We survived the holidays! Thriving through them is the goal, but it can be hard this time of year. Seasonal affective disorder anyone? Short daytime sunlight, crazy families, emotional traditions, less than ideal weather, and overeating can bring out the worst in us. But there’s always a saving grace on January 1! A new year. A new you. A huge new list of resolutions.
I am a huge fan of renewal, fresh starts, and opportunities for improvement, but, I gotta say it: resolutions don’t work! How many times have you spent an entire year achieving something that you set out to do on January 1? If you’re like most of us, the count is low. The worst? The failure behind the resolutions will only add to making the winter gloomier. No good.
The fact that resolutions are bogus shouldn’t come as a surprise. Think about the formula:
you set a lofty, generic goal and you set the time to achieve it for a one year period.
This year, I will:
- eat healthier…what does healthier mean?
- lose weight…how much weight? How will you lose it?
- find my passion…passion for what? Your career? Your hobbies? Your relationships? How will you know when you find it?
- travel more…to where? What other goals go in to making this happen? How much will you travel?
You will never achieve these things unless they are specific, measurable, realistic, and unless they are in line with your personal brand, the authentic you. To know what you want, you need to start with a great foundation: a specific vision. If you don’t know exactly what your vision looks like, you’ll never know how and when you achieve it.
Instead of asking yourself, “what are my New Year’s Resolutions”, ask yourself:
What do I want to do to make this the best year of my life?
I don’t know about you, but this question immediately warms my heart and gets my ideas flowing faster than anything about New Year’s Rez. BONUS: it gives the power back to you!
Start with the basics; what does a great day look like for you? A great week? If your vision is filled with echoes of old resolutions, that’s OK! You just need to break down the resolutions in to specific visions and then in to chunkable action items. That’s right: chunk-it-down! Say that your perfect week involves feeling/being healthier…
What does healthier mean to you (not to anyone else)? Perhaps:
- Take a walk outside at least 3 times a week.
- Try a new exercise class once a month.
- Cut intentional intake of sugar by half each day.
- Add one serving of spinach into my diet every day.
- Run and finish a ½ marathon by May.
Do you see how these goals are way more do-able than the above “eat healthier/lose weight” rez? A word on weight-loss: if you have a specific number of lb’s you’d like to lose, that’s cool. Just make sure that you give yourself enough time (none of this unrealistic and unhealthy “lose 10 lbs/week”) and set up mile markers by, again, chunking it down. Example:
I want to lose 4 lbs by the end of January.
Then go further…
I want to lose 4 lbs by the end of January by________________________ (insert fun activities, intentional eating strategies, mantras, etc.)
I will be accountable for this goal through/by________________________(insert how you will hold yourself or how you will have someone else hold you accountable…perfect for accountability-buddies!)
Another great question to ask yourself right now is:
What do I look forward to doing this year?
I love this question, because it prompts action! I’m looking forward to traveling to France this year. Because I’m looking forward to it (and have been planning it for a long time), I am encouraged to actually buy the plane tickets and to book my hotels. Plus, when people ask me what I’m looking forward to, I whole-heartedly know that this is a goal that I will see through this year.
Say you want to run your first ½ marathon by May. To look forward to it, why don’t you go ahead and register? That way, you’ll have a concrete goal date AND, double-awesome, you can start planning backwards for your training schedule.
This method of goal-making takes the pressure off of you and makes achieving your goals more fun.
Take the awesome to the next level. To make yearly goal planning even more attractive, I love to sit down with pretty markers and a new notebook to commit my goals in beautiful colors on paper. How do you want to document your goals?
- A vision board
- A motivation board
- A Pinterest board (can even be secret)
- A collage made out of magazine cut-outs
- Black and white drawings
- A painting
Get creative! But, remember, this is for you and you only, so do what is appealing to your heart.
The only thing left to do is to take action! If you are struggling to come up with specific, attractive goals, download my free Lifestyle Revolution Starter Kit to get your juices flowing for how to make this the best year yet in all areas of your life. This guide will help you brainstorm your vision and “chunk down” your goals into achievable action steps.
Let’s continue the conversation in the comments. What are you looking forward to this year? Me? I really am going to France this summer! Oh, la la!
Rhonda Hale Warren is a life coach and personal brand consultant who helps people dominate life’s ups and downs through powerful, personal brands. A firm believer in strengths-based living, she helps people live their “awesome” with authentic confidence. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Contact her directly via her website: www.rhondahw.com
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