What is progress?
I set myself a word to guide me at the beginning of this year. That word was ‘progress’.
I chose it because I knew there were many changes I wanted to make in my life, to improve my health and mindset, to become clearer on priorities, and to have some goals to work towards. I didn’t want to lock myself into a single end point – I think we change and evolve and I needed to work out why, how and in what way I wanted this evolution to occur.
I had lots of ideas – way too many to try to implement at any one time. So I’ve continued to gather information, to think, to try, at a small scale, lots of little things. I didn’t publicly tie myself down to any goals, but aimed to think through what was most important to me, my values, and my family, and also what I was most likely to stick to.
What sort of progress am I talking about?
When I finally sat down and thought about it, I came up with a rather long list of things I wanted to change, as you can see:
- Personal health and fitness – becoming healthier, as a result of eating good food, exercising and moving more, and improving my sleep patterns.
- Mental health – techniques to relax and reflect, improving my time management (which for me is very much connected to my stress levels), getting better (in fact, being comfortable with the idea of) self compassion, and introducing measures to become less ‘reactive’, emotionally.
- Connection with others – making the time, being more focused or ‘present’ when I am with my family and friends, continuing to grow and connect with my husband, and parent my children well (I’ll unpick this later), and making space to be ‘other focused’.
- Career satisfaction – achievements and effectiveness, using my skills, balancing the demands of work with the rest of my life.
- Spiritual connection – reconnecting with my faith, seeing myself in the context of what is going on around me, and the bigger world.
- Setting some challenges – stretching myself, having fun (because my career, my family, my self esteem, etc, are not dependent on my ‘success’ in these areas), and making space for exploration (including to new places).
- Day to day organisational changes – to ensure the rest of these are able to take place.
I know! There is a lot there. And everything is important. And big (hey, when you add them all up, they probably impact on every aspect of life). All will require varying degrees of effort. Which seemed kind of a pain, because I struggle with completely radical changes.
So I got a little overwhelmed for a while.
But now I see a way through.
How I aim to progress
As I know I only manage lasting changes gradually, I’ll be introducing these changes gradually. Most of the areas above overlap, and so I am starting to make changes in different areas, slowly and at a pace that I aim to sustain.
I am getting to the point that I am ready to start sharing my progress with you.
I’ll be focusing, each Thursday, on a different topic area. They may be one off posts, or run over a few weeks, but they will be focused on my progress with progress. Setting small goals, and how I am going in meeting them.
So – Is this then going to become another ‘self improvement’ blog?
I do love a good self improvement blog, so I have nothing against them. But no, I don’t think mine will be one. There are enough good ones out there already!
Also, I’m not an expert, despite the fact I have read a lot on the topics I’ve listed (oh, how I have read! By the way, the best means of procrastination, is ‘further research’. Truthfully.). I don’t have words of wisdom, that I can back up yet, because I haven’t yet managed to put many of great suggestions I’ve read into place. Yet.
So this blog will be taking a different approach. There is a step between knowing what you should so, and actually making long lasting change. That space is where I will be focusing. Rather than telling you how ‘you’ can make changes, I intend to share my experiences – my challenges, how (hopefully), I am overcoming them, including my fear that, as I make one change, other areas of life will become chaotic (eek! Yes, I will need to put measures in place for this).
One of my biggest challenges is sustaining change – I do get bored after a while. I expect others do too. So I am planning to focus a lot on persistence. In other words, I’ll include my experiences with keeping going, even when the novelty has passed, it feels monotonous and I’m questioning the value of it, before the change become a habit, or a routine. Which I know I will feel – because I so often do. But that’s ok – that’s where the real strength comes, from pushing through.
Hopefully, by sharing my experiences, some of you will benefit too. I’m also hoping that, by writing it out, I will be more accountable and the changes I am aiming for, however slow, will start to happen.
And because I still love a secondary source, I will share insights from those who I have found helpful. Links you can look up. So if you DO want the experts’ views, you’ll still have these.
It sounds like there will be quite a change in my blog’s focus, and there will be. And there will be even more!
I don’t want to solely focus on updating on my self improvement – it could be get boring after a while, even for me.
So, I’m looking to increase to two posts a week, with the second being much more random. Observations I’ve made, funny things that have happened, places I’ve been, sharing some fun experiences. Mixing it up a little.
I’ll be playing around with the format of the blog, to make this work, and am open to any suggestions.
I’m feeling a mixture of fun and nervousness, which is probably a good thing. Squee!
(and time to stop now – must fit a run in today – part of the consistency approach. Looking forward to talking more about this 🙂 )
I’d love to know your thoughts.
- Have you got any words of advice for me as I start this approach? I’m open to any ideas around format, writing style, how to promote it, or anything else you think would be worth considering?
- And if you would like to join me with any or all of my challenges, I’d love to know that, too. Please let me know in the comments!