Welcome to a New Year! I hope you’ve enjoyed whatever you wanted to enjoy over the last couple of weeks and are now ready to hit 2019 with vigour. I’m here to help you, so all will be well. Trust me.
Last January, I began my 52 Ways to Wellbeing and you could have been forgiven for thinking that this meant I’d be doing 52 over the year. Otherwise, why 52? Well, that’s what I thought, too. That was my target and I missed it. Failed, you might say. I’d actually realised in October that I’d struggle to make my self-imposed deadline. I had my daughter’s wedding in November, the deadline for delivery of Body Brilliant on December 21st, and a bracing schedule of events throughout the year and well into 2019.
Once I realised that I’d struggle, I had to make a decision: push myself to meet it or move the goalposts. And moving the goalposts is what I decided to do. And this brings me to the next of my 52 Ways to Wellbeing:
#47 Adapt to the Situation
Humans are successful because we are so adaptable. But some humans – and I’m one of them – often trap themselves in unnecessary rules, become blinkered by rigid targets and lose sight of the most important things. A successful life, for me, is not one where every goal is met. It is one where many goals are met and the individual is still standing strong, ready for more. It is one where opportunities are sought and found and sometimes replaced by better ones. It is a life where the priorities are right and moveable.
When a situation changes, change with it. When the wind blows, bend, don’t break. Strength is bendy, not rigid. Rigid is brittle. Brittle breaks but bendy whips back and becomes stronger.
In my particular situation, yes, I thought one idea a week was a good target. But the situation changed and more important things came along. I had some choices:
- Achieve the target but do it and everything else less well – not an acceptable choice for me.
- Achieve the target but make myself ill – not an acceptable choice for anyone.
- Recognise that this target was less important than the others and allow it to move – easily the best choice all round.
After all, who cares (apart from me) that I didn’t do 52 posts on this topic last year? You don’t. But who would have cared if I’d been ill, or not helped with (and enjoyed) my daughter’s wedding, or missed my deadline or prepared some poor quality talks? Each of those things would have impacted some people.
Adapting to the situation allowed me to practise self-care – something I’ll talk more about later. We have a duty to look after ourselves and it’s not as difficult as you might think. Keep an open mind about the situations around you. What is changing? What opportunities are opening up that might be better than the one you’re fixated on? What targets are you setting yourself that can’t be met? What can you remove from your life that would make it better and allow you to succeed and thrive and aim for even better goals? Analyse, think, use that human brain you’ve been given: adapt.
I know that my first months of this year are going to be colossal. I have several overseas work trips – Turkey next week, Dubai in Feb and then again in March, Northern Ireland (yes, I know that’s still the UK but it is overseas, technically!), the Netherlands and Jersey (ditto) – all of which need a lot of prep. And a load more here in England and Scotland. A book to complete (yes, I met the deadline but that was only the core text – there’s more to do) and various projects in the pipeline. I will have to be very careful not to set unmanageable extra targets.
Keep part of your mind on the big picture and part on the closer details. And be prepared to jump between the two. That’s what I’ll be doing.
Join me in an exciting, successful 2019, in which we bend but don’t break! Flexible, not rigid, remember.
Photo of palm trees © Jessica Devnani from Burst