I wrote down some New Year’s Resolutions.
“So what,” you say, “so did everyone else”.
You see, I don’t like resolutions much. I make them, write them down as a cosmic contract, and about 2 weeks into a brand new year, I feel less then inspired, somewhat jaded, and maybe a little bit of shame for not sticking to my guns and following through 100%.
Resolutions seriously stress me out!
A number of years ago, I actually wrote out my New Year’s Revolutions. Was I at war with myself? It sure felt that way. Reading the board was like a reminder of how much my life sucked. How much I sucked at my own life. I actually wrote, “Revolution isn’t easy with Civil War on the inside”, lyrics from a song I liked by my favorite band. While I agree with the sentiment, it felt like a really aggressive attitude toward myself. I was approaching my yearly goals with a ton of vinegar and very little honey.
It didn’t feel good. At all. Needless to say, I don’t think I accomplished any of those “revolutions”. [facepalm]
I’ve tried Vision Boards, where you paste pictures and quotes on a piece of cardboard so you can look at it daily and “manifest” your most awesome, larger-than-life, life. I even lit the Nag Champa incense and wore Patchouli oil while listening to some pretty New Age-y music. The whole practice was just a little to Woo-woo for my tastes.
I’ve picked words to encompass the year, based off of what I want to feel, because we are human beings, not human doings. It’s all about feeling good, right? Danielle LaPorte has a great book, The Desire Map, on the subject. This was the closest I’ve ever gotten to feeling good about those resolutions. There was a least some positive, forward movement.
Where is the breakdown? Why is goal setting such a huge issue for me? What gives? Are my goals superficial? Are they unrealistic? Could it be true, I just suck?
Nope. Sorry (not sorry), I refuse to even entertain the idea of me being craptastic at life.
I have to figure this out; I have some pretty big expectations of myself, personally, professionally, spiritually, relationally, and if I can’t figure out how to get from Point A to Point B, I will be stuck hoping and wishing in life as I stare at my white board of shame. I mean goals.
For me, and maybe you too, it is my methodology of goal setting that is broken.
Ok, so Take 2. I sat down and wrote down some lofty, noble goals and expectations for the year. This year’s run down looks something like:
- Ditch the credit card debt once and for all (I’m tired of working for the banks)
- Feel strong, sexy and energetic in my body (I won’t look at this as a number game. I don’t like scales. I don’t own one. All I know is I have a lacey black dress I want to fit into and feel sexy, not like a stuffed sausage)
- Be more inspired by my work (to be more connected in my work; inspired and alive during the day so I feel energized and excited by my contribution to humanity)
So here I am, standing in Base Camp 1 with zero idea of how to summit, and I think I left my mittens on the kitchen table. Again.
This is my breakdown; my disconnect. How the Hell am I supposed to accomplish these things?
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
The key to goal success is setting manageable goals with achievable action steps. To chunk those big goals of ours into smaller, more doable action steps we can quantify and qualify. We need to think about what it will take for us to get from Point A to Point B. If we want to lose 30 pounds, making “Lose 5 pounds” a more manageable goal isn’t enough. It still doesn’t answer the question of how we are going to make it happen.
Look for the solutions. Don’t be afraid of the small jobs; they are quite important. It’s the small jobs, done well and consistently, which create success.
So, I set my lofty, summit-type goals. Then I broke them down into 2 week chunks and 30 day morsels. My goals now feel totally non-threatening. Every 2 weeks I re-evaluate what needs to happen in the coming 2 weeks and set monthly base-camp goals. This is a technique I use regularly with my clients to help them stay on track and reach their health and wellness goals. It works for them beautifully. It will work for me, and for you, too.
Here’s what this looks like, as an example, using my own goals:
I feel infinitely more capable reaching my big yearly goals when I really only have to focus on a 2 week time period. I can do anything for 2 weeks!
Phew! I can do this!
It’s so easy to be swept up in the “This is my Year!” Goal Setting. Unfortunately, this rarely helps us discover what it will take for us to be successful. We define the destination, promise ourselves to enjoy the journey, and then what? The journey is great and all, where lessons are learned and character is built, but sometimes you have to ignore the journey and focus on only the next step in front of you. Especially when the trail to the summit is long and difficult.
Being successful is inspiring! It gives us the courage to push forward, onward and upward. We can raise our own glass ceilings when we feel the strength and confidence success brings to the party.
Failure, on the other hand, can be stressful. It is demoralizing for many, and can be difficult to overcome the woe-is-me feeling that accompanies it. Not everyone gets back on the wagon when they fall off. However, if we focus on the next step, and then the next step after that, in smaller, more manageable chunks, recovery from missteps are easier on our journey toward whatever it is we set our hearts and minds on.
Anything is possible. Just keep one foot in front of the other! Repeat as necessary until you reach where you are planning on going. And if it takes longer than 365 days, that’s ok too. It’s your pace, not anybody else’s.
How about You?
What New Year’s Goals did you set for yourself? What is the “next step” you need to take in order to get closer to your Summit?
Share your goals in the comments below,
1) as a cosmic agreement with yourself (If you write it down, you’re more likely to stick with it), and
2) because accountability is a good thing, and if you all help me with my Goals, I will help you with yours in return. Community is an awesome thing!