If you're like me, you hesitate to set Official New Year's Resolutions, because it's so cliché. It's almost become a joke - set those flimsy resolutions to "get healthy" or "do something" that lasts, for most people, about 5 days into the New Year.
But it is a beautiful time of year, in the dark of winter, to wipe the slate clean. A whole set of blank pages lies ahead in the book of 2015 for you to write anything you like. It's a perfect time to create.
First and foremost as you look ahead, get specific. If you are aiming anywhere, you'll hit anywhere. Narrow your target. "Getting healthy" and "working out more" = flimsy, non specific, hard to quantify. But "run the San Diego Marathon" or "deadlift 200lbs" or "take a trip to Tahiti"... now those you'll be able to actually check off the list with certainty.
Now that we've got a goal or two, let's go over a few steps that I think will really help you hold true to them:
1. If a goal doesn't feel REALLY good, ditch it. Keep it on the list only if it comes from a really super warm fuzzy FEEL-GOOD place within you. Your goal should get you excited, brighten your eyes, wake you up. Even if it scares you a little, it should feel like the roller-coaster kinda scary; the kind that lets you know you are alive. Too many of us set goals that feel like drudgery, as if we are shackling ourselves to the *fingers-crossed* outcome.
This is where I believe a lot of us mess up. We approach the New Year from a sense of obligation, or worse - guilt over our last few weeks, or the entire year behind us.
Cut the cords to the past. You can get help with this if the past feels particularly clingy! (Talk to this amazing lady.) Let go of the obligation. You are setting these goals for you and you only, right here and now. As you visualize the future, what feels really fabulous to you? What will bring you a sense of accomplishment, fulfillment, joy? That's where to look for the end goal.
If it doesn't feel good, ditch it.
2. Now that it feels good, identify the PROCESS of getting to those end goals. To run the San Diego marathon, you'll need to find a weekly running schedule that builds your mileage, and learn about cross training, recovery, and fueling properly. To take a trip to Tahiti, you'll want to create the budget, buy the tickets, plan the itinerary.
Now, focus on the PROCESS as your actual goal, more than the goal itself. The process is where your energy goes, the daily steps, the continued action. If you only focus on the goal, it can feel distant, it can make you feel inadequate from where you're standing, and you can lose touch. If you focus on the process, you can allow yourself to feel happiness right now, rather than putting it off only until after you reach that goal.
The goal just helps you identify the process. The process, the action of doing, the journey, THAT'S where the good stuff is.
3. Take action. You've gotta put the walk to the talk. I can't tell you how many people seem to think that the goal will manifest on its own just because they've thought about it. They show up to a workout and think just by showing up, magic should happen. Or sign up for my Sugar Detox and think that I will personally be there to slap the sugar out of their hand every time temptation shows up. Sorry cupcake, but you've got to do a little of the work. But the good news is, it's easier than you think - IF - you go back to step one and make sure you're on target.
4. Trust the process, and give up the idea of failure. Just eliminate it. Have a moment of weakness and eat the entire candy bowl at work? You didn't fail, you learned that doing that probably feels quite terrible and it would feel much better to get right back to your process. Have a week where you skip all your training runs for that marathon? Maybe you needed the rest so you could avoid injury and come back stronger. Don't give up the process just because you took a side path for a minute.
5. I'm going to repeat it, it's so important; Start from what feels good. Make sure it is what YOU want. Don't worry about fitting anyone else's standards.
Cheers to the ever-evolving, ever wonderful you. Happy 2015!!!