Happy New Year! Happy NEW Year full of possibilities. A chance to start fresh, wipe the slate clean, another chance to do things you’ve always wanted to do. One year = 365 possibilities…and hey, this is a leap year so you actually have 366!! I’ve said, written, texted, and bitmojed “Happy New Year” to everyone I’ve come in contact with. I’ve heard the quintessential resolutions; This is going to be the best year yet!”, “I wish you nothing but the best!”, “Health and prosperity for all!”. How can you maintain this momentum after the party is over? Let’s look at ways to go beyond the resolution.
How many times have you used the start of a new year to give you the momentum to make it over the hump? It’s electric! Everyone stays up late, in some cases, champagne is flowing, glitz, glam, music, party favors, and even a countdown. Sounds like the right recipe right? The clock strikes 12 and there are hugs, kisses, and high-fives. We made it! Made it through another year, brought it to a close, moved the calendar forward, and now we have a chance to do something new.
Jan 2nd of course. I don’t think any of us are fooling ourselves to think goals are put into action at noon on the day after a mind-blowing holiday. That day is for sleeping in, reflecting, eating some ham & beans, and get ready...to get ready. By then, however, you have your resolutions in mind. What you are going to do differently from the start. A goal to jump-start your year. What’s yours? How and when do you determine your new year’s resolution?
This weekend I witnessed a family creating theirs together and toasting after each one. One was to travel more, finish a project, take a class, but the best was the Mother who wanted to lose 20 lbs and was willing to give each person $500 if she missed the goal. I almost spoke up to get a piece of that action!
What crazy resolutions and conditions have you made? What is your normal time limit?
Matt and I make annual goals with quarterly targets. We do this with a lot of thought and not toasting at midnight. I have a journal book that I keep our year-end list and goals for next year. It so fun to check things off and see how much you’ve actually accomplished and then brainstorm about what’s next. Our goals have more to do with developing our businesses but could include things like, meet new people, read more books (set a goal for the amount) or travel to a destination.
I know better than to profess a grand weight loss attempt or even to increase my workout or for me, to just start working out. FAIL. I have done the looser and more broad versions, to get more exercise and to eat healthier. So subjective but if you squint, I might have accomplished that one. Last year it was to stop feeling guilty about not wanting to do those things. I’m actually close to mastering that one.
CNN Health says to:
- Make it specific - Eating better and exercising more are all nice ideas, but they're too general and don't give you a plan of action.
- Make it possible - Avoid resolutions that sound great but are unattainable. In fact, make them something you will enjoy.
- Allow yourself to fail - Everyone screws up. Expect to have occasional slips. But don't let the occasional missed exercise class or Friday workplace donut throw you off course.
- Set yourself up for success - Know your limitations. If you're avoiding sweets in the new year skip the bakery aisle at the grocery.
- Know yourself - Decide the type of person you want to be, then prove it to yourself with small wins over time.
- Make it public - If you're surrounded by supportive friends and family, making your goals public and asking for accountability can help.
- Show don't tell your children - Parents can open the door to a conversation with their children about resolutions by talking about their own reflections and hopes for the new year.
- Change it up - Instead of being overwhelmed with one big goal consider a year of 12 monthly micro-resolutions.
Goals are important. Looking ahead and finding ways to improve, learn, and grow is important. But goals shouldn’t be only thought about or confined to the first quarter of every new year. However, breaking a big goal into quarters is an easy way to easily digest a major milestone. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with your already busy 9 to 5, day-to-day by trying to find the time to “improve” yourself. But focusing on just 90 days at a time can seem more manageable. So pick a goal, something with a little more wiggle room that you can tweak, adjust, or clarify as you go. Then look at all the steps you need to go through to hit that goal. These could be logistical, financial, personal, or emotional. Make a map for your plan of action and create quarterly milestones.
Now you have a reasonable and achievable process with built-in destinations for celebrating your wins! Go You!
It’s important to find an accountability partner to give you constructive feedback while keeping your focused. Share your quarterly plan and then meet regularly to check your progress, strategize to overcome any challenges, and modify the plan when appropriate. Oh yeah and don’t forget, to celebrate with you when milestones are met. That’s so important!
Ok, I’m sure by now, you are feverishly writing down your goals, your milestones, and even some pitfalls to be mindful of but let’s go back. I want to go back to 11:58PM on Dec 31st when the music was picking up, people were getting closer together, and glasses were being raised. I want to remember that feeling. The feeling of accomplishment, of comradery, and of hope. We were celebrating together, whether at home or at a fancy party, we were all in sync wishing our friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and even strangers a Happy New Year. Wishing them well and encouraging them with the hope of a happy new year.
How can we keep that same feeling of hope and love for our fellow human beings throughout the year? Beyond the resolution? At that moment we weren't thinking of politics and how they divide us. We weren’t thinking about religion and what defines us. We weren’t thinking about race or gender and what separates us. We were thinking about hope and how it binds us all together.
At that moment, through the excitement, it was natural but to maintain that all-encompassing feeling throughout the year, you will have to be intentional. Each day we are hit with joy-stealing, hope-crushing opposition. So as you are creating your goals and developing your action plan, remember that feeling. When you are met with the ghost of year’s past, the one that continues to divide, define, and separate us, remember that feeling.
Together, we are so much stronger and productive. Hope exists to help motivate us to see opportunity, to believe in possibility, and to strive for better. Encouragement is the fuel. Tell someone they can do it, tell them that you believe in them, tell them they deserve all life has to offer and then some!
CHALLENGE: Remember those feelings that unite us instead of those that divide us. Harness the excitement of a new year full of possibilities and use it as fuel to get over the hump of self-doubt. Reach out when you need encouragement and inspiration - you might just be that, for someone else.
I Know YOU Can Do It!