It’s mid-January and you’re already feeling discouraged and losing momentum with your New Year’s resolutions. You are not alone! Amidst all the hype and prospect of a new year and turning over a new leaf, it is easy to get ramped up towards realizing goals. However, once reality hits and our schedules normalize again, negotiating the doing part of working on and achieving our resolutions may become more taxing and seem less unattainable. Which can often bring on the beginning of that slippery slope of rationalizing and justifying our delaying and procrastinating the goals we have set out for ourselves.
Why do we wait until a new year for something we desire to achieve and feel will have a beneficial influence on our lives? Setting a date too far into the future makes us less beholden to it, and decreases our commitment to ourselves. While feeling obligated to set goals simply because it is a new year, instead of creating goals that we have the capacity to take on, and are aligned with our core values often times proves to be counterproductive to our end game. By listening to your inner compass, and asking yourself a few questions regarding your capacity you can determine when is truly the right time for you to undertake achieving your goals successfully:
- Do I have the mental, emotional and spiritual capacity to take this goal on right now?– What stressors do I currently have in my life? What positive and/or negative beliefs and habits do I currently have that might help or hinder me in achieving my goal?
- Do I have the financial means to take this goal on right now?- Do I have access to the money required for me to meet this goal at this time? When will I have the money to attain this goal? How might I obtain the money to achieve this goal?
- Do I have the relational supports to take this goal on right now?- Do I have the human supports in place in my community- friends, family, partners, co-workers, employees, employers, service providers- to help me achieve this goal through delegation, championing me and acting as sounding boards?
- Do I have the physical capacity to take this goal on right now?- Do I have any health concerns that may need to be addressed first?
The Big Question: How do you set and successfully achieve attainable goals, ensure momentum and maintain commitment to yourself and your goals? When setting goals for myself or explaining it to others, I often use the analogy of embarking on a project. After assessing my capacity levels I fine tune and plan my goals by:
- Clearly defining my resolution and commitment- A goal which is too broad will quickly become cumbersome. Make achieving your goal more manageable by breaking it down into smaller, measurable bundles. (E.g. Your broad goal is to “Lose Weight”. By drilling it down further and defining this goal your resolution may become “To lose 15 pounds through exercise and cutting out sugary and overly processed foods in 12 months.”)
- Setting timelines, deadlines and tracking milestones- Start by mapping your resolution over a minimum of a 12 month period and create work bundles. Then establish “mini goals” needed to accomplish your larger goal (i.e. creating a “theme” for each month). For each month divide your mini goals into weekly tasks. (E.g. Using the above example, in the first month your mini goal may be to do low impact exercise and avoid pop drinks. Your weekly tasks may then be to walk for 30 minutes a day, 4 times a week and drink juice instead of soda pop). Chunking out your goal into smaller, mini goals and tasks will make meeting your resolution more feasible and showcase successes at a more consistent rate. This helps greatly with maintaining momentum as you can see results, are actively working on your goal and gradually increasing the levels of difficulty as your capacity grows.
- Creating a goal project team- Share and track your resolutions daily or weekly through social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and other venues (friends, family, co-workers, etc.) to maintain momentum and accountability. Sharing creates a forum of support and advice for your successes and challenges- a positive way to celebrate your efforts! Others will also check in with you if you pause, or cease to track your progress as an added support and accountability component.
Before embarking on your personal and professional project goals, remember: to check in with yourself and your capacity (you are important and the driving force to your success!); clearly define and chunk out your resolutions into smaller, measured bundles; celebrate and share with your project team. The year has just began and there are many more successes (big and small) to be won! 🙂
The Process of Life blog posts are inspired lessons, learnings and meditations acquired for myself and my fellow growth journeyers- Coach Melanie