March 2013 Reflections



Hard to believe how fast this year seems to be passing.  Here we are already nearing Easter and it only seems a few weeks since Christmas.  Although it is good to have another break coming up, I wonder if this makes it harder for us to settle down into a regular routine for the year?  It can cause us to delay doing things which we need to do.  We may tell ourselves that we may as well wait until we get the next holiday out of the way before we proceed with a new task or goal.   A few of my clients have reported feeling like this and so this newsletter will focus on how to get back on track. 

When we approach something which is difficult we can often look for things to distract us.  How often do you find yourself putting off a challenging task or avoiding confronting a problem because you tell yourself that "I will do it after the holidays" or when I have more time?  This approach can be quite reasonable providing we do return to the task relatively soon after.  However, when we don't commence or complete these tasks this can lead to us feeling frustrated with ourselves and sometimes guilty or inadequate - not pleasant or useful feelings.    When we find ourselves losing motivation or looking for excuses not to do things we previously thought were important, it is often a sign that our priorities have changed or we are getting caught up in a fear of failure.  That is the time to reflect on whether the initial idea or goal is still as important or worthwhile as you thought.   If you decide it no longer is, accept this and move on to something which is currently more relevant.   However, try not to procrastinate about something important to you because of fear.  The greatest satisfaction comes from overcoming our fear of failure and inadequacy by moving towards the things we find difficult and seeing how much we can achieve.  Self esteem, self worth and a positive sense of identity are built on moving out of our comfort zone, taking some risks, staying true to our values and working towards our goals for ourselves.  We may not always succeed, but the main thing is to know we have done our best at the time and in the existing circumstances. 

Some tips on how to refocus after a break:

1.  Remind yourself of the things you planned to do before the break.

2.  Ask yourself if they are still relevant and rate their priority in your life.

3.  Set yourself a time line for start or completion of the identified task/goal

4.  Be realistic about how much time you will need to carry this out and establish a schedule to work on it.

5.   Identify some measureable/observable signs to track your progress

6.   Set a review date and check your progress

7.   If you get distracted or diverted from the task, acknowledge this and identify the barriers which are getting in your way.

8.   Avoid self criticism if you lose focus and remind yourself of why the task is important to you.

9.   Identify your fears and accept this is normal, but continue with the task.

10.  Celebrate the completion of the task by rewarding yourself.  If it is successful you will have grown in self worth and if not as successful as you would like, ask yourself what you have learned about yourself in the process and what might you do different next time.


I hope you all have a relaxing and enjoyable Easter with family and friends. If you are going away, drive safely and come back refreshed.