Have you ever got to the end of the year and felt drained, burnt out and generally in need of a holiday? But then life just keeps rolling along and before you know it, it’s a new year and everyone is already talking about their goals for the next year ahead. For years I would just push through and keep going, sometimes working through holidays that were important to me, like Christmas, Birthdays and New Year Celebrations or other times where I could have been connecting with family and friends, or filling my own personal energy cup. I did this for years, until eventually I realised I was just too burned out to even enjoy spending time with my friends or family or do any of the things I had planned. I was exhausted. I didn’t think I had the energy to plan the next year ahead, let alone get through the next month.
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Sometimes life gets busy and can be really demanding on your time and your energy. If you don’t stop it, it could become almost like a habit to continually focus on the end goal, rather than the progress that has been made. This has been true for me so often in the past. In my Health area of life, I used to be so focused on my weight loss and fitness goals, that I didn’t stop to appreciate how far I’d come and give myself the encouragement I needed to keep moving forward. Instead I would look at how far away I was from my goal and complain about all the effort it had taken and for what I thought was such a little result. I kept focusing on the negative, and criticising myself by thinking I hadn’t worked hard enough, or I should’ve been much further along. This negative thinking usually ended up with me feeling stuck, discouraged or just getting further and further away from my goal, rather than closer. Sometimes I would even give it up all together, only to criticise myself even more.
Financially I did the same thing, always telling myself how I was being “bad” or “good” depending on how much money I saved or didn’t save in any given timeframe. In my relationships I would continuously focus on the things I was doing “wrong” and how I could keep improving myself, always wanting to be “the perfect partner”. Now there’s nothing wrong with an attitude of continuous improvement. In fact, it’s a really awesome trait that most successful people will agree is what helps them to be successful. The key is in asking what place is that idea of improvement coming from? Is it because you feel like you’re not good enough or even that you’re a bad person? Or is it because you feel that you genuinely want to learn and grow and contribute or give back? Neither of these is right or wrong, it’s just that one way can feel more energetic and positive, and the other might feel more draining and negative.
Are You Repeating A Pattern?
At work I would only hear the negative criticism and took most things personally, which actually prevented me from doing my best work. Ever heard the saying “You are your own worst critic.” ? Well I certainly was. I thought it would help me grow and achieve more. But I soon realised that actually, it was holding me back. Instead of motivating myself, I was making myself feel scared to take initiative and go for my goals. I was becoming more and more afraid of making mistakes and less and less concerned with finding real solutions.
I began to see that my patterns of behaviour were holding me back from being the best partner and colleague or boss that I could be. Those old habits were affecting my energy levels and how I saw myself, held myself and interacted with others. My work began suffering. My relationships were strained. I started doubting myself and my decisions. My health plummeted and I put on so much weight. Overall, the self-criticism that I had thought was moving me towards achievement, had ended up holding me back instead. I knew I needed to make a change and so I sought out the advice from a professional athlete who I knew had struggled with the same ideas in the past, and had overcome them, enabling him to reach successes in life that he had never thought possible before.
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The biggest thing that he taught me and that helped me the most, was to change my mindset about achievements and success. I realised that the big and exciting goals I was often going for, required more patience and small, daily decisions. Even though I knew that they would inevitably lead me towards my goal, I still found it hard to keep going sometimes, because I was still so focused on how I wasn’t yet where I wanted to be. Sometimes I just got lost looking back on how far away from my goals I was, when really I was so much closer than before. I learned that progress is more important than perfection, because it helps you to constantly move forward on a day to day basis. It helps you stick with your long term goals and actually get the results you’ve been dreaming of. Progress allows you to seek and accept help, because getting to your goal is more important than looking like you’re superwoman (or man).
So How Do You Make The Change?
Now I set aside time each year to look back and appreciate all the progress that I’ve made, and to take note on what worked well for me, what didn’t and to reflect on what I’d like to do differently next time. This helps me set myself up for success in the year ahead, and know that I’ll be even closer to my goals just because I made the time to really celebrate my wins. It’s a time that I spend in deep personal reflection and comes from a genuine and loving place of forgiveness. Instead of punishing myself for all the mistakes I might have made or the things I might have done “wrong”, I make a point to praise myself for all the moments where I did something out of my comfort zone. Or where I took action towards a goal, or where I consistently practised a new habit that was important to me.
I like to take time out for myself each year where I ask myself a few questions to really get a feel for where I’m at. This is an important time for reflection and self care and you can really do this any time of year, whenever you make the time. If this is the only habit you change, I know it’s been worth it for me. It’s like a trampoline that has catapulted me into the future I now get to live every day, and I know you can do it too.
What people are saying about Emotion Academy:
"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria
Here are some of the questions I like to ask myself. You don’t have to do all of them. Just pick the ones that resonate with you or create your own. The others will always be here for you to refer to if you want. This is meant to be personal and individual. You know you better than anyone else!
1.) Relax and Observe
After reading this, close your eyes. Float yourself up above the timeline of your life (whatever that looks like). Imagine you are in space floating above and looking down on your last year. You don’t need to see details, just float above the year that’s past, watching and noticing how much you’re about to learn.
2.) Ask Positive Questions
From this place of observation, look down on the past year and ask yourself whichever questions come to mind:
- What have you learned?
- W at is a new or different thing that you have experienced?
- What’s a new skill or experience that you discovered you actually really enjoy? Maybe you’re really great at playing the guitar, or the gym was not so scary after all, or you discovered a new way of cooking or dancing or series to read.
- What was something that you turned out to be a pleasant surprise, even if you originally weren’t looking forward to it?
- How many achievements can you think of that you could celebrate?
- What are you most proud of?
- Where were you at the start of the year compared to where you are now in all areas of life, whether it’s work, money, relationships, health etc?
- What is something you faced head on this year rather than avoiding? Was it facing a fear? Becoming more assertive? Asked for that raise? Paid off some debt? Dealt with a difficult conversation? Allowed yourself to be more vulnerable in your intimate relationship?
- Is there something you asked for help with and feel glad that you did?
- What skills do you feel you’ve got better at this year? Emotions? Self-regulation? Resilience? Mediation? Money management? Stress-regulation? Eating and Exercise? Cooking? Expressing Yourself and your needs? Self-Care and Self-love?
- What have you gained confidence in this year?
- What is something you’ve followed through on this year?
- What habits have been serving you and which one’s have not?
- What did you change about your mindset this year?
- How have you changed your perception of yourself and/or your partner this year? What’s different?
- What has worked for you this year in service of your goals, and what has not?
Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer
Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight. In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.
This is the last step because it’s the most important and I want you to remember it! The process of never ending improvement is meant to be fun 🙂 So track your progress each time, celebrating as you go. Your mind will learn to love the process and you’ll soon start to notice how much more motivated you become naturally to move closer and closer towards your goals. I celebrate every day.
These days I look back at the whole year, and sometimes even back to when I was a child, and I acknowledge every moment I can think of where I made some progress. Where I did something that moved me towards my goals and got me to where I am today. Whenever I do this, I can’t help but feel grateful for the life I get to life right now. Give it a try. You might surprise yourself just like I did.
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