Happy New Year! 2015 brought a lot of changes for me, unfortunately those changes took a lot of mental energy! The beginning of a new year is a great time to review the previous year, identify things you want to change, and take steps to improve for the next year. Most people make resolutions, but I'm going to tell you why I don't make them!
Resolutions, to me, are wishes. They're "want tos" and "it would be nice ifs" and "it's okay with me if it doesn't happens". Resolutions make me feel bad about my progress before I even start! Think about the common ones people usually make - they're vague, or set an unreasonable expectation. Please understand, I'm all about dreaming big! But at the end of the holiday season and the beginning of the new year, I'd rather set goals - specific, measurable, completable!
The key to great goals (and this is the downfall in my mind of resolutions) is to give them a deadline. For me, you'll see that I'm spreading my goals out over the whole year. I'm not going to attempt to do everything perfectly starting today. That's just not feasible. And because I know myself, I know that if I can't do something perfectly I won't even attempt it!
Let's reframe some common resolutions into goals (by the way, these are all goals of mine for 2016!)
RESOLUTION: "I want to lose weight" or "I want to get in better shape"
Most common resolution of all time (I think). It sends people to sign up for gyms and classes and buy workout gear. It causes a lot of feelings of guilt when the numbers on the scale just don't seem to move, and the clothing size is the same in July as it was in January. What if, instead of focusing on the number on the scale or the label, we made some specific goals about strength and fitness?
GOAL 1: Complete 1 round of PiYo by February 29
GOAL 2: Compile and complete 3 month 21 Day Fix/PiYo fusion by May 31
GOAL 3: Participate in 2 5Ks by September 30
The result of achieving these goals will definitely be improved strength and flexibility, and will likely be a smaller waistline. But even if more pounds don't come off, I can still be proud of achieving the goals!
RESOLUTION: "I want to eat better" or "I want to drink more water"
Both very vague resolutions! What does that even mean? Salad everyday? Cutting out sugars? Only eating food you grow for yourself? Walking around with a cup with a straw every where you go? These resolutions are so frustrating because you have to eat every day. And many times we sign up for a plan, or buy a book or a membership so someone can teach us how to eat. And we commit to it. And the first time we are tempted by treats in the office, we feel guilty and it can derail us. "Diet" is hard to measure because there isn't an endpoint - you can't set a deadline and at the end say, "wow I met my goal, guess I'm done eating!" Instead, food and other behavior goals fall under the "every [frequency of opportunity] is a new chance to make the right choice" category! This is where a food plan like the 21 Day Fix is so helpful - every day you have a goal of getting all your containers in, and you know that if you do that, you're making healthy choices that fuel your body!
GOAL 1: Drink Shakeology daily
GOAL 2: Track containers in January - hit 100% containers 3 times per week.
BONUS GOAL: If I achieve the 3 times per week in January, increase goal to 4 times per week in February. If not, February stays at 3.
It's okay to give yourself a break! You're living, you have a life! The goals are to measure progress, not to make you feel guilty!
RESOLUTION: "I want to make more money" or "I want to get promoted"
This is a great resolution. You may even be able to map out goals to achieve it. The difficulty is that often the decision on the raise or promotion is up to someone else! You don't control it! But you do control your performance, which contributes to your value as an employee.
GOAL 1: Complete training certification by May 31.
GOAL 2: Be independent of trainer by August 31.
RESOLUTION: "Personal growth"
Haven't you stated it just like this? I know I have! You know you want something inside yourself to change, or to express yourself in a new way. But it's scary to set a goal about something personal! Because if you don't achieve it, then what? But this is where those big dreams come in. What do you want for yourself? Break that down into action steps for yourself. I like to think in seasons or quarters - 3 months is a good amount of time to make progress on something that could be a lifelong dream! Mine happens to be writing a book about my own recent "personal growth" - here's what the goals look like for this dream:
GOAL 1: By March 31 - create chapter outline
GOAL 2: By June 30 - begin writing (remember, I'm doing a certification course in here, so I'm giving myself a little bit of a break)
GOAL 3: By September 30 - finish first draft
GOAL 4: By December 31 - revise first draft and share with trusted person for review
I have stitching and knitting goals as well, but I'll share those in another post. Here's to a fantastic 2016!