, providing support, and maintaining a positive attitude are crucial. Sharing your own challenges is also important, as it contributes to building a connection with your team.

Tip 5: Innovation

Remote work presents opportunities, so consider how things can be done differently and be open to ideas from the team. As mentioned earlier, there’s already a digital pub quiz, and training sessions can potentially be conducted online. Explore how these changes might contribute to the work. Thinking outside the box often leads to innovative initiatives. A notable example is that people working from different locations can easily join meetings or knowledge sessions without the need for travel time.

I’m curious to hear about the things you do differently in remote leadership or any additional ideas you might have. Feel free to share them in the comments!

How do you maximize your potential?

Today is a special day because the Alpe d’Huzes event is taking place! Tomorrow marks three years since I participated for the third time in a row. It’s a wonderful event where solidarity takes center stage, and a significant amount of money is raised for cancer research.

Challenges

Reflecting on the challenges I’ve faced in my life, Alpe d’Huzes ranks high on the list of endeavors outside my comfort zone. I learned a great deal about personal leadership—how to manage oneself to extract the maximum potential. Each edition presented new hurdles to overcome, including the third time in 2016 when I learned, just before the big day, that a tendon in my knee was inflamed, and I might not be able to participate at all.

Get Yourself in a ‘Peak State’

After recovering from the shock of the news about my knee, I decided to create a plan to at least climb the mountain once. After all, I had raised money and wanted to contribute. One crucial element in that plan was managing your own state or mood, referred to as ‘State’ in English. This is vital for how you feel, your emotions, and ultimately your performance, applicable to various areas of your life.

In preparation, after doing everything I could to prepare my knee for the big day (rest and taping), I used techniques to get myself into a ‘peak state.’ This is based on Tony Robbins’ model, and I employed the following:

  • Physical: On the Alpe d’Huzes day, from the moment I woke up at 3:30 AM until I went to bed that night, I had a smile from ear to ear. I controlled my breathing and kept my head up, despite moments of exhaustion. Your physical posture significantly influences how you feel. Try sitting upright with a big smile on your face and simultaneously try to feel depressed. It doesn’t work!
  • Focus: Where focus goes, energy flows! I had my focus entirely on the result, pedaling up the mountain. I didn’t focus on what couldn’t be done or whether my knee hurt. It was a cold, rainy day, causing many cyclists to dismount. I only thought of one thing: upward! And upward I went. So, if you want something, focus on that and not on what you don’t want.
  • Language: I only spoke positive things to myself all day: you can do it, everything is great! How amazing all these people cheering me on! But also things like: I’m so grateful to be here, what a gift that I get to cycle up the mountain and help people with cancer!
  • Meaning: The meaning you give to events determines how you feel. I didn’t adopt a victim mentality because of my injury but saw it as an extra challenge. This made it feel less burdensome or negative. Additionally, I got a flat tire twice on the descent—not pleasant when you’re going 45 km/h on thin tires. Stressful thoughts briefly crossed my mind… why is this happening to me… will I make it? But immediately I thought: okay, this is an extra challenge coming my way, it will be fine! This way, I didn’t lose my peak state, and I climbed back on the bike with a smile.

The result of this strategy was that I felt like I had wings and could suddenly do much more than expected. I felt strong, as if nothing could get me off that bike. Where the expectation was initially that I might climb the mountain once, I ended up cycling up four times! Only then did my knee start to swell, and it was time to stop. But the four times were much more than I could have ever imagined beforehand.

Applying ‘State’ in Your Life

The beauty of this strategy is that it can be applied to all aspects of your life. You can get yourself into a good ‘state’ every day to achieve much better results. When you start applying this, you’ll notice increased energy, a greater focus on results, and a more positive outlook. Ultimately, it will make it much easier to achieve your goals and lead the life you want!

If you want to achieve maximum results or learn more, feel free to contact me: +1721 586 0002 or info@carpevita.sx.

Colorful Energy

Did you know that with more insight into your own color preferences and those of others, not only can you achieve better results, but you can also gain more energy? Read on!

In various team compositions and certain tasks, specific qualities are expected. These qualities can be linked to colors. When colors are well distributed in a team, it is effective for optimal collaboration. Different colors complement each other, ultimately leading to the best results. It is essential for people to have insight into their own preferences and those of others for successful collaboration. Otherwise, friction may arise due to misunderstandings.

Collaborating with opposite colors: a practical example

Anna’s preferred color is yellow; she is enthusiastic and sees opportunities everywhere. Whenever she has a new idea, she shares it enthusiastically with her team. Her colleague Bart prefers the color blue, and he believes it is crucial to thoroughly assess all risks before executing tasks. He is very meticulous in his work and pays attention to details.

Often, when Anna suggests a new idea, Bart starts asking questions. He questions whether everything has been thoroughly researched and whether the idea is feasible. This dampens Anna’s enthusiasm, and she often thinks, “Why are you nagging?” or “Can’t you just be enthusiastic for once?” Meanwhile, Bart is thinking, “Why don’t you research everything thoroughly before sharing it?” or “If I’m not there to slow her down, everything will go wrong.”

If the above situation occurs, what do you think will happen to the energy of Anna and Bart? And how productive will they be together? They don’t understand each other, feel unseen, and there is a high chance that frustration will set in. Ultimately, the likelihood of a fruitful collaboration is low. The more ideas Anna shares, the more Bart puts on the brakes. As a result, Anna’s enthusiasm wanes, and she stops sharing her ideas.

More Insight

But what if Anna is aware that she often has many ideas but needs someone who pays attention to details? And what if Bart is aware that he works very precisely but appreciates someone else bringing in ideas? In the above situation, they will perceive each other very differently.

If Anna has a new idea, she knows that Bart wants the idea to be well worked out, and no details overlooked. Bart is happy that Anna comes up with ideas and knows that she appreciates him asking all those questions. Ultimately, they will likely come up with a beautiful approach together. Not only that, they probably won’t experience an energy drain but an energy boost because they’ve created something beautiful together! And that’s how a colorful energy is born!

Do you and your team already have insight into the colors? Inquire about the possibilities via: petra@carpevita.sx or call: +1721 586 0002

The Power of Core Values

Core values can be a powerful tool in many aspects of your life, both professionally and personally. Here are a few examples:

  • Knowing your core values allows you to make better decisions in your life and choose a direction that brings you happiness.
  • As an entrepreneur, core values can provide clarity on what you want to convey and how you want customers to perceive your business.
  • In teams, understanding core values can improve collaboration by creating awareness of individual differences, fostering mutual understanding.

Perhaps as you read this, you’re thinking, “Core values, what are those, and how do I know what mine are?” Core values reflect what you truly find important, what drives you, and ultimately
influences your behavior. Examples of core values include freedom, love, and honesty. There are numerous core values.

How does this work in practice?

Let’s say honesty is one of your core values. But if many people around you don’t take the truth very seriously, this can create a clash for you and lead to misunderstandings. Additionally, you might not be living your own core value. For example, if adventure is a core value, but you always make safe choices and rarely engage in adventurous activities, you might feel a sense of something missing.

Furthermore, a core value means something different to one person than it does to another. You have your own standards for a core value. For instance, the core value of freedom might mean having the freedom to decide how you spend your free time for one person, while for another, it means not working for a boss and starting their own business. Ideally, you would define between 3 and 5 core values.

Making choices based on core values

Once you have insight into your core values, you can assess every decision against them. For example, if you chose to be your own boss because freedom is crucial to you, and you’re offered a job with little freedom, you might question whether that will make you happy. When applying for a job, checking the company’s core values on their website can help you assess if they align with your own core values.

Core values in organizations

For organizations, it’s also important to establish core values. They demonstrate what the company stands for and its driving forces. What does the company want to convey? Core values can be used in significant decisions: does this choice align with our core values? They are also crucial for marketing, as they answer the question: why should customers buy our product? For example, if sustainability is a core value, and you’ve integrated it into your business by offering sustainable products, you can promote this to attract people who also value sustainability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Core values in teams

Ultimately, within organizations, it’s crucial for well-functioning teams that core values are not too far apart or, at the very least, that there is openness to understanding differences. For example, if someone has respect as a core value, and for them, it means arriving on time for a meeting, it can clash with a colleague who is always late. Perhaps, for that colleague, flexibility is a core value, and they don’t understand why being late is a problem. Therefore, it’s essential to know what everyone values. This creates more understanding, and people are more considerate of each other.

Would you like to work on your core values or those of your team? Send an email to petra@carpevita.sx, and I will send you a worksheet with a list of examples of core values and a step-by-step plan.

 

Discover Your Hidden Strengths!

A seminar with 12,000 people where everyone is buzzing with energy – that’s what you get when you attend an event by Tony Robbins! He is one of the most well-known speakers globally and a coach to famous individuals such as Bill Clinton, Andre Agassi, Princess Diana, and Serena Williams. Last week, he was in London for the “Unleash the Power Within” program. It was already my third Tony Robbins event, but it remains impressive! 50 hours of seminar in 4 days, and returning home with more energy than you started with. You might wonder, how is that possible?

For me, a dilemma arose a few weeks ago. In the past 7 months, I’ve had 2 surgeries under general anesthesia, so my own energy level wasn’t optimal. Not really the ideal condition for such an event. Thus, 2 weeks before the event, I decided to temporarily quit coffee, alcohol, and refined sugars. This had the desired effect; I felt my energy immediately increasing!

Peak state

In addition to working on my own energy level, the seminar ensures that you don’t fall asleep. The substantive information and exercises are interspersed with a lot of dancing and jumping. You might think it’s nonsense, but the opposite is true. It makes you feel fitter and more energetic, putting you in a different “state” as Tony calls it. Learning is also much more effective when you’re in the right “state” (peak state). And you don’t have to keep jumping all the time; your body posture (standing upright with shoulders back) and a smile on your face already make a significant difference. The long days, from standing in line for a good spot at 7 am to the evening around 11 pm, were easy to endure!

Walking barefoot over burning coals!

During the first day of the seminar, the firewalk takes place: walking barefoot over burning coals. This was my second time, so I found it less nerve-wracking than last year, but I did have the thought, ‘am I too relaxed?’. You might wonder, how can you walk over coals of up to 260 degrees with bare feet? A whole process takes place to get you in the right state so that you’re ultimately convinced you can do it, and then you can. During this preparation, I accidentally got a hit in my face from an ecstatic dancing participant, so I had to go to the first aid. It turned out to be not too bad, but I wondered if I could still do the firewalk. After all, I had missed a significant part of the preparation. A coach then said to me: ‘this is just like in real life, sometimes you’re fully prepared and go for it, but there is an unexpected setback.’ Are you going to be discouraged, or can you turn it around to keep going for it?


Ultimately, you spend 4 days focusing on what you want in your life and how to achieve it. What is holding you back from having the life you desire? If you believe you can do something, then you can! After all, you can also walk barefoot over burning coals. So, what limiting thoughts are preventing you from succeeding? For example, thinking that you can’t do it or that you weren’t born for it, and there are many more such thoughts. If you can turn these into positive thoughts, you’ll achieve much more.

Here are 3 tips I’d like to share with you:

  • Ensure that you maintain good energy because it allows you to achieve more, and things become easier.
  • Focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want. Where focus goes, energy flows!
  • Use positive language. For example, if you often use words like difficult, heavy, or complicated, you’ll feel very different than if you use positive words like challenge and learning opportunity

These insights are also incorporated into the offerings of Carpe Vita. If you want to know more, feel free to get in touch.

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s a new year again! For many people, it’s a new round, new opportunities. People make resolutions; lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more. The gym is crowded, and diet products are flying off the shelves. Soon, many give up, and after a few weeks, those resolutions fade away, and people fall back into their old patterns.

I can relate to this all too well. How many times I’ve tried to quit smoking, lose weight, go to bed earlier, eat healthier, and so on. And preferably all at once! No one can sustain that! I haven’t smoked for years now, and the diet books are in the recycling bin. But how do you bring a positive change into your life? Often, we set out unprepared, without a clear goal in mind. Remember, “a good start is half the battle.” So, make a plan and don’t randomly pick a resolution. To shape this well, you can make your resolution S.M.A.R.T. Here’s an explanation of what that means:

S = Specific

Make your goal or resolution specific. What do you want to do? Why do you want to do it? Where will you do it? Who is involved? It’s a matter of clearly and concretely describing the goal.

Also, state your motivation for your resolution. When I quit smoking, I could list many reasons why I wanted to live smoke-free. This makes you more driven and stronger to achieve it.

M = Measurable

Make your goal measurable. An example of a non-measurable goal: “I want to go to bed earlier in the evening.” What does that mean, going to bed earlier, and how will you measure it? It’s better to say, “I want to be in bed every night by 11:00 PM.” This is clearly measurable.

A = Acceptable

Phrase the goal positively and ensure you accept it. For instance, if you want to quit smoking but deep down, you’d rather remain a smoker, then you don’t accept your resolution, and it’s doomed to fail. If you notice this, better search for the reason you still want to smoke. This is better than tormenting yourself with withdrawal symptoms and eventually giving in to smoke again.

R = Realistic

Ensure the goal is realistic. For example, wanting to lose 10 kg in two weeks is not realistic. Or going to the gym every day. It might be manageable for a while, but eventually, it becomes too much, and you might stop altogether (exceptions excluded).

T = Time-bound

Provide a clear start and end date or the moment when the goal is achieved. So, determine when you’ll start and when it will be finished (if applicable). For example, losing 5 kg. This is done when you’ve shed the kilos. Also, you have permanent goals that have no end date. Still, it’s essential to set a start date.

A few good examples:

  1. I will start exercising at the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from today.
  2. I will start eating at least 2 pieces of fruit every day from January 15.
  3. I will start doing something enjoyable for myself, like going out to dinner, watching TV on the couch, or dancing, at least once a week from next month.

Good luck with your resolutions!