As Hong Kongers, we are pretty good at adapting to change.
In COVID-era Hong Kong, no matter who you are, your life will most likely look a little different to how it was before Chinese New Year. There’s even more to deal with than the typical coming and going in this transient beautiful city of ours that we call home. That change can be scary!
Things have changed for all of us and this recent window of “quiet time” may have been the perfect opportunity to reflect on what’s working for you, what isn’t, and how you’d like your life to shape up going forward. Maybe now is the time to make a fresh start, move forward with your plans with real purpose and actualise your goals!
We often think of fresh starts on January 1, at the start of the Lunar New Year or when the children go back to school at the start of a new term. What if YOU determined your timeline and decided to make a fresh start now? It’s as good a time as ever!
Setting goals can feel very exciting but also scary. Whether it’s carving out time for your much needed weekly yoga class, having that monthly date night with your husband, making a vow to lose that post-baby weight, starting a new side hustle, working on health and well-being goals; they all bring about an element of fear because they take us out of our comfort zone. Juggling work, mama duties and being the MD of your home is challenging in itself, but imagine how you’d feel if you committed to your goal and how proud you’d be at the end of the journey. Why don’t you enrol on that wine tasting course? You can take time out to create beautiful morning rituals with meditation or breathing. Go for it! You can learn to Tango!
One of the best things you can do is to tell those around you about your goals. Speak them out loud. Tell your husband, sister or best friend that you have committed to your new goal. This, in turn, will make them your “accountability buddy”. They can act as your cheerleader if the going starts to feel a little too tough. Tell everyone about your new and exciting shiny goal! Own it.
Why Change Can Feel Challenging
We are programmed to stay in our comfort zone. It’s easier for us to be on autopilot and do things that take up less energy and time than those things that may potentially cause us angst. If your goal is to train for a mountain race but you’re a busy mama, it’s clearly going to be much easier to settle on the sofa of an evening with a glass of wine rather than reaching for your work out gear and heading out into the mountains! It’s harder work for our brain to try something new and we often resist this.
Trying to figure out what pain, discomfort or resistance you might be feeling and when it’s cropping up is a great first step. Acknowledging that resistance will help you think hard about your actions and goals and enable you to change the blueprint of your brain. If you want it, you can do it!
Take It Back A Step
Think back to when you tried something new. Do you remember how you felt when you first learnt to ride a bike? How did you feel when you first moved to a new country or learnt a new language? Maybe you felt uncomfortable and scared at the start? However, you resisted the temptation to give up and persevered. You learnt that through practice and by rewiring your brain to think differently, things became easier. By pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone you succeeded in creating the changes you wanted. We often end up “stuck” in a situation when we are scared and this inhibits our action. Some people are happy to stay in their comfort zone and that’s perfectly fine. However, if you want a transformation to take place you have to step beyond this and take that leap of faith.
Break your goal down into small action steps. Where are you now with your goal? What steps can you take each day to take you closer to your goal? If your goal is to be “the healthiest and most vibrant I’ve ever been”, start with writing a food/exercise/feelings/energy diary for two weeks. What do you intuitively know or feel that will make you feel healthier? What would a day or week look like in your life when you’ve achieved this goal? Designate at least 15 minutes every day towards your goal.
Another one of my goal setting tips is to create a vision board. This can be one of the most fun things to spur you into action with actualising your goals. You could create your vision board on Pinterest or you could get carried away with magazine cuttings and create huge posters. Get the kids involved with the cutting and glueing! Make it wacky, have fun with it and be as creative as possible.
If it’s a poster-style vision board, put it where it will be a daily reminder – stick it on your bathroom mirror or on the fridge or a kitchen cupboard! It will help you move positively towards creating your goal. You could also attach words or mantras that relate to your goal on your vision board. It’s a fact that if you write goals down on paper you are more likely to achieve them. Talk about your vision boards with everyone in your family and share your excitement openly. You’ll be surprised at how excited and enthused your children will become.
Congratulate yourself and celebrate no matter how small your win. Be proud of you! Think of what you’ve achieved on a daily or weekly basis. Whether this was creating a beautiful floral arrangement following your creative flower arranging class, preparing those nutritious meals you’d promised yourself the children would eat, or completing a module of a course that you knew could help you obtain the qualification you need for that fantastic new job!
Accept that life throws curve balls our way and if things haven’t gone completely to plan one week, don’t beat yourself up. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Learn from your mistakes and think about how you can stop that happening next time.
Adapting to change and achieving goals takes time. Get out of your comfort zone, adopt the right mindset and you’ll be smashing your goals and changing your life in a way you never dreamt possible.