With only one month left before the new year, I have found myself contemplating resolutions, goals, and the changes I hope to make for myself. I think an unnecessary part of this process I get tangled in is focusing on what I don’t have and becoming fixated on what I have not yet done or accomplished for myself. Resolutions tend to do that to us, I think.
In reflection, there has seldom been a time I have created a resolution and stuck to it for the entirety of the year. Rarely does that tactic work for anyone. Many people will start out gung-ho on a new diet, workout regiment, or idea and get burned out after a couple of weeks or months because they started out too hard at the beginning. Perhaps there was no balance; perhaps there was no healthy self-talk or internal motivation. Rarely is it because people decide the goal is no longer important or worth working towards.
I do know one thing: the times that I did manage to accomplish bigger goals for myself (like quitting my full time job to create a private practice or planning a wedding with 150 guests while balancing a part time job, part time unpaid internship, graduate school, and studying for a national licensing exam) were because I had outlined detailed, short-term goals to get everything done. I was also surrounded by therapists and people becoming therapists, so I had a whole lot of support and encouragement to stay focused on my self-care and personal needs.
So, how do I go about my New Years resolutions now? How should you? Here a few different tools for you to consider.
Instead of coming up with an overarching, ambiguous goal of “lose weight in 2016”, I suggest you sit down and give your goals the love and attention they need. SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) are a great way to construct detailed and achievable things you want to accomplish or do. You must write them down. For me, if something is not written down, it really doesn’t exist. Also, writing things out increases your chances of seriously focusing on them.
Worried you will never have enough fame or fortune to ever have what you truly want or desire? It’s time to dream big.
Tim Ferriss, a leader in the entrepreneurial world and advocate for reaching your dreams, living the life you want, and being mindful through it all, offers a tool in his bestselling book The 4 Hour Workweek. His Dreamline tool helps you to take your current financial status paired with the unlimited dreams of what you want to have, be, and do, and allows you to clearly compute how to get there in x amount of time. What I like about this tool is that it lets you dream big and see what plan you could actually create to have, and be, what and who you want. You do not have to be rich to do this. I have already implemented some fulfilling things into my life at no cost because of this (learning Spanish, picking back up classical piano, building a counseling business). If this sounds enticing to you, I recommend the book.
Forget a new resolution. Just be mindful.
If you are like me, you are probably pretty much over the idea of coming up with one more goal or resolution and trying to finagle your way towards achieving it. The truth is, you have been accomplishing goals your entire life. I think the day-to-day decisions we make- from acting out of good character to cooking a healthy meal- contribute to bigger life goals and expectations we have of ourselves (to be a good person, to be healthy, to love others, etc.). Perhaps instead of identifying one large goal to work toward, focus on what you are already doing right in your life. Recommit to focusing on you this season. Become more mindful of your day-to-day actions, and how what you are already doing now is contributing to the greater goal of the person you want to be.