New Year’s what? Oh yeah! LOL. I was so young and naïve 30 days ago.
If this is you, I’m not going to judge. It has sure been me more often than I’d like to admit because even the most starry-eyed, carefully planned goals can be derailed by this crazy thing called life. Take heart! The new year is still fresh, and your starry-eyed goals can be revived. You just need to identify your obstacles and plan to overcome them. (Psst… even if you’re too tired to think about that right now).
First, you need to identify your obstacles. Then, you need to make a plan.
Obstacle 1: You’re too tired to even think about that right now. Resolutions are exciting when you’re coming off several weeks of celebrating and not-normal life. You can see space for them in your return to your usual schedule. The problem is, you may have forgotten that your “normal” schedule was pretty crazy too. Still, you made that goal for a reason. It was important to not-tired you!
Plan: Go tiny. You don’t have to do it allll today! Just take a little step. One step every day. All those steps add up. A friend of mine used to say of hitchhikers (not to them because he didn’t pick them up due to possible murder), “If you keep walking with your thumb out, you’ll get there eventually.” Take those steps. They’ll get easier and faster, and soon, you’ll look back to find yourself miles away from where you started.
Obstacle 2: It doesn’t seem so important anymore. This happens to me a lot. I lose momentum on a goal because I can’t really remember why I set it in the first place. The perfect example is my crazy, periodic quest to quit drinking coffee. I’m sure there was always a reason, but I can’t for the life of me think what it was.
Plan: Reevaluate. Situations and priorities change. Take a look at the goal you set. Is there some element of it that’s important to you still? If so, try again. Make an adjustment so that the goal matches your situation a little better. If not, let it go! In the case of my quitting coffee resolution, the real goal was to be healthier and to not “drink my calories.” This year, I changed my quest to learning to like black coffee. That way, I’m still getting my caffeine fix (come on, I’m not giving that up), but I’m not having all the fat and sugar I was putting in my morning cup. And you know what? So far so good. I’m comfortable with this adjustment, and I’m proud of myself because I’ve made some progress.
Obstacle 3: I tried. It didn’t go well. I got discouraged. It stinks to put effort into something only to have it not work out. What’s the sense of trying if I’m just going to fail, right? But did you really fail?
Plan: Identify your success. We get so caught up in perfection, it’s easy to overlook our progress. Every time we try something, we learn something. Give yourself credit for the lesson, adjust your technique, and try again. I have to remind my son about this all the time. I say, “Sonny-boy,” I totally don’t call him that, “you didn’t just try walking once, fall on your butt, and never try again, did you?” To which he responds by rolling his eyes. But it’s a good reminder for me too!
Obstacle 4: There’s no time. All the time you thought you’d have after the holidays never seemed to materialize. It’s noon before you know it and midnight a blink of an eye later. (How does Friday still seem so far away?)
Plan: Pay yourself first. They say time is money. If you’re trying to meet financial goals, you need to pay yourself first. The same is true with your time. Stake out your time. Put it on a calendar. Put yourself on “do not disturb.” There’s always something that will seem more important, especially to other people. Claim the 5-10-15 minutes, whatever you need to take your small step that day.
Obstacle 5: That mean little voice in your head calling you names. This is a family-friendly space, so I’m not going to quote some of the stuff that mean little voice says. We say things to ourselves we’d never say to a loved one or even an acquaintance. Do you kiss your mamma with that mouth?
Plan: Give yourself grace. Whatever you’ve tried and however you’ve progressed (or haven’t), cut yourself some slack! Goodness - you’re only human. And you’re trying. Be as kind to you as you would be to a friend.
For whatever other obstacles you encounter: Be your own teacher. Think back on something you’ve accomplished before. How did you do it? What was it about that time that made it different from previous less-successful attempts?
For me, the times I’ve set a goal and achieved it (apart from that time I resolved to make no resolutions that year – a valid goal tbh) all have something in common. I DECIDED I was going to do it. That was it. It was a thing I was absolutely going to do. And I did. Maybe I have made that “do or die” decision before and haven’t been as successful. In retrospect, I can’t really tell if that was the case or if I had been giving myself little escape clauses. But the times I have accomplished a goal all have that in common. I decided, and not achieving the goal was not an option.
Look back at the things you’ve done in the past that really make you proud. How’d you do it? Do that some more.
Shoot, that final piece of advice makes the rest seem kind of unnecessary. I’ll just say this then: The best of luck in the pursuit of all your goals. Luck certainly helps. And Happy Still-New Year!