The thing with being human is that we have ups and downs, good days and bad, and if we are recovering from or getting through some difficult or challenging experience, then that is not always linear.
Today I’ve had to take a bit of ‘time out’ for myself as I am re-experiencing some challenges with my health. We can sometimes be quite hard on ourselves when we are having those days when we feel the struggle a bit more than on others. If we’ve been making progress in an area of our life, and then feel like things are going ‘backwards’ then that can be tough too – but progress is not always linear, as I’m sure most of us well know.
In this pandemic year, perhaps you’ve experienced your fair share of contrasting days, ups and downs, good times and bad. I wonder how you are doing today? You know one way we can help stay in a more positive frame of mind on those particularly challenging days could be to set the smallest of goals.
We need to shift gears at times, and take things at a slower more moderate pace, focusing on self care, but at times when we’re struggling it can be hard to get going and some of us have the tendency to be overly critical of ourselves in such times.
How about setting the smallest of goals like making the bed, or having a healthy lunch, or doing a few stretches? Maybe that’s all you can manage, and that’s ok, but maybe you’ll find the momentum to do something else, leaving you in a better frame of mind for the rest of the day, or at least feeling like you have accomplished a goal, even if you feel like it is the smallest of goals.
We need to keep growing and changing and improving in order to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Otherwise, the tendency is to stagnate, to get ‘stuck in a rut’, and become bored, apathetic or disillusioned with our lives. To be alive is an incredible gift, can we really afford to take it for granted by just trundling through our days? I don’t think anyone of us wants to do that.
Goal setting, and taking on new challenges is a good way to move onwards and upwards and helps us to live more intentionally, more fully and deeply. However, it can be quite daunting to consider setting goals, we might think we need to do ‘big’ things, make grand gestures, take great leaps forward. Yet small goals can also play an important part in rekindling our curiosity, our creativity and ‘spark’. These small goals can be so small that we don’t even consider them anything out of the ordinary, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a place in engaging our minds, our interest and our skills. By giving ourselves the chance to ‘step up’ and step forwards, without the pressure of having to do any grand things, we give ourselves the permission to set in motion the momentum that will continue to take us forwards. One small goal accomplished might well spark the motivation and inspiration to take on something new until those wonderful, creative, inspiring and well lived moments add up to an engaging and well lived, inspiring life. These little actions don’t even need to be something new, we can do things we’ve done before, but that we’ve drifted from, and so bring back a fresh dose of that creativity and engagement with our own lives.
So what might be on your ‘list’ for intentionally setting a small goal? And how might these things add up to other opportunities and new or deepening connections with other people?
I’m going to give it a go to come up with something for myself just now, and hopefully spark some inspiration for us both. Happy planning! 🙂
Go to see a fireworks display with a friend (already in the diary! 🙂 ).
Finish listening to the audio book I started.
Catch up with friends over dinner, and get to know new people that my friends invite.
I recently went to a pottery painting place and told my friends about it. One of my friends wants to go with me, and to bring a friend along who I don’t really know but have met once, a person who is very creative but in different ways from me. Who knows what opportunities of a happy, relaxing time with good conversation, creativity and inspiration, with potentially the seeds of a new friendship, might come our ways?
Plan some small craft projects and make personalised gifts for friends.
Write a new blog post.
Print out photographs from this year to make an album of memories to look back on, and maybe do some creative things with them like scrapbooking, personalised Christmas photo gifts for friends, or putting them on my wall to make me smile when I remember the good times.
Plan or get involved with a charitable event for Christmas such as the Christmas ‘shoe box’ appeals, food ‘advent calendars’ to collect items each day for homeless people or others in need.
Write a thank you card and send it to someone to show that they are appreciated.
Learn a new song on the violin.
Try out another new type of craft.
Do a jigsaw puzzle.
Arrange a ‘games night’ and bring some friends together for a relaxed and cosy evening, which might give an opportunity to invite people who don’t yet know each other but who might ‘gel’ as friends and extend our friendship group, potentially leading to new fun times and adventures in the future. All of our friendships had to start somewhere, right?
Tidy a small area of that room I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. Maybe this will lead to a bigger home project in due course, or lots of little efforts adding up over time can lead to decluttering, reorganising and refreshing that ‘problem space’ or area in the home.
Make time to read that book that I’ve somehow forgotten about.
Have 15 minutes of creative writing time.
Have a ‘colouring in’, arts and crafts afternoon.
Learn a new recipe.
Cook something to share with a friend at work.
Find out about a topic that I don’t know too much about at the moment and educate myself in new things.
Set aside time to exercise.
Set aside time to read some of the amazing blog posts from other bloggers out there! 🙂
Plan a ‘random act of kindness’ for someone.
Get creative with expressions of gratitude. Journal, scrapbook, write out letters, prayers, or draw a ‘gratitude tree’ and fill in new ‘leaves’ every time I want to write down something I’m thankful for and appreciative of.
Think of 5 people I want to encourage and / or compliment and make the time and effort to sincerely encourage them.
Have a film night by myself.
Go out for lunch with a friend and catch up.
Think of things I’d like to do as Christmas approaches.
Plan out an outfit for work.
Visit someone I haven’t seen for a while.
Start taking a small notebook around with me to ‘doodle’ in, draw and write down inspiring thoughts and ideas, or interesting observations.
Have a ‘musical’ afternoon with other friends who play instruments.
So there are a few things off the top of my head to help get us started. The lovely thing with little goals is that they take the pressure off us from feeling we need to take great big steps or even leaps forwards in our lives in order to make a positive change. They also, by nature being something more attainable and achievable that we can fit into our everyday lives and also include other people in, can lead to the introduction of new and special elements into our lives. For example, by trying out something new in doing the pottery painting earlier this month (which is reasonably priced and affordable), I have ignited interest with friends, and this could lead to a regular creative part of our lives where maybe once a month or every couple of months we can get together at this pottery place and be creative, chat, and bring along friends who the others may not yet know, thereby increasing and deepening our connections and bringing value to all of our lives.
Who knows what amazing things can result from the ‘smallest’ of actions, or the littlest of goals set and acted upon? 🙂
So over to you….what little goal are you going to aim for?