Micro-goals: 'I am now, for the first time in my life, drinking enough water'

Micro-goals: 'I am now, for the first time in my life, drinking enough water'

Micro-goals is Colm O'Regan's new word. Or sort of a word.

‘They’ are talking more about it these days. If you Google “microgoals”, it pops up a lot in articles about wellness. But don’t let that put you off. It’s just a simple breaking down of big goals into small steps that are achievable. We’re talking about common-sense wellness here. Not Gwyneth Paltrow ‘shove-bauxite-up-your-hoop’ kind of thing.

It’s presumably aimed at people with long-term goals in life, five-year plans and the like. I gave all that kind of thing up a long time ago. There was too much disappointment. I write my five-year plans at the end of the five years and, like a government rating itself, I’ve pretty much achieved all of my targets.

But I do need micro-goals. Take the simple task of tidying up.

In the evenings, after the children have gone to bed, the place looks like it has been burgled. Correction, the place looks like it was made to look like a burglary had taken place to throw the police off the scent. And actually the so-called burglars were sending a message to us to keep our noses out of the Zurbinsky case.

Either way, it must be tidied up. The task is enormous and dull. There is no glory in it. The place will be tidy for about two waking hours before the burglars come back early the following morning. This situation is ready-made for extreme phone-based dossing, thumbing dully away on Facebook. Reading some tool’s update about “now I no now who my real frends r 2019 is gonna be my year” while still holding a blackening piece of fruit in the left hand, 10 minutes after I picked it up.

This is where I need micro-goals. To paraphrase Lao Tzu, the journey of a thousand random pieces of toy plastic and part-chewed food begins with a single toy cow in a wellington or bean on the wall.

I now tidy tiny bits of space at a time. I move clockwise, counting the victories. Even the soup saucepan gets washed in one go, instead of being put outside the door in the vain hope of elves.

It’s because it is tackled in isolation, a standalone task — as opposed to being a symbol of all that’s wrong with my life.

And, AND! I am now, for the first time in my life, drinking enough water.

It’s probably one of the oldest bits of ‘They-say’ advice — how much water you should drink in a day. It’s usually a load of glasses of water. Too many for normal people. Drinking non-fizzy non-Club-Orangey water out of a pint glass is such a dispiriting drag. Most of the time I forget and then try and make up for lost time gulping down one teeth-clanky glass after another before giving up and ‘getting my water via tea’ for the next five years. 

Well, move over glasses — it’s time for the water bottle with times of the day written on it. 9am-2pm down one side. 2pm-6pm down the other. Genius. It’s been three weeks now. I’ve met my target every day. By sipping. I’m drinking so much water now, I’m peeing as if I’m due in early March. It’s crystal clear. It’s probably of potable standard in several US States where water supply has been privatised and the governor is a supporter of Trump.

The smugness is unbearable. Luckily smugness is offset by the fact the bottle is plastic and therefore, evil. To make up for the damage, I’m going to hold onto this for the rest of my life and will it to my children and they have to hold onto it for 20 years and marry someone suitable before they get a sniff of their trust fund. And I’ll have to use my new-found hydration-based mental wellness to invent something to fix our world’s palm-oil dependency.

But thats next year’s goal.

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