| I had to remap my route recently. I hadn’t realized there was a need for it until I started to fall behind on some routine tasks and missed a deadline. |
Here’s what happened.
I had identified a new work goal and was moving forward on it. I was excited. I had clarified and designed my plan, identified key people, set time aside for meetings and time to complete all of the new tasks.
I wrote about the Stages of Change model in a previous newsletter
, and I was in Stage 3, moving into Stage 4.
A few months prior I had identified new personal and professional goals and had moved through the same stages. I had completed the preparation and was in the action stage. I had been reaping the benefits of this new schedule for a few months – Stage 4.
As I was maintaining this new schedule my life was changing. I was recognizing old habits that weren’t effective and making positive changes. I was saying yes to what supported my goals in order to create the life I wanted. It felt great!
I continued to turn in the direction of my goals and found it becoming easier. My internal compass was getting stronger.
At the end of each week, I would assess my goals and then prepare for the new week. It helped me to stay on track, see the gains, see what I had missed during the week, what needed to change for the following week, and also captured the new ideas that would pop up.
As I integrated my new activities and schedule my life continued to fill in. I started to notice the presence of some old habits beginning to creep in; papers that hadn’t been filed, the presence of paperwork that needed to be completed, turning a bit of a blind eye to work that was not a hard deadline but that was vital to my professional life. And most importantly, I stopped doing my weekly assessment.
I missed the HUGE RED FLAG.
I had moved into Stage 6 - relapse – an unofficial Stage 6 of the change process.
To quote from the Department of Health, “relapses can be important for learning and helping the person to become stronger in their resolve to change. Alternately relapses can be a trigger for giving up in the quest for change. Relapse is a factor in the action of maintenance stages.”
What I neglected to realize was that even though I had been happily maintaining my goals for a few months, I wasn’t out of the woods yet. I was still in Stage 4. I needed to be very diligent and attentive to my goals and routines in order for them to become firmly ingrained in my life. The maintenance stage officially begins six months after successfully integrating a goal and even then, relapses occur.
Relapse wasn’t about my not achieving my goals. In fact, I had achieved my goals with flying colors. I had neglected to realize how much fuller my life would become as I achieved these goals. As my time became more limited, I dropped my weekly assessment, allowing me to continue along my path - not clearly seeing what was happening. I was the person juggling the plates on poles - and clearly dropping a few!
I missed a key ingredient of the Action stage.
I have seen it with my clients over and over again.
It is the importance of doing the weekly assessment. It clues us in on red flags that we can easily brush aside, consciously or unconsciously.
Being overly busy is in itself a red flag because that is the tipping point where most people fall back into living on automatic pilot. We stop being mindful and conscious of what is really happening in our lives. We begin to miss vital signs and drop the key components of our routines that serve to keep us in touch with what is really going on.
Our goal is not to work harder but to work more effectively and consciously.
I also realized how quickly a feeling of satisfaction and pride can shift to feeling overwhelmed. If you haven’t learned to be attentive to both your emotions and the facts of the situation you can easily feel defeated.
If you are able to both understand your emotions and clearly assess the situation, you are able to get back in the game with some tweaks and fine-tuning. It doesn’t shut the game down.
“Relapses can be important for learning and helping the person to become stronger in their resolve to change”. (Department of Health)
Weekly assessments give us the opportunity to revel in our accomplishments, recognize and celebrate our persistence, and value the discipline we have developed.
They allow us to continually look at our lives NOW, not what they looked like last month. We are able to continue to operate in the world using the correct map.
Take stock each week and look at your roadmap. Continual tweaking and fine-tuning will keep your path clear and within your sights.
To your best life,
Resources & Inspiration to Create Your Best Life
Skill Building - Great strategies to integrate into your life.
Plan a Weekly Review Process at the end of your week
- Schedule when and where will this happen
- Put it on your calendar
- Create a checklist of what you will review
Reflect on the past week
- What tasks have been accomplished?
- Are they complete? Is there another step? Identify the next step.
- What didn’t get done and why? Incorporate this information and make adjustments.
- Did the tasks add value to your personal/professional life? If not, re-evaluate.
- Track time – are you doing what you need to be doing or are you off track?
- Is it taking more time to perform a task than planned for? If so adjust your schedule.
- Celebrate my wins!!!
- Your daily tasks
- Your next steps.
- New ideas you want to add
- What you learned from your review – adjusting time, deleting a task…
- Your appointments