Can you believe 2022 is just DAYS away?? I hardly can. Some called 2021 "2020 Part II", which was in some ways true, at least for me. Regardless, it was full of excitement, and overall improvements for me, so I'm grateful!
When you set goals, what do you aim for? How do you start? How strict are you? How do you hold yourself accountable? I usually start with lofty hopes, dreams, and ideal situations, then morph those into SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound). It's easy to say, "I'll drink more water this year", but what about, "I'll drink 60 ounces of water a day"? That checks all of the SMART boxes, and the ounces can be adjusted up or down accordingly.
That's another thing about goals (or resolutions, or objectives, intentions, objectives, targets, etc...): they're meant be adjusted as you go. With SMART goals, you can measure your progress, which is an excellent source of motivation!
Now, a lot of people love to say, "New year, new you!" (Myself included.) I thought about it, and I realized... I LOVE myself! I am who I am. Why would I want to change that? Sure, I have some less-than-desirable traits (perfectionism, anxiety, anger issues, to name a few... all of which require moment-by-moment work on my part), but I like to think of myself in People-First Language: I am a wonderful person with anxiety, an amazing woman with anger issues. It's along the same lines as the way I've been taught to describe people I've treated who have conditions like autism: this is a person with autism, not an autistic person. (I've also heard that it is now preferred to say "people experiencing homelessness", not "homeless person". Then I was told it's "houseless", not "homeless", because a house does not make a home? Please feel free to enlighten me if you're an expert on this subject! But I digress...) The world is waking up to the fact that our traits or situations do not always define us, and that we are people first. I love it!
There's nothing wrong with saying "New year, new you/me/[whatever your preferred variation is]", but this holiday season, I personally thought I should focus on changing some of my habits instead of overhauling my entire self. First of all, it's overwhelming for me to think about completely reinventing myself as a person at the end of each year. Nothing says you have to make resolutions or change anything, but so many of us just see it as the thing to do, and I do find it refreshing and exciting to make at least a few changes in the new year. One of my besties decided to forego resolutions altogether a couple of years ago so she could focus on achieving a few goals well instead of a long list of goals not so well. Plus, removing the RESOLUTION label took some of the pressure (read: stress) off. Smart! I figured I'd focus my energy and resources this coming year on massaging away detrimental habits that have crept into my routine or become more problematic over the past year (i.e. looking at my phone as soon as I wake up every morning... ugh), or gradually re-establishing beneficial habits that have fallen by the wayside, or introducing ones that have become necessary (i.e. working out regularly, which I struggle with so much... how cliche!).
With all that being said, my mantra this year is going to be "New year, same Glo, new habits". I vacillate between being a cold turkey kind of gal and easing into things, so it depends on what goal I'm working on, but I find I usually do much better with the gradual approach. Some may say I'm just working on being a new, better version of myself, so why not go with the classic "New year, new me"? Again, it's about focus for me, and I truly feel I'll do better focusing on the small, individual changes (habits) instead of the complete remodel (me). Which do you think will work best for you?
Whichever way you decide to go, here is a recap of successful goal-setting, with a few extra tips thrown in:
Start with a handful of ambitious, lofty, ideal desires
Whittle them down into SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound)
Prioritize your goals (which ones have early deadlines, will take the longest to complete, or carry the most urgency?)
Maybe break up a big goal into smaller stages (i.e. meal prep the first Sunday of each month Jan-Apr, then the first and third Sunday of each month May-Aug, then every Sunday Sept-Dec). A sneaky way to do this without feeling the cold slap of failure is to stick "at least" into your goals and adjust from there if you're finding it too hard or easy (i.e. drink at least three 16-oz glasses of water a day).
Find a few accountability partners (offer to help keep them on track in return!)
Write them down and put them somewhere you can see them every day (when you wake up and/or before you go to sleep)
Track them (charts, journals, and calendars are great ways to do this) and celebrate your successes! (Then adjust them accordingly to challenge yourself, if applicable. For example, if you easily reach your goal of walking 1 mile a day, go for 2! However, if your goal is to finish your bachelor's degree... you're pretty much done. Unless you want to go for your master's and doctorate, of course!)
Recognize when goals are too lofty (i.e. unattainable) or are causing you too much stress/time/resources to achieve, and ADJUST!
Remember, it takes at least 2 weeks to form a new habit or routine (official sources say 18, 21 and 66 days, so do some research and take your pick! I like 21 days, or 3 weeks), so proper structure, organization, prep, and prioritization are key during this period, or until it feels automatic or easy.
If you don't have any that immediately come to mind, here is a list of 37 general goals you can personalize and SMARTify. I think a good number to start with is 3.
SO, what areas of your life are you thinking could use a little refinement? Contact me if you need any help during any step of your process. The hardest part is often just getting started!
P.S. Initial consults are still FREE for 2022!