A Unique Approach to New Year’s Resolutions
Happy New Year’s everyone! Have you set New Year’s Resolutions yet?
I have not and I will tell you why.
I honestly cannot believe that I am beginning my 10th year as an entrepreneur and business owner. What a journey the past years have been. I have learned so much about myself, being a mom and being a business owner and what it means to juggle all of these roles on a daily basis. It has not always been easy or pretty, but I think I am figuring it all out and mostly keeping my priorities straight.
I grew up believing it was the right thing to do to set New Year’s resolutions. I watched parents and mentors set theirs. I watched them and myself fail to follow through, over and over and over. Most of us have experienced this in our lifetimes.
The beginning of a year does somehow magically seem to allow us the opportunity to wipe our slate clean, to start fresh and to imagine a different life for ourselves. Yet the concept of “resolutions” seems to equal setting ourselves up for failure. Do you know anyone who consistently sets New Year’s resolutions and faithfully follows through? I know a few people who do this but I know more who are like me, setting huge unrealistic resolutions that I knew I would never achieve.
I stopped setting resolutions years ago when I realized that I very rarely followed through on any of them past January 31 and would then spend the rest of the year beating myself up for my failures. Instead, I now take a different perspective.
I do firmly believe in setting goals for ourselves and creating intentions for what we want to be different in out lives. I do this throughout the year, at least quarterly, not just once and then forget about it. I also feel strongly that we should model setting and completing goals for our kids and encourage them to set goals, too.
So rather than stating the same old goals of need to lose weight, exercise more, eat better and get more organized, (all of which are true for me but why is January any different than December?) here is how I am approaching 2012:
1. I start by asking myself and my family, What do I/we want to be different this year?
This is great to do around the dinner table and you will be surprised by what your kids might say. Maybe you want more time for yourself, a clean house, a new job, better grades or a healthier body. I want more time to make art and be creative. One of our family goals is to have our house on the market to sell by March 1st. That’s a big commitment from the whole family.
Make sure now that the kids are back in school to find 15 minutes to sit by yourself and really think about what you want to be different. You can find 15 minutes just for you. Maybe at lunchtime if you work or after the kids are in bed. I like to get up early and have my coffee and quiet time before everyone else gets up.
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2. Next, ask yourself, What 1 thing can I change today to move me one step closer to my goal?
This is critical, ask yourself this simple question every single day. My friend Haley and I are doing the Couch to 5k program and we are going to run the Dash Down Greenville on St. Patrick’s Day. Anyone else participating? She has never run a 5k before and I am so excited to support her in this goal. I love her intention to exercise at least 10 minutes every day. 10 minutes is nothing, a few commercials during our favorite t.v. show! Our running days will obviously be longer, but keeping ourselves off the couch for 10 minutes EVERY day is a great goal and is one small action to move us towards our goal of being healthier in 2012.
From a business perspective, I learned that asking myself this one question every day helped me stay focused on the bigger picture of growing my business. When I ask, what one thing can I do to grow my business today, the answer is never check my email or surf the web! The answer is usually something like: call 3 new business about advertising or schedule lunch with a favorite client. The to-do list becomes very focused and very doable and not overwhelming.
3. I like to create a theme or a personal mission for the year.
My theme for 2012 is “A Writer’s Life.” I love to write but don’t make enough time for it so I am committing to writing for at least 10 minutes every day. As I was cleaning out my bookshelves, I found dozens of books about writing, journaling, storytelling, you name it! I realized I was spending more time reading ABOUT writing than actually writing. I don’t have a plan for the writing, I am not planning to a huge project like write 3 books, I just need to practice the art of writing. Although I am happy to announce that my first book will be out March 1. It’s a book called From Fizzle to Sizzle, How to Repair Your Relationships. Details coming soon.
I already missed yesterday but that’s okay, back on track today, which leads me to step 4 for successfully implementing change.
4. Promise yourself to lighten up!
Don’t beat yourself up when you miss a day of your new plan. There are 365 days in a year, don’t blow up by January 31. Be loving and kind with yourself. When you fail to follow through one day, don’t use that as an excuse to quit, just get back on track the next day! I have been a yo-yo dieter for years and have always had weeks where I would mess up my plan on a Tuesday and say, “Oh, well. I will try again next week!” Next week! How crazy is that, what’s wrong with tomorrow?
I am always harder on myself than anyone else. It’s time to take it easy, emotionally. That does not mean it’s okay to stop working towards my goals, it means that when I fall off the horse, I dust myself off and get back on again. Having been thrown from a horse before and having the wind knocked out of me, that is a meaningful analogy for me. I was miles from home. I had to get back on the horse if I wanted to get home.
5. Finally, don’t commit to other people’s resolutions or plans for you!
If you really don’t want to lose weight or exercise more or clean your house, don’t. If you are not 100% committed to your New Year’s goals, it will never happen. We have so many “shoulds” in our lives. You can only change what is deeply meaningful to you, what you know will have a powerful and positive impact on your life.
I encourage you for 2012 to look at what you want to be DIFFERENT in your life this year and take baby steps every single day.
Again, if you want support on reaching your goals, I offer several personal coaching programs to help you get clear about what you want and start moving in the right direction. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on my individual and group coaching plans.
My biggest learning lesson in life has been that I do not have to do this by myself. Having worked with coaches and asked for support from friends has helped me get to where I am today!
I have shared with you a few of my personal goals for 2012 and I have lots of them! What are yours? Feel free to share your goals here. There is something powerful about publicly sharing our goals. Let us dream with you, support you and hold you accountable. Together we can make anything happen!