I got the best Christmas present of all this year- time to recharge and refocus for the new year. I go through a pattern when it’s time for a break. I veg for a day or so- watch movies with my kids, do a little bit of nothing… Then I get itchy and ready for an energy boost. Books are a big part of my recharge. Non-fiction books. I know that might sound really boring to some of you, but I’ve fixed that! I read a lot of books all at the same time. I read a chapter of this one, get bored, start another, go back to the first, and so on.
This break was a good one – I read seven books. They were all over the map – from “Go Pro” by Steven Pressman to “Creating the Lo-Budget Homestead” by Steven Gregerson. My brother recommended a book called “Becoming Your Own Banker” by Nelson Nash. Perhaps an odd choice, but as I read part of the introduction, something screamed from the pages that I want to share with you.
The author said he had been a pilot since 1947, and had learned you can’t fly in a vacuum. You must have wind – it’s what keeps the airplane in the air. We’ve all seen weather maps with “Highs” and “Lows”. He explains that in the Northern Hemisphere where we live, these Highs turn clockwise (I imagine a big circle of wind swirling above a map of our country). A large weather system can cover 75% or more of the US.
So imagine you are in Alabama and trying to fly to Chicago. Your airplane can fly 100 mph. Unfortunately, the front side of this swirly air mass is right above you, and pushing you at 345 mph backwards, back toward the Gulf of Mexico. That’s called a headwind. Even if you’re flying forwards all 100 mph that plane can fly, you are going backwards 245 mph. Unless you wanted to go to the Gulf of Mexico, you better get that plane on the ground quick.
The good news is that weather system will move. Soon it will be right above you. Again, picture the middle of that swirly mass. It’s calm in the middle. You can hop in your plane, fly at 100 mph, and be moving toward Chicago at 100 mph. This is as good as it gets, right??
Wrong! Have more patience and the weather system will continue to move. Now you’re on the back side, and the wind is blowing you toward Chicago- a tailwind. You fly 100 mph and it’s pushing you forward at 345 mph. Your speed is now 445 mph. Was that worth waiting for?
I started thinking about what this tailwind concept could mean as it applies to New Years Goals. I said I would talk about this – remember! I think we sometimes create goals that have a built in headwind. We say we have a goal to lose weight. We are going to go on a “diet” and deprive ourselves of everything that gave us that extra weight to begin with. Might as well hop in the plane and fly backwards. If you see that diet as a sacrifice, how likely is it that you’re going to successfully lose weight – and keep it off? You’re flying against a headwind.
Let’s look at another common Resolution. How about the goal to spend more time with family and friends. This one is on my list this year, so let’s look at my headwinds. I want to spend more time with my family, but I usually don’t take one single thing off my to-do list. It’s all about prioritizing right?? Wrong! If I don’t change something, take something big off the list, my resolution might as well go right outside on the curb with my dead Christmas tree.
So that’s uplifting…! Let’s talk about how to not only avoid headwinds, but how to use tailwinds to propel you even faster towards your goals.
Tailwind #1- Pick one habit that you would like to change at a time. Just one.(Starting your next goal in February is okay – January 1st isn’t magical!) Tailwind #2 – Find one big thing that you will change in order to make that habit stick.
Tailwind #3 – Change the way you think about that habit.
Tailwind #4 – Remind yourself of that habit in as many ways as possible.
Let’s use our previous examples.
- Your goal is actually to lose weight (not go on a diet- there’s a difference). So pick that one and no others right now.
- You choose one habit to change – You will always eat a big salad before you eat anything unhealthy. Go ahead and eat that bowl of ice cream. Don’t deprive yourself. Just make sure you’ve downed a salad first.
- Mindset change – you’re not on a diet! You can eat anything you want… But maybe you don’t want some things anymore. Is that food fuel for your amazing body, or does it weigh it down?
- Write “I will lose weight” or “I love what I’m eating” or something motivating to you – and put it on the fridge, on your mirror, in your tasks on your phone, wherever you will look every day.
Spending family time (this is for me):
- I need to make this goal measurable. I want to spend more time with my family – but what does that mean?? I want to spend at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with my kids each night. Now that’s a goal I can actually work towards. And just one, remember!
- I am going to stop scheduling any personal things on Monday afternoon, so I can have my office work done at the beginning of the week. That way I will be with the kids rather than on the computer in the evenings.
- Mindset change – That kid time is now #1 on the list. I will leave something else undone, but not that. (A patient once told me that no one dies if there are dirty dishes in your sink!)
- Reminders. I just made a daily recurring task on my phone that says “KID TIME!” I look at that list 10 times a day at least. I can’t miss it.
Wow, this has been a good thought process for me. I hope it helps you as well. By next week, I challenge you to pick your one goal and create these four tailwind forces. Imagine the change you could make in your world if you were flying 445 mph toward the thing you want most. I will let you know how I’m doing too.
Have a wonderful week!
Dr. Michelle Jorgensen