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Ready…Set… Start. Stop. Continue.

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All the New Year’s Feels

The ball has dropped, you’re picking confetti out of your hair and you’ve come to the realization that the New Year is here and you haven’t really thought about what you want to accomplish in 2018. It’s ok, I feel you.

Or maybe you’re super organized and already taking inventory of things you want to change, improve, etc. Yes, girl, yes! 

The first of the year is as good a time as any to be self-reflective, but I’m going to challenge you to do it differently this year – ‘cause I like to be different y’all. And because people get stuck in their own heads over setting goals or figuring out what to focus on. We over-analyze, over-think, obsess, and then give up usually.

There’s a better way.

One of the things I took from my corporate life as an executive speechwriter and coach, was an exercise that provided a quick and simple way to assess whether something was working. It could be a product launch, a new procedure, process or policy, or, simply a self-assessment of a speech or presentation. Done usually at the end of an event or project, a group of us would sit down and say, “what would we start, stop and continue?”. Simple, right? What should we start doing? What didn’t work well that we should stop doing and finally, what worked, and we should continue to do?

Fast forward to today and my work as a health coach for professional women, and I find myself using similar strategies in my assessment phase of working with new clients. Assessment like this, along with an action plan and accountability along the way are at the foundation of my health coaching philosophy. You cannot be successful at improving your well-being if you don’t have all 3 A’s.

What I love about this exercise is that it covers all the bases and allows you to recap, review and retool without overthinking it. SO…let’s use this for New Year’s resolutions. Ask yourself… “What will I start, stop and continue in 2018?”

Here’s how I’d recommend doing it.

Step 1: Block 30 minutes. This is not meant to be something you ponder for days and weeks. It’s meant to be a high level, general assessment of your efforts over the last year. Specific goals, actions, and next steps for improvement can come later.

Step 2: Find a Quiet Place. You need to focus on yourself. Minimize distractions. And, this is a solo activity so don’t sit in the kitchen with your family and ask them what you should start, stop, and continue. Do this for YOU not for what you think others want from you.

Step 3: Get writing! Grab a journal, notebook or 3 pieces of blank paper. Write START, STOP, or CONTINUE at the top of a blank page then spend 1-2 minutes on each question and write whatever comes to mind. Use a timer so you don’t spend too much time overthinking it. There are no right or wrong answers. It’s like a brainstorming activity at work. Just write what pops into your head but keep thinking “What do I want to Stop/Start/Continue.” There will be repeats, nonsense words, etc. Get it all down on paper.

Step 4: Look for the Common Themes. Identify similar themes and consolidate them into 1-3 general ideas. For example: if under the category of “STOP” you have several words or phrases like, overeating, stress eating, eating out, etc., group those under “poor eating habits.”

Step 5: Pick 1 From Each Category. From the common themes in each category choose 1 thing you’ll focus on starting, stopping, and continuing.  Write each one in your journal like this…

“In 2018 I will START______. In 2018 I will STOP______. In 2018 I will Continue________.” You’ll come back to them when you are ready to set SMART goals and action plans.

There you have it. 30 minutes; 3 areas of focus for 2018.

Something to work towards eliminating; something you want to implement as a new habit and something you’ve done well and want to keep doing. Boom! You are well on your way to becoming that healthy, happy and productive person you’re meant to be. Way to go (high five, fist bump, woot)!

What’s Next?

Now that you know what you need to focus on, let’s talk about action and accountability. These are often the most difficult phases of resetting your health habits. Setting goals around these themes is a critical step because it’s not enough to just say “I’m going to stop eating out in 2018.” How are you achieving that goal? Why is that goal important to your health? And, then there’s the sticking to it. Accountability and stuff. Yeah…that’s what I’m here for. Let’s chat. Hit me up with your Start, Stop, Continue answers and we’ll get on a call and see how I can help you set and achieve your 2018 goals.

In the meantime, if you’re not part of my private health and wellness Facebook group for professional women…Fit, Fab & Fierce Health & Wellness Tribe for Professional Women, well…get over there and join us!

Have a safe, healthy and happy New Year! Much love from my family to yours!

Xoxo

Niki

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