The New Year brings new hope, new opportunities, new thoughts, new ideas, maybe even a new You.
Wait a minute – why don’t we have that opportunity every day? We actually do, but together worldwide we celebrate the start of a New Year and view it as an opportunity to create something totally brand new. It’s like we are all starting at the same time. Almost like someone somewhere universally is yelling ready, set, go!
Personally, I don’t think we should short change ourselves and just think that has to happen when the calendar changes. We can choose to make things happen whenever we feel like we are starting to move away from our intended goal and take a moment to recharge the battery to get us back on track.
As of last night many have made New Year’s resolutions, others may have just decided that this is the year they are going to make some changes in their lives, but decided not to call them goals.
Somewhere between January 1 and Dec. 31st I’ve heard people talk about the dreaded resolution regret. Resolution regret is when you set the resolution and regret the fact that you never lived up to it. It unfortunately brings with it the feeling of failure, loss, defeat and of course all of the ‘I should haves’.
Why, you may ask, do we set goals each year and say this year is going to be different or I am going to achieve and live by these resolutions and then don’t, and then say ok I’ll try again next year? It doesn’t have to be that way. We have the tools to change that line of thinking mid-year if needed or one month in.
Thought I would share a personal resolution story:
The picture of the jar above is a picture of a jar I decorated. It took me time to think about all the words I wanted to paint on that jar. I am so not creative, so I had to get over the fact I knew that and move on…… I wanted it to be special and symbolic and inspirational. I actually saw this project on Facebook and thought it was kind of creative. I painted it on Dec. 31, 2013. I bought special paper to cut into strips to put in the jar. My resolution was that on those strips I was going to write down what I was either grateful for from each day of the year or what happened that day that made me happy. I then was going to read the strips of paper on Dec. 31, 2014 so that I could remember the highlights from the year.
As you can see, there are no strips in the jar. Why is that you may ask? I had the paper and the jar was decorated. Well, I never cut the special paper in strips. I had no plan of when I was going to find the time to write down the things I experienced that I wanted to remember. You see I thought it would naturally just happen. So, for the first few days I thought in my head what I wanted to write on the paper when I found the time to cut the strips. It seems I couldn’t even find five minutes to cut the paper, but how committed was I to doing this? Then, I felt guilty for missing the first few weeks and thought ‘oh well, never mind’. Now I can’t find where I put the paper anyway. (Does any of that sound familiar to you? The excuses I mean?) I had moments of guilt throughout that entire year as to why I had not taken five minutes to make this happen. But, wait I went out to buy the jar, I bought the paper, I decorated the jar, I made the time for all of that. Why did it bother me so much that I was late in getting things written down that I just said forget it? That was the perfectionist in me talking. If not done right, don’t do it at all. Why couldn’t I find the paper? That was the person who was too busy feeling overwhelmed to even look. What did I gain from all this negative self-talk? Nothing – an empty jar as a reminder of what I didn’t accomplish, but for me now it represents a lot more. I paid attention and learned a lot about myself and about my thinking process. Maybe the resolution wasn’t supposed to be what I intended. Maybe as much as I wanted a memory from each day that year I needed to first take a look at how I was going about life. I know kind of deep, right? The way you do anything is the way you do everything and as you can see that had to change.
Now the above picture is the 2016 version. It will continue to be a work in progress, but has four sides of pictures of inspirational sayings. I am calling it my vision cube as opposed to a vision board. The blank strips of paper are cut and there is a pen in the box ready for grateful action. The first piece of paper with the first thing I am grateful for in 2016 is in there. I will be writing these things down right before I turn out the lights every night. This cube is now placed on my nightstand.
You see now it’s not just a goal to fill the cube with memories – it’s a goal with a plan and one other word that I didn’t have last go around – commitment. I am committed to doing this daily and if I miss one day I know I will feel a little pang about it, but it will not stop me from continuing to share what I want to remember from the days past. No reason I cannot go back a day. Why does perfectionism have to cost me the entire process?
Your diet may start today, but what is your plan for sticking to it should something come up that pulls you from it, changing your job in 2016 may be on your list of resolutions, but what is your plan for making that happen and what is the end goal date that you want to make this change. You may have a goal around doing more for you in 2016, but not much is probably going to change in way of how many things are on your to do list, so what is your plan for making that time and when during the week or day will you put the time aside and how long each time will you take for you?
Whatever you plan on doing no matter what time of year, a goal with a plan is so much better than just a goal without any steps of how to get there and include a little forgiveness if somehow you veer off the track as long as you get right back on. What about paying attention to what made you change course, so you can better understand what may make you go off course in the future and you can have a contingency plan. Us perfectionists sometimes use veering off as a way to not move forward because the setting isn’t perfect. Well, no more excuses!
If you haven’t started or don’t know where to begin when making a resolution or setting goals because it seems so overwhelming, here are some questions and tips that may help you to put some things in motion.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What has been on my mind that I know I want to accomplish, but have allowed obstacles large or small to get in my way?
- What have I wished and dreamed of, but have allowed fear to hold me back from doing?
- When was the last time I made a resolution and thought forget about it I can never accomplish that?
Tips for accomplishing:
- Once your goal is set you need to put together a plan on how to get you from point a to point b. It can be small steps. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
- Work towards reaching your goal by putting time aside each day/week or month depending on the goal. If its losing weight for instance you would need to keep up with it daily. You could keep a food and exercise journal.
- Keep reminding yourself of your commitment and why this is important to you. It will keep you organized and on track.
- Positive self-talk is so important. Once your inner voice starts with the should have or could haves it’s time to turn those words into I am and I will. You cannot go back if something comes up that you feel bad about that you could have done differently, so think about moving forward, not backward.
- Celebrate – your decision to create a resolution, the first step and each step you take after that as you get yourself closer to the end result. You got this!
So, this blog is not just about making New Year’s resolutions and sticking to them. It’s about setting a goal any time of year, no matter when the thought comes to your mind, and creating a plan that you can be proud of and follow, so that you are not waiting until Dec. 31, 2016 with regret saying I plan on trying again in 2017. Oh, and by the way, if you have a goal that is going to take you to 2020 to do that is ok, as long as you have a plan of what you want to accomplish each year leading up to 2020.
One last thing – after the goal is achieved – how will you celebrate? I would love to know how you celebrate your best YOU when you have achieved something you have worked for or have met some sort of milestone. (There were a lot of you’s in that one sentence!) Please share how you celebrate your wins and who celebrates with you! We spend so much time on the inner work and setting the goals and working towards them that we don’t take a time out and give ourselves the high fives we deserve along with a few minutes to pull off our favorite Happy Dance or as I call it the Dance of Joy! Taking the time to celebrate your great wonderful self will only give you the energy you need to set that next goal. Happy New Year to YOU!~
Please share your wins with me and how you celebrate. Would love to read about them!
Remember Today is the Day!