We all needed a reboot from last year with the ringing in of this new year. Although coming up with New Year’s goals/resolutions is a fun activity that solidifies some purpose into our year and gives us some great conversation starters with friends, our goals/resolutions quickly fall to the wayside of broken or lost dreams within 3 weeks of the New Year.
We bemoan our inefficiency, our lack of motivation, and our laziness to carry the burning torches of hope we made out our resolutions to be. Then we fall into the grind of daily life, the hope of permanent change dying on our sighs.
Quite the depressing picture, isn’t it? Are you tired of this routine you’ve set up for yourself every year? I was feeling it 2 years ago. Then I changed the whole way I look at New Year’s resolutions. See, they’re not just some goal to be check marked and you can say, “I did it! What’s next?”
Yes, that’s part of it. Yet, haven’t you noticed that there’s always something else to do on the big TO-DO LIST of life? Looking at it all is OVERWHELMING!
It’s about the journey, not just the destination. It’s about the striving during the good and hard days to attain the satisfaction that comes from a hard day’s work, knowing that it brings you one step closer to a goal that will bring joy and will help serve you, your family, your friends, and your communities.
So let’s get to it! How do we do this?
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Because excitement buzzes in our veins during the days leading up to New Year’s and the days after the holiday, we look at all the changes we should make and come up with 10-12 resolutions that we promise we’ll keep. Seriously?! Our brain has enough to handle as it is with every day and its demands, let alone 10 new things we’re going to change about ourselves. Give yourself a break! Pick 3-5 goals that you know you can reasonably manage.
2. Think before you promise.
Don’t make idle promises that you know you can’t keep. How do you know if you can keep them or not? Take some time to meditate on the year that has passed and see what practices helped you achieve your goals and which ones didn’t. Did you set aside time to learn more about your business or personal growth either through online courses or books? Did you have a community supporting you in your endeavours? Did you choose key people who you could look up to and mentor you?
Maybe you’re the type of person who needs to write down your goals and post it in a place where you can always see them. What about visualizing your goals coming to pass? Do you see that finished manuscript in your hands? Do you see yourself doing calls with all the people you’re coaching? Visualize all the details and the steps that would lead up to the finished product. Keep them at the forefront of your mind continually.
3. Come up with a game plan.
You’ve come up with a reasonable goal. You can see yourself accomplishing the goal and living out its satisfaction. But how do you get there? It may still seem insurmountable. Too much in one shot! Which it would be if you only had a day or a week to do it. But you don’t. You’ve given yourself 10-12 months to complete it. Reverse engineer how you’re going to reach the destination (while enjoying the lessons of the journey). Set up a system that will propel you to your goal.
For example, in my video of what my writer’s goals are for 2021, I set out to read 50 books this year. There’s about 52 weeks in a year. I’m going to read a book a week with a grace room of 2 weeks. If I’m going to read a book a week, I’m going to divide the number of chapters or pages by 7 and read that particular amount each day. The discipline comes into play when I look at my day and say, “Where will I make this a priority?” Not, “Where can I find the time?” No one can find time, but everyone can make the time. Your goals are a priority. Make the time for your priorities.
4. Keep up the motivation.
Sometimes we don’t reach our goal(s) not because we haven’t done the above steps but because somewhere along the way we’ve lost the drive to make them come to pass. One of the biggest attacks on our motivation is lack of self-esteem due to a temporary failure. For example, you’ve determined that you are going to work out every week day of the year without fail. Well, you’ve already shot yourself in the foot when you determined without fail because you will fail.
Failures are not the end of the road. Failures set you up for future success. What you couldn’t accomplish today you will accomplish tomorrow if you view failures in the proper light. We cannot achieve perfection, but we can achieve a better tomorrow through unfailing practice. And practice guarantees failure.
So, don’t beat yourself up when you do fail. Learn from it and keep striving. Give yourself grace just, as I hope, you would give to others.
A proactive way to keep up your motivation is to always keep the big picture in your mind which is more visualization throughout the year on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Assess where you are in relation to the big picture and whether you’re hitting your strides when you want to.
5. Reassess if there’s a need.
Just because you’ve set some goals for yourself doesn’t mean you can’t rearrange them if there’s a call for it. Perhaps you did bite off more than you can chew and you realize it during springtime. So rearrange your goal so that you hit the middle mark of it by the end of this year and finish it the year after.
Perhaps, a death in the family or some other major upheaval in your life causes a temporary halt on your progress. It’s okay. Take the time to grieve, to rearrange your life in a way that sets you up in a mentally and physically healthy place.
Or maybe you only think of a certain goal months after New Year’s. It’s important to you and you’ve done all the steps above. Go ahead and incorporate it into your year’s goals. It’s what I did when the lockdown happened last year mid-March. Centr, an exercise program founded by Chris Hemsworth, was giving 6 weeks free to try out the home program. I signed up and loved it so much that I signed up for the whole year ahead of me. It was an incentive to work out daily which I have done mostly faithfully and have continued to do even though I’m now 7 1/2months pregnant.
6. Are you a person of integrity?
Finally, it comes down to your will. If you make a promise to yourself, are you going to keep it? Can you truly say you’re a man or woman of your word? How much does that matter to you?
Striving toward your goals says a lot about your character. Isn’t that what’s one of the most important things at the end of the day? How you relate to others and yourself is more of a legacy than all the money, achievements, and accolades in the world.
You made a promise. Go out and do all you can to keep it. Don’t let your goals become broken remnants of what if’s. Let them be a testament to who you are and your character.
If you’re a writer and want some inspiration for some goals you’d like to hit this year, take a look at the first episode of my relaunched Youtube channel Pen to Paper in which I talk about my well-rounded author goals for 2021.
Is there any other method that helps you keep your New Year’s goals? If so, please share below in the comments so others can benefit from your wisdom:)