Saturday, December 31, 2016

Five Practical Steps for a Promising New Year

It's the time for resolutions, for goal-setting in the new year.

I used to be an all-or-nothing kind of girl. I was either creative or not, fit or not, happy or not, kind or not ... you get the idea. If I tried real hard at something, but then failed, I figured that *something* was just not for me, just not in the cards.
For example, if I started a new workout routine, kept at it for two weeks, but then got off schedule and missed a day, I gave up completely! Yes, it was ridiculous. The same thing would happen with a diet, a goal to keep a daily journal or my goal to learn to speak another language.

Thank goodness over time, I gained wisdom, patience and endurance. I understand that I can have and keep a goal, and achieve it even as life and set backs intervene in the process.

Here’s what I’ve learned about accomplishing a goal.

1. Be very clear about your goal. Be sure to NAME it. For example: Run Marathon in November, 2017. VISUALIZE what you’ll feel like as you cross the finish line. Know WHY this goal is important to you. Some people create vision boards, some write the goal on a piece of paper and stick in on the refrigerator. Figure out a way to keep your goal fresh, joyful, alive and important.

2. Know that your goal will be achieved in BABY STEPS. Do one or more things every day or so that you will progress you toward your goal. Perhaps all you’ll do is take a walk around the block, create a schedule, read an article on a successful marathoner, shop for shoes, or research an affiliated fund-raiser.

3. You HAVE to do the work. Realize that it won’t be easy, but that’s okay. Make friends with discomfort. We set goals to make ourselves better, stronger, smarter, wiser, and kinder, and changing is a challenge. If you stick to #2 BABY STEPS, your hard and easy days will be interspersed as you move closer to the end results.

4. Don’t be obsessed with your goal. Keep it important but not urgent as you maintain BALANCE with all of the other events and activities that make up your days, weeks, months. This goal of yours is meant to enhance your life, give you a new purpose, expose you to enriching experiences and even add something to your social sphere.

5. I now come back to my opening comments about being all or nothing. Please hear this: If you miss a day, or two, or even a string of days, that doesn’t mean it’s over. Pick right back up where you left off and get back on track. Don’t wait until the following Monday or even after vacation. Start again tomorrow, or even today. Recall when you first set your goal, review the reasons and your vision. Remember that breakthroughs often happen just when things seem the toughest and you want to quit.

I practice all of these steps with all of the goals I have for this coming year, and also for long range. At the end of each day, I am thankful for the little things I managed to accomplish toward succeeding, am compassionate toward myself for where I “fell down” a bit, and reset my determination for what I can do tomorrow.

Happy New Year!

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