It's a world tradition that each year, before the stroke of midnight on December 31st and as far out as February, people make up resolutions to welcome the coming new year. Making lists of any and all bad habits they wish to leave behind, and new ones they want to carry out and fulfill in the next 365. People get incredibly excited about these plans, but not me. Although I am all in favor of re-inventing yourself and striving for new things, I've always believed that new year resolutions lead to much disappointment.
I love plans and putting out positivity into the universe for yourself. It's a great idea in theory but let's face it, how many of these resolutions actually see the finish line, let alone the light of day? On average, anywhere between 8 - 25 % of people actually meet their goals. Yet, millions of people still continue to make lists, hoping that this year will be different and all their goals will be met. So then where does that leave you? What started out as something positive, quickly turns into a negative thing - leaving people feeling like failures. Is it worth the headache? Again, I'm not suggesting that people don't make necessary changes that will help their future but, perhaps changing how we go about doing so is worth spending more time on than the actual list itself.
I've been there too. In the past, I would list a thousand things that I would change, and tackle every single year. At the end of all those years (if not sooner), I gave up. It was too hard to do. Not the actual things on the list, but how I chose to look at it. It's not because I wanted to give up on myself or look for change - the damn list was just a mile long and I couldn't possibly keep to it. The list was made up of unrealistic things, that I so desperately wanted to be finished in a month, which made it all the more impossible to do. I bet that has been the issue for most people.
So here's what I'm thinking. Why not change the process of how resolutions are done?
Why not set ourselves up for success, rather than failure, this year? Here's how I'm choosing to look at things, and maybe you should too.
Don't make a list this year!
I did not make a list this year. I refuse to set myself up for failure and right now, a list would absolutely take me down that path. It's not that I don't have goals in mind, but that's where I'm keeping them - in my head. I have also chosen not to tell everyone around me about all the things I plan to do. Whether we care to admit it or not, people aren't always supportive. In fact, sometimes they are downright cruel with the dreams of others. So this year, I plan to be a ghost. Stay quiet and work on me in silence. You don't always have to be loud about the things you want to do - let success be your noise in the end! This will help me drown out all the negativity and save me from any "I told you so's." This is my life and I'm going to start acting like it, rather than listening to the opinions and thoughts of others on how to live it. Like good old Frankie once said, "I did it my way" Someday, I will say that too.
Now, I know what most of you are thinking with this first one, "If you don't tell anyone about your goals, how can anyone keep you accountable?" If you wish to tell someone you trust, go right ahead, I tell my bestie everything. But I know she will never judge or ridicule me for mistakes or falling off the course. Instead, she'll help me assess things so that I can re-jig my plans and move forward. Others in my life won't. But the focus here is to keep yourself accountable because it's YOUR LIFE, not there's!
Set mini-goals that are specific and intentional!
This year, all the things that I will be working on are going to be strategically tailored to me.
Goals will be simple so that I am looking at things that are attainable at this moment. By doing this, also makes it easier to move in new goals for myself, once I've attained the others. It's always easier for the mind to comprehend "I want to meditate this morning" versus "I want to make sure I meditate every morning this year". Be realistic with yourself. Life happens every day and they can alter our plans. So plan on looking at things one day, one moment at a time, rather than a full month.
This past year, I had the opportunity to really look at my entire life and think about what it is I truly want. What kind of woman do I want to be and what are the necessary steps I need to take to become her? After the large dose of reality that I've been slapped with over the past 12 months, it really made me become serious about my intentions. Live your life on purpose and not for others. If you set goals based on what other people say you should have, want or need in your life, you won't be as intentional with achieving anything - because it's not what you want. Your goals should have deep importance and meaning only to you. Let the expectations of others be their problem, not yours.
Celebrate ALL wins!
Like many, I have never really taken time to celebrate my small wins, I plan on changing that. I am going to start keeping a journal and recording how my days go. It will contain everything, how I'm feeling, wins, losses, and how they both made me feel. Keeping a personal log is important because it will allow you to keep your eye on your progress and allow you to make changes or alter how you do/think about things. It keeps your mindset focused. I used to do this in the past and it was so helpful to look back on things and see just how much I actually accomplished. We must really keep in mind that on the road to greatness, there are a million little journey steps we take every day. They should be appreciated and used to cheer us on. Always make time to appreciate your wins!
Patience over blame!
As people in today's climate, we don't practice much patience and blame ourselves for everything. I heard once that anything worth having takes time, but this is a very hard pill for many to swallow. We want everything NOW and it just doesn't work that way. Try to remember to pack some patience when you begin tackling those goals you want so much. So, we must take the time to be kind to ourselves and others. We all have a story being told and everyone's path is different, so be mindful of that. We all start out with the best of intentions but fall short sometimes, and that's ok. We must learn to forgive ourselves, pick ourselves up when we've fallen off track, and move forward.
Invest the time in making things happen!
We all lead very busy lives, some more than others, but we all have to invest in ourselves. How else will we win at anything? A good friend once said to me, "Imagine if you worked even half as hard at making your own dreams come true like you do working at other people's dreams, what you could accomplish." This hit me hard because he was right. If I think about all the overtime I've put in and all the energy I spent on others, working toward their dreams it makes me sad. Especially when it went unnoticed or unappreciated. I never gave that to myself and I should have. Everything you want takes time, so take the time for yourself to achieve what you want.
Resolutions make us all feel a number of emotions - good and bad. We begin with the best of intentions and want nothing more than to win at everything we set out to do. When we don't it's easy to feel deflated. What was supposed to be a fun, productive, and friendly little list has now turned into the enemy. But, it doesn't have to be that heavy. We make it heavy. Perhaps these tools I'm planning to use will help make things less dramatic. You should try them too, and see how it goes.
Remember that no matter what happens, we learn things about ourselves with everything that we do. A good honest try at anything is a win, so don't always be so concerned about the outcome. If it doesn't end as you planned, revisit your journey and alter some things for the next time. Any resolution won't have a chance at working for any one of us unless we become clear, truthful, and intentional about what we want. So this year, spend more time learning more about yourself and what a great life means and looks like to you. Then make little things happen, slowly and patiently.
Happy New Year!