Make the habit the goal

I’m constantly jotting down ideas into one of my two notebooks – whichever I can reach first before the idea fades away. But while I capture many of them, they usually remain as ideas – wonderful ideas that hold meaning for me – instead of blossoming into blog posts, articles or even a book, should I dare dream.

I know why this happens: it’s a mixture of perfectionism and impatience. I worry it may not come out perfect from the get go. Or I may start writing a piece, but I’ll constantly tinker, chiselling away each sentence, rather than be in the flow of it. In this way, I take forever to finish it, or I don’t finish at all. I carry the mental weight of “I’m no good” all the time.

I’m aware of this limiting behaviour. It frustrates me. But it’s something I know that I can change, which I am determined to. So I booked myself into a writers’ retreat to hopefully overcome this irritating pattern I have myself webbed into.

I’m on that retreat right now. And in our lesson today, we shared tactics for moving forward with our work rather than getting stumped by perfectionism. I found all ideas offered valuable, but one in particular hit home for me. It was presented as this phrase: The habit is the goal. And it was an epiphany.

By reframing goals into habits, I know I can work towards overcoming my perfectionism and fear of being no good. For example, in my world, the goal would be to create a writing habit – instead of to “win a writers’ award this year” or “get x number followers to my blog” or “get published”. With these latter goals, I am seeking external validation that my writing is good. But these are outcome-based goals, and are never in my control. Only the writing is.

So my new goal could look like writing for 30 minutes first thing in the morning three times a week. That’s it – to simply show up to my practice consistently (habit). With such a habit, I’m likely to write more, and improve and share my work – whether or not I win an award or garner a following. And that is success in itself, and something that is in my power.

Now, how could you redefine a goal so that it’s more in your control and therefore achievable?

For example, if your goal is to lose 10kg over the next six months, you could reframe it to: work my way up to exercising at least four times a week over the next six months, and then maintain it so that it becomes second nature.

Whether you lose 10kg or not (you might lose more!) is not the point. The point is that you create healthy habits so you that have a healthy body – which you will because of the autopilot nature of habits.

Whatever you want to achieve make the behaviours that will help you get there consistent – regardless of the end outcome. The outcome is simply the icing on the cake. You must bake the cake first.


If you’re open to it, please share in the comments below a goal that you will reframe into a habit. I would love to hear about it – and I’m sure others would too!

Lesh xx

2017: my year in review

What were my goals at the beginning of 2017? To be honest, I can’t recall, as I don’t believe I formally set any. I mostly went with the flow, and felt like I floated all year and didn’t really achieve much.

yearly reflections

Upon reflection, however, I found that this wasn’t true. I had subconsciously focused on movement and deeper connections – my two-word ‘goal’ of 2013. This made me realise that how long it can take – in my case years – to build habits, and that it’s always going to be work in progress.


In the case of movement, I still walk the dogs at least five days a week for 30-50 minutes, but the number of yoga classes I attended weekly declined from three or four, to one or two. This might seem like a step backwards, but it wasn’t.

After not enjoying the yoga retreat I went to in Greece this year, I lost my yoga mojo. Asking myself why, I put it down to two things – lack of variety and the need to feel feminine. The latter because my life felt ho-hum, flat, rigid. I wanted to feel sexy, fluid again. So, I shook things up, literally.

What replaced yoga was dance. My sister had opened a dance studio at the end of 2016. So, one term saw me do Bhangra Hip Hop, and another two terms saw me do Bolly Zumba. I even ‘starred’ in a promotional video clip for the studio (I’m the one in the white top – in my defence, the other three are professional dancers and I had only learned the routine in 10 minutes!)

I also took the Flow dance course with Dee Street Studios. The course was described as “Celebrating the sassy, the sensual and the cheeky from Afro, hip hop, r&b and dancehall, Flow gives you the space to release, love yourself and feel sexy and grounded.” Booyah!

And right now, my favourite way of moving is Zumba – mostly because I’ve discovered some fun instructors who run sassy classes close to home. Convenience matters for long-term commitment, I have found.

Also in the theme of movement, I bought myself a stand-up desk earlier in the year, since I have a desk-based profession. I usually have Latin dance music playing (influenced by Zumba) as I work, which sees me swaying my hips – thank goodness I mostly work from home!

Deeper connection

Moving on to deeper connection, this year I learned that by not regularly expressing myself in writing, I lost a part of me. I dabbled in a couple watercolour painting classes to reconnect to my core, and while it was fun (and daunting at times, for I was a true beginner), words, I realised, are my medium.

I also focused on making more time for people who make me feel positive and alive. To work out who they are, I observed my thoughts, feelings and behaviour patterns while in the company of people.

To make more time, I took the initiative – rather than waiting for them to get in touch – by messaging, calling, catching up with them (if they are based in Melbourne, too), and consuming their material if they are artists.

Other realisations

As I reflected on 2017, I realised I also did a healthy amount of travel.

It was my husband’s dream to see the Northern Lights, and exactly this time last year, from the 1st to 5th of January 2017, we braced -40°C in Ivalo, Finland, and crossed our fingers in hope that we got to see one of nature’s greatest spectacles.

Luckily, the gods blessed us two nights in a row. The lights danced in the pitch-black sky, and we watched in awe, momentarily forgetting our frozen faces.

northern lights ivalo finland

The lure of the lights wasn’t enough, though. I had brokered a deal with hubby before we booked the trip: If I was going to freeze my butt for his bucket-list item, we had to tag a place on the way home that was considerably warmer – and I chose Morocco. I hadn’t realised that at this time of year north of West Africa is also chilly. But I suppose 9°C is considerably warmer than -40°C.

For me, Morocco didn’t hold a candle to the experience I had in Finland, but it did satisfy my curiosity about a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

In May, the Greek island of Hydra called me for a yoga retreat. As soon as the yoga studio I had been a member at advertised this retreat in 2016, I jumped onto it. The idea of yoga on a Greek island with cobblestone streets, traditional tavernas, brightly coloured doors, a crescent-shaped harbour, and no cars (just donkeys!) held me in such a strong magnetic pull, that I just had to book in.

What I had learned is that I let romanticising get the better of me. Yes, I did want to visit the island, but not while on a yoga retreat (too much yoga for me) with a group of people who weren’t really my people.

While the above trips were pre-planned at least a year in advance, my husband proposed a question to me, out of the blue, in July 2017 – would I like to accompany him to New York in November when he runs the world’s biggest marathon? “Yes”, I sad, without a moment’s hesitation. It has been one of my best holidays yet.

The last significant realisation I had in 2017 is related to work.

In my 20+ years of earning an income, I’ve career-hopped enough times to have learned a few secrets about work. One of the keys ones is that jobs are like relationships. For relationships to have a hope of working, both parties need to be a good fit for each other. And by a good fit, and I don’t mean a person’s experience to the job description, but a person’s nature and working style to that of their boss’s and of the organisation’s. And if the relationship doesn’t work, it’s time to move on. Nothing personal.

I came to this realisation because of two things: years of trying to be myself in cultures that weren’t a good fit (and experiencing anguish and heartache for too long as a result), and finally finding one that did.

In October 2016, I wrote in my journal what I wanted out of a workplace at this point in my life:

Kind, compassionate, encouraging boss who sees my potential. Equally, I’m kind, flexible, encouraging and can appreciate the developmental opportunities my work offers me. The work is in the field of lifestyle health and wellbeing, and preventive health. I am able to work from home and it is fun!

It astounds me that only two months later, in December 2016, I landed a job that, after being in it for all of 2017, I can say wholeheartedly satisfies all the above, and is a close match to my core values.

Putting 2017 into words gave me greater insight about myself, made me realise what a phenomenal year it was for me and gave me clarity for where I’d to go from here.

If you’re feeling that 2017 flew by without your accomplishing much, you may like to, like I have, jot down all the great things you remember about 2017, and what you learned about yourself from the positive and the not-so-great stuff.

~ Lesh x

A mini reflection of 2013

I’ve never been the type to set New Year’s goals or resolutions.

If I make up my mind to try or change something, I usually give it a go regardless of the time of year.

2013 was a little different. I had given myself 2 words to focus on: movement and relationships. {If you’ve been reading my e-letters for at least a year, you may recall that I mentioned these in January.}

I had chosen these words intuitively.

Here’s a mini reflection on each of my two words for 2013.


I had set a guiding goal of 3 yoga classes a week {at home or a studio} and a 45-minute walk on weekdays.

On average, I did yoga in a studio twice a week and 45-minute walks 3 times per week {I went for shorter walks on other days}.

Overall, though, because I had chosen ‘movement’ as one of my central themes for 2013, I became more conscious of how much I was moving in general ~ or, to be specific, how much I was sitting.

This is where I succeeded my yoga and walking goals.

What this meant was that I became very conscious of times when I’d be sitting for 2­–3 hours straight, especially while writing and finalising my first book.

When I’d catch myself, I would get up to stretch, make myself some herbal tea, do some quick housework, prep dinner or go for a mini walk with my dogs.

Cooking, testing and styling the recipes for the ebook helped too, and so did working in the city one day a week {where I would stand at a high bench top and type; it was the perfect height}.

Just choosing the word movement was like having an imaginary pedometer embedded in my brain, inspiring me to move.


I didn’t really have any guiding goals for this word. I just knew I wanted deeper, more connected relationships with the core people in my life, and meet more people who were positive and supportive in general.

I don’t know how to measure this, but I know in my gut and heart that my relationship with my husband is stronger and more loving. What helped, for sure, is that I’ve been more forthcoming in telling him how grateful I am for what he brings into our relationship and our lives.

I’ve also been nagging hubby less by accepting his traits and behaviours that are, shall I say, not my favourite or differ to how I approach things. By doing this, I was accepting ALL of him.

It’s not to say that I didn’t nag at all {or won’t in the future ~ sorry hubby!}, but I became more conscious of the ‘automatic’ nagging that would slip my mouth, and because of that I ended up nagging less. I realised in the big scheme of life, the little things I nagged about were not worth it {in comparison to having a loving relationship with my husband}.

I also made a conscious effort to connect more with my sister and her two gorgeous boys {my nephews}, by calling and seeing her more often. I also offered my babysitting services, which she hasn’t taken full advantage of yet! {Get onto that one, won’t ya, sis?}

The last thing I want to say about relationships is that I became more aware of the relationship I have with myself, by understanding more of how I naturally ‘operate’ in the world.

I had done a little inner work on myself later this year, working with mindfulness coach, Kate James, and reading a few books, including Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, which helped me to understand {and accept} myself more. It made me realise why I related to people the way I do, why I ‘operate’ the way I do, and why I’m not a ‘ra ra’ or bubbly outgoing person ~ and that it’s ok not to be one either. It also helped me understand with whom I’m more likely to make friends with, too.

I found that having two words in areas that I wanted to improve on really helped me ~ because it wasn’t complicated. But I needed more ways to remind myself of the words and to hold myself accountable {although talking with hubby and friends helped}.

For 2014, I’m trialling something different. Something more outlined {but not rigid}, and I’m putting myself out there to hold myself accountable. To be honest, I’m a bit nervous ~ but also excited. More about that in 2014.

Over to you:

  • Have you ever tried using the two words concept {or core values} before?
  • What will your words be for 2014? And, for bonus points, think about why you’ve chosen these words ~ are they a true {authentic} fit for you?

Feel free to share in the comments below.

Wishing you a happy and soul-nourishing 2014.