It’s almost that time of year. You know, when everyone starts looking to the coming year and making grand plans. This is the year to lose weight. This is the year to finally quit some bad habit. This is the year to… fill in the blank. I’ve written before about how I’m not always a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because I think someone can choose to change any day of the year.
But there is something helpful about using the new year as a marker. Just as you might decide to always hit the gym on a Monday to set a good tone for the week, starting your year on a high note can really get the ball rolling. Too often, though, people make bizarre resolutions that are built to fail. No one means to, obviously, but it’s still so common that it’s a cliche to ask someone about their resolutions a few days, weeks or months down the line. This year, I’m setting some resolutions for myself, and I want to help you make amazing goals that you WILL attain.
Sounds obvious, right? You have to start out by being totally honest about what you actually want. Do you even care about kicking your coffee habit, or is it just something a few friends have commented on? Do you actually want to lose weight, or are you pretty okay with your body at the moment? Is it a goal to read a certain number of books, to go on family hikes, or are you more of a TV binge with Netflix kind of person?
Yes, New Year’s Resolutions are a great chance to push yourself, to try something new and to embrace better habits. But they should be habits that you’re actually interested in, that will actually bring you joy. If you honestly want to get rich this year, don’t make your resolution about finding balance or not swearing. Focus on what will get you closer to what you want or need, rather than some bizarre idea in your head about what you SHOULD want.
Now that you’re honest with yourself, go wild while you’re brainstorming. Do you want to drive that fancy car? Do you want to travel to the Caribbean? Do you dream of losing weight or getting strong? Think about anything and everything that you would like. Go wild daydreaming and writing it all down. Truly come up with everything that you would like to do, be or have. This is still the brainstorming part, so don’t worry about being “realistic”. Just imagine what would bring you the greatest joy.
You deserve happiness. You deserve fulfillment. You deserve to live your best life, whatever that might mean for you. Whether you want to drive a bigger car or you want to save the world, you can live your dream.
So, you want to lose weight? How much weight? If you have a goal of losing weight as a New Year’s Resolution, part of why it’s so hard to stick with this goal is because it feels so vague. Want to lose 20 pounds? That’s more manageable, and you will know when you’ve met your goal. By making sure your goals are specific, you can keep on track, and also celebrate your success instead of always feeling like the goal post is moving.
The same goes for any of your wild ideas. You want to travel? Pick a specific location. Decide on the actual things that you want to do. Price it out. Figure out how much you will need to earn or save in order to get there. Want to drive the fancy car? Same idea – find out how much it actually costs and determine what that would mean for your budget.
As for more obscure goals, you can still get more specific with them. Want to learn how to cook? Pick five dishes you want to be able to make from scratch. Want to learn a language? Choose a book to be able to read, a series to be able to watch or even a friend to have a conversation with in that language. It can take years to reach full fluency in a language or full proficiency in a skill, but you can still meet a goal once you are clear about exactly what you want.
Set a Time Limit
Is this a year-long goal? Even though years go really fast, that can seem like a long time when you set a goal. How about setting one or two year-long goals, with a few 3-6 months goals along the way? Making goals is inspiring, but accomplishing them is even more thrilling. Want to travel somewhere this year? Look up the best time to go and make your planning to hit that ideal window. Want to lose weight? Make sure that you pick a reasonable time period to lose those 20 pounds and then move on to your next goal.
Without a deadline, even the most specific goals can become vague. Things get pushed back to “one day” instead of today. Give yourself an end date, so that you have a reason to start strong and stick with it. You can do anything for a week, a month or 6 months. It’s when it’s indefinite that you lose hope and decide it’s not worth it after all.
Seek Help When You Need It
Change is hard. Really hard. Now that you have an idea of what you’d like to do, find the people who can help you get there. Want a new job this year? Work on your networking, reach out to contacts and maybe get a professional opinion on your CV. Need to lose weight or perhaps just be able to carry all the groceries in from the car in one trip like a superhero? Get a personal trainer or nutritionist to help you.
Still feeling stuck? Not sure where to start? Need help being more productive and making more hours in the day for the things you love? Want to move around the world, or across town? Hoping to find a way back to your real self after having a kid, or wondering how to deal with the constant state of flux in parenthood? I can help. Check out my coaching page, and pop me a message.