What’s in a Resolution?
Why is it, every year, we’re so ready to put the year behind us? And in our haste, do we even know what we want to accomplish in the new year to make sure we aren’t left in the same mindset 365 days from now?
How about we do something different this year? After all, you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Can you? I mean, we sum up the year mostly in terms of the negative things we remember such as losses, disappointments, missed opportunities. So let’s do it differently.
List the Wins!
End this year on a high note. Whether you do it alone or make it a party game, make a list of the good things from this year. They don’t have to be huge. Ideally, it would be great to write down at least one thing for every month. Go back over your calendar to refresh your memory. Maybe you got a massage. Maybe it was your first massage; maybe it wasn’t. Who cares, it’s a positive because you took time to take care of yourself. A step in the right direction. Maybe you tried a new food. Maybe you liked it; maybe you didn’t. Either way you took a chance on expanding your horizons, and your palate. Maybe you made a new friend or reconnected with an old one.
Good things happened. We’re just so desensitized to even the smallest joys, we tend to underestimate their value to our well-being. Everything has to be bigger, better, brighter, more volume. We have forgotten how to appreciate the simplicities of life like love, friendship, good health, laughing and being out in nature. I’m riding the train home right now. It’s snowing like crazy, it’s almost dusk, and it’s beautiful. How often do you stop to take in the wonders of nature? Did you make it to the zoo this year, or your favorite place to enjoy nature? Go ahead and see what you come up with once you’ve dialed back the expectations for what qualifies as positive experiences you took time to enjoy.
List the Goals
Now that you’ve seen the year in review, what would you like to accomplish in 2018? Maybe now is where you can pull out the list of negatives and turn them into positives for the new year. When you set your goals, make them specific. Too often we create vague goals like lose weight, feel better, make more money, save money, buy a house, etc. We start with high hopes and good intentions, only to come up short on our goal.
This year, set no more than three major goals. Once you have them, sit down and write a plan for how you will achieve them. Break them down into the steps you need to take to get from where you are now, to where you want to be 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and a year from now.
Let’s take home-buying as an example. First you need to determine what you can afford. Do you have a down-payment saved up or do you need to set a goal step to save x$ every month. Have you prepared a budget to determine what you can comfortably afford to pay each month? Have you checked your credit score and health? There are a lot of things to consider before looking at houses. If you haven’t done your homework, you are likely to struggle in your quest to buy a house. This can lead to a lot of “misses” along the way, and leave you feeling frustrated.
If you use this type of approach, creating specific steps and milestones toward your ultimate goal, you are more likely to experience success. Health is no different. Having a plan reduces the stress and frustration around dieting or getting chronic conditions under control. Creating a plan that creates new habits is the best course to lasting change.
With any goal, accountability is key to sticking to it. As a health coach, that is one of my main functions; helping clients create a plan and supporting them through implementation. Life doesn’t always play along with our plans, which is why we tend to get off track so easily at times. Self-accountability is a trait that takes a lot of practice. Working on accountability with a coach allows you the space to build, strengthen and flex those muscles while having the safety net of a coach there to catch you when life goes off the rails.