Setting in the New Year Right: Creating Realistic and Manageable Goals You Want to Keep
Updated: Jan 2, 2022
It would be an understatement if I were to tell you that most of us have had goals that we easily gave up on in the first week of setting them. It's natural to do so, however when we get caught up in the monster of defeat, that's the real problem. So what do I want to share with you in my very first blog post, my own commitment I am setting to write on a more regular basis. I want to share with you this: you are human and while you are human, that doesn't mean you must give up on your own visions for yourself in the new year. It means it's time to set goals that work, goals that will carry you to 2023 with a newfound excitement. And that's because this year, you'll be more honest and more gentle, and ultimate that will help with what you're really wanting, to stay motivated and committed to what you really want for yourself.
How Do I Start?
The first thing I want you to do as you set your intentions for the year, is I want you to dream. It's really where all of our forward movement begins. When you bought your car, where did it start? Did it start with imagining the dream car you always wanted? Did it start with an impulse one morning where you decided, today is the day I deserve this? Or was it even upon simply needing a new car because you knew the one you had was on the fritz? You still had to imagine yourself going to the dealership, searching through the for-sale ads, and setting aside the money to get that new, more dependable car for yourself. It all starts with a dream.
Here's the thing that happens with New Year's, or really any goal for self-improvement, we are either wanting to avoid something negative or pursue something positive. Are you wanting to eat healthier simply because you believe your body deserves better nutrition than what you give it? That's moving towards something. Or are you wanting to eat healthier because you've been lectured your whole life and that's all the advice you hear about having a healthier lifestyle. Honestly, that's more of an avoidance goal, a goal that may be a good goal but the motivation behind it is one that has a more negative association to it. These are the goals that 1) you either want to scrap altogether, or 2) simply revise to make it more exciting and truly fit what you want and envision for yourself. Because honestly if there is any hit of shame or 'should,' your goal is going to fizzle out and likely not make it a week.
Start with a dream. Make the dream feel positive and truly fit what you really want for yourself.
Here’s how to do it:
Be honest when you ask, "What do I truly want for myself?" If you want to be healthier but you honestly don't want to do the exercise, then don't. Maybe that will come later and maybe it won't. And so start with your own definition, what does "healthier" mean to you? Less stressed, more positive, drinking more water, focusing more on your body? Go with that.
Make sure your goal is simple and small. Drinking more water is an example, but it is also one that can easily become unrealistic if you compare it to what others' do, anything that doesn't start where you are at. So if you're wanting to go from drinking water once a month to drinking 12 8oz glasses a day, (that's 96 oz) good luck, because you're going to need it. Start small, start with 16 oz a day, honestly. Then stretch it, in one month, start drinking 32 oz a day, then keep going until you feel your goal is where it is at.
Be realistic. Is your goal something that you honestly can see and feel yourself doing? If it's a big no, then you need to revise your goal. Just to use the water example, if you honestly hate water and feel punished when drinking it, then what exactly are you looking for? If it is to drink less soda, you obviously need a replacement. Maybe it's not yet going to be water for you. Then start with flavored water or tea, as long as it is moving towards what you want rather than away or against what you want. Do you want to eat less sugar but when it's crunch time and sugar feels like your friend, simply cut the sugar you do consume into smaller portions, spread it out, or allow yourself a treat once a day. Moderation management is a method of improvement, because your body is still getting the benefit and you're moving towards the thing you ultimately want.
Never underestimate the power of planting seeds. Seeds start in the ground, doing all the magic of putting roots down and stretching upwards until eventually they're ready to pop out of the soil and reach for the sun. Like seeds, you don't always see the work you're starting, but your brain does. Planting seeds is knowing that there are new ideas and possibilities for yourself. It's dreaming of the sun that you can't see in the darkness, but know that one day you will as you keep stretching up. If you aren't in the action stage of your goal, start with an affirmation: I deserve the health I want for myself. Health is defined by me for my own body and my own needs. Health is broader than exercise and eating right. My health keeps getting better and better as long as I choose me.
Don't be afraid to revise. Dreams are about imagining and sometimes imagining and reality need to yoke together until they become possibility. If you wanted the ferrari but had to settle with the BMW, it wasn't that your goal was wrong, it just either wasn't the right time or you got to know that BMW and are still satisfied with your purchase. Dreams are supposed to be big and bold, but once the dream comes forth into your life, sometimes they may need to become more grounded. That's okay, because the dream still came to fruition, and the best part is you didn't stop it.
Take some time to reflect on your dreams, articulate them goals, and then put them into action for the new year. My goal is to write more. What does that mean: that means putting writing into my own workaholic nature, and making writing just as important as administration tasks and learning new skills. How am I going to do that: remind myself to relax, breathe, and that I am a human being, not a human doing. Happy new years! I'm excited to get to share my own thoughts with you each month as you, too, set out to work on yourself and the life you really want for you.