Am I the only one who thinks that New Year's Eve is just a fancy funeral for a calendar? Even as a kid, I recall the last five minutes of the news each December 31st, as they recanted who died and what atrocities had happened over the past 365 days.
Then I recalled all of the things that had happened in my own life over the past 12 months. Thanks to the set up from the evening news, I could never recall the happy things and accomplishments that had happened. They were dwarfed by the sorrows.
New Year's Eve is just a sad occasion to me. Boo hoo. Sniff sniff.
But New Year's Day is EXCITING! As an OCD neat freak, it's a day filled with hope, possibilities, and new chances (not to mention three brand new calendars and planners that beg to be filled with colorful achievements). There are no eraser marks anywhere that show changes or perceived failures. Everything can be a possibility- and then a reality with the right action.
Despite all of the negative talk that resolutions and goal setting have received in recent years, I am still a believer in setting goals and making strides towards being happier, better, stronger, and closer to your dreams. Nothing in life changes without a commitment and a determination to do something different. Plus, one of the best cures for feeling blah and tense is action (aka being productive- my clients hear me preach this all of the time).
So if you want THIS to be the year that you feel your best, here are seven guidelines that will aid in your success:
- Fully commit. This one often gets overlooked as an essential step to success, but it's crucial to a positive outcome. Being fully committed to your dreams and goals is more than writing it down on a piece of paper. It's feeling a yearning to be on the other side. It's being disciplined enough to keep going, even when you want to quit and wonder why in the world you started on this path in the first place. If you're willing to find an excuse not to (insert your goal here), then your commitment is lacking. Kick it up a notch!
- Avoid planing too much for each day. Even the best laid plans are adjusted. Setting unrealistic expectations can derail your efforts and your determination. In your daily schedule, allow time for crises, sickness, being physically fatigued, sitting in traffic, something breaking, running out of printer ink, or waiting in line. It happens. It's a normal part of life. Don't let those typical things in a day prevent you from reaching your goal. Build in more time than you think you will need to do anything.
- Make what's most important to you a priority. There are some basics that come first on most everyone's list, like God and family. But behind that, put those goals. If you're determined to finish your degree, then put time towards that each day. If you want to be healthier, then make sure you make choices each day that lead you closer to that goal, not away from it. If it's too difficult to put some thought or effort towards your goal each day, then it's not a commitment. You're more in love with the idea than the accomplishment. Remember: it's OK to make yourself a priority. When you are stronger, healthier, and happier, you are better equipped to serve your family and those around you.
- Restart the clock now. Just because you didn't do it this morning, it doesn't mean you have to wait until tomorrow to do it. Do it later today. Often, when there are doubts in the way, it's easy for slip-ups to lead to procrastination and excuses to just wait and start it tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year. You don't have to wait for a fresh beginning to start anew. The next minute counts as a reset.
- Act on tasks and projects when you first have the idea. Ideas often stay thoughts instead of becoming a reality. Taking action when you are excited and have the time allows you to get more done faster- and it prevents those feelings of doubt, dread, or even failure from building up because you are already in progress. Don't be afraid to do as much as you can then. The momentum is stronger at the beginning than closer to a deadline.
- Get clear on how you're feeling and what you need. When you reach for that snack at work, are you really hungry, or are you actually thirsty? When you're procrastinating, is it because you don't know where to begin or because you don't feel qualified to do it in the first place? When you are angry at your spouse, is it really because you feel hurt that they don't get you, or could it even be that you are upset with yourself for not speaking up earlier? When you snap at your best friend, is it because they are annoying you, or because you're nervous about having to present in a few minutes?
- Fuel your body well. What you put in, is what you get out. This goes for the messages you give yourself, sleep, and food. If you are constantly muttering, “I'm tired,” under your breath, guess what? You're going to feel more tired. If you keep an inconsistent sleep schedule, your hormone levels won't stay balanced. Trust me when I say you want to avoid the cortisol getting out of whack! Your temper, your weight, your energy, and your attitude will all suffer as a result. If the food will stay fine sitting on the shelves forever, it will stay on your hips, buttocks, and thighs forever.
These are just seven guidelines that will help you to stay committed to your goals- and more importantly- to your growth and success over the next year. You don't have to necessarily know how you'll accomplish it to write down your goals or to get started. Once you commit, you'll be amazed at the supports and opportunities that come your way to help make this your best year yet!