OUR GOALS; A HEALTHY BALANCE BETWEEN ACCOUNTABILITY, MOTIVATION AND SELF-EMPATHY

RIKKI MAY – STUDENT SPORT WELFARE OFFICER

As I’m sure many can relate, including myself in this – when I have a goal to work towards, I’m able to amp up my motivation, discipline and accountability to get to the end result. In reality though, day to day, motivation comes and goes for all of us, again myself included when we don’t have a set goal. A warm reminder – that’s normal.

By setting ourselves a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-framed) goal, it’ll set your motivation on fire. Adding in the foundations of achievement; self-discipline and accountability, this significantly increases our chances of excelling and reaching our target. In theory, that seems easy, right? If it was that easy, everybody would seemingly achieve any goal that they ever set out to do, and we know that’s not the case.

I’ve noticed that social media seems to be flooded with material about how we should be utilising lockdown as a period of time to set many goals and generally be incredibly productive. This is something I’ve written about – encouraging you to set yourself small goals. I mean, it is certainly a conveniently fitting time to learn something new. Is that essential though? No, not to everybody, and that’s perfectly okay.

It’s easy to look at social media, considering the positive and negative effects it has on our mental health, and assume that everybody is adapting well during this period and is 100% motivated, 100% of the time. The reality is that this isn’t necessarily the case at all. Their motivation levels come and go, just like our own do. They have awful days where lockdown is purely about getting through the day with their mental health vulnerabilities. You’re not alone.

As healthy as it is to set ourselves small SMART goals, such as going for a 30-minute walk, or getting up and showered before 9am, it’s also a time to develop self-awareness of our balance between accountability, motivation, and self-empathy. Let’s look at some of the tools to do that.

THREE SIMPLE TOOLS TO PRACTISE SELF EMPATHY

1. FORGIVE YOURSELF

Self-forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean completely excusing yourself of something, although it does mean that you can choose to try and look at what happened and learn from your experience. When you’ve done this, you can look at developing new tools to prevent making the same mistake again. Hold yourself accountable, then choose to let go. This is showing yourself some compassion. We all make mistakes, sometimes big ones, it’s how we choose to learn and forgive ourselves that enables us to move forward, with self-compassion in mind.

2. TALK TO YOURSELF LIKE YOU’D TALK TO YOUR BEST FRIEND

Next time you find yourself beating yourself up excessively for not exercising that day, or for eating some ice cream, or not studying – try this exercise. Talk to yourself as you would talk to your best friend. Yes, being a great friend can mean being direct with your friend because you don’t want them to make the same mistakes again. At the same time, it’s pretty certain that you’d equally incorporate genuine empathy and unconditional positive regard. You’d likely reassure them and tell them that they shouldn’t worry and that nobody’s perfect. Try talking to yourself like that. You deserve it more than anybody.

3. GET AWAY FROM COMPARISON AND BE REALISTIC

Next time you beat yourself up and compare yourself to that person on social media who seems to be flying through their Uni work when you aren’t, or if you see a friend from the gym post yet another healthy meal they’ve eaten along with their second workout of the day – I encourage you again to remember a few things.

  • They too have their ups and downs. Their motivation also comes and goes, just like yours. Social media never tells the whole story
  • We cannot always be productive given our varying responsibilities, such as; child care, caring for vulnerable family, or battling with our mental health
  • Whilst we must hold ourselves accountable to get things done, we must also be kind to ourselves and practise self-empathy too, as this is equally important

Lastly, please remember that our Health & Fitness group isn’t just used to highlight your exercise achievements. It’s a chance to check-in, chat with everyone and let us know how you’re doing – the good and the bad. So don’t be afraid to check-in. We’re all in this together, and we shall all get through this together too.

CHECK OUT OUR HOME WORKOUT HUB FOR MORE MINDFULNESS ARTICLES TO HELP DURING THIS CHALLENGING TIME.