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This is not a letter about new year's resolutions

Good evening, first and foremost I must let you know that this blog post is not written by me (Lora)

You are in for a treat, because it is written by The Den's Life Coach, Lisa Luxford, who happens to be a very talented writer, I hope you enjoy the read and that it gives you some inspiration for how you would like to step into 2022. It certainly struck a chord for me and I am feeling excited and motivated for the year ahead, so without further ado...........

Happy New Year!

I hope your first day in 2022 was a good one and the day that you are reading this is even better. And if it isn't that's OK too. It is the more challenging days that can lead to real change, that can galvanise us into taking action, that help us face the hard things and make difficult choices. As Shakespeare said, 'there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so'.

This is not a letter about 'New Year New You' because quite frankly, you are probably a very similar you today than you were a couple of days ago and that is perfectly OK. You are you and that is enough. At the risk of sounding like Dr Seuss or the Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, you are the only you and you are enough, just as you are. If you want to be a more youier you, then read on!

At this time of year, we traditionally set or re-evaluate our goals. There is something about the Gregorian calendar that drives us to do this and so we do.

However, as James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits:

“You don't rise to the level of our goals. You fall to the level of your systems”

The quote originates from the Greek poet Archilochus: “We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

It is good to have goals, but if we don't have something in place that is going to get us there, we won't achieve it. Brene Brown has said on a number of podcasts that she has this quote written on a post-it note where she can see it every day.

Whatever goal you are setting yourself it also important to enjoy the process. It is less about reaching the goal, it is more about what kind of person you are becoming as you work towards the goal.

Striving towards an end point gives you a focus and a direction of travel, but once you get there – what comes next? With that in mind, I am setting myself a goal of continuous improvement. Not a goal that requires a set end point.

Continuous improvement in both health goals and work goals.

And there are some things that I want to do that I am probably going to have to let go of, there is so much I want to learn that I risk overwhelming myself if I don't do some serious thinking about what I want to prioritise and what I need to let go.

One goal I have set for myself is beating last year's step goal. I have done this for the last four years. You could therefore conclude that this is working well as a goal of continuous improvement. Here is the last 4 years' worth of step counts:

2018: 2,744,401

2019: 4,485,710

2020: 4,536,995

2021: 4,806,971

I work out what my daily average needs to be to be to reach the overall target. This year I need to be averaging over 13.5k steps per day. Much easier to achieve as the days grow longer, I will make sure I do even more than that in the spring and summer to give me a bit of leeway when the days are short in winter. That is the system I have in place so that I can rise to the level of that goal.

It keeps me going on the days where it is raining or it's cold or I am busy – I know that if my average drops, I am going to have to do even more the next day. And as it's an average and I have the whole year to do it, there is some flex in there if I really can't hit the daily goal.

What this step goal has done for me over the years? It has established a habit. I now feel weird if I don't get out for my walks. If I have sat on my sofa for any length of time, it doesn't feel like 'me' and I have to move. I keep moving as much as possible throughout the day because sitting for long periods of time isn't good for a human. It is also easy! I always needed to psych myself up for running, because it felt hard, and I didn't like it. I never need to feel motivated to go for a walk, I just do it, it's just part of who I am now. Plus, it's free and it can be done anywhere.

I used to always have weight loss goals, but the step target isn't about that anymore. It is far more about mental health and the long-term health benefits of walking. Reducing the chance of diseases related to ageing, it lowers your risk of heart disease, keeps you mobile and reduces the chances of becoming frail as you age which has been found to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. If you want to go deeper into this, I recommend listening to the podcast: Dhru Purohit episode 63. How movement radically transforms the brain. Dr Kelly McGonical talks about how it has been found that lactate which is produced during moderate exercise travels to the brain and has been shown to reduce anxiety. The whole podcast is well worth a listen.

I have other goals related to my work and fitness, but again, they are on a continuum.

I would love to hear what your goals are and if I can help you get there, then drop me a message, it's what I do and I love it!

Summary of things to consider when setting goals for yourself: 1. What are you willing to say no to in order to reach the goals you have set yourself. As Elizabeth Gilbert says, setting good boundaries and saying no to things you didn't want to do in the first place is easy. But there might be some things that you would really like to do. But we have to accept that we can't do everything. 2. Set small specific goals in order to build good habits 3. Trust the process 4. Enjoy the process 5. Don't beat yourself up for not being perfect - perfection doesn't exist What is going to be new for you in 2022? What systems do you have in place to get there? If you could have a New Year's intention, what would it be? In one word? You can book a discovery call with me via the online booking system and we can talk about what you would like to achieve in 2022 and how I an help. I would love to hear from you.

With Love Lisa

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