THE HUNT FOR A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION
Bloggers everywhere are waxing poetically on the finer points of New Year resolutions, goals, intentions, theme words and cleansing ceremonies.
I have nothing.
As far back as I can remember, I celebrated the New Year by babysitting, which meant hanging out with Dick Clark (yes, that’s how old I am). As a young adult, I’m sure I went to a few parties but they were clearly not memorable. In recent years, I have been whooping it up with family and celebrating the big ball drop from NY City, mostly because of the time zone. Staying awake until midnight is not my forte.
With no New Year's Eve fanfare, I have also done without resolutions, lists or ceremonies. Perhaps the opportunity to start over seems overwhelming. My perfectionistic tendencies know it’s only a matter of time before I crash and burn despite my best intentions.
Interestingly, last January, after one of the most challenging years on record, I was in the middle of a change tornado and was slowly emerging from a pretty deep rabbit hole. I felt 2014 was the year to set some tangible goals as a sign of hope and inspiration. As the calendar rolled over to a new year, I rolled into the office supply store – total bliss! I love decorative paper, tabs, binders, notebooks, and fun templates. In the spirit of Benjamin Franklin, the father of lists, goals and progress reports, I stocked up on all things Papyrus to make a New Year Progress binder and got to work.
As the year went along, I started to notice which goals were my heart’s desire, which ones were ambitious and which ones were downright ridiculous.
The craziest one I wrote down for last year was to run a half marathon. I had a training schedule printed out and everything. I think my sister and I had talked about it for half a second over the holidays, so it seemed to have potential. I have had a significant mental block towards running for years now so I figured I’d overcome my aversion and slim my thighs!
Turns out, it’s not an aversion I care to overcome. But I knew that. Goal aborted, though I give myself credit for at least trying the training schedule for a month.
Every moment was torture.
If you do choose to create a resolution, intention or goal for this year I encourage you to make sure it speaks to you and gets you excited. If you have the least bit of aversion when you think about it, it’s not a goal worth your time and you more than likely not do it.
Before agreeing to a goal or intention ask yourself “why” a million times.
As an example, here’s my internal dialogue about running:
Why do you want to run a half marathon?
Because it will help thin my thighs and make me slimmer overall.
Why do your thighs need to be thinner?
So people will notice my toned body.
The goal was never for me. It was really so that other people would notice my thin thighs and I would feel great in the afterglow of compliments. While it’s nice to be complimented on thin thighs (which has happened in my life), it’s not enough to motivate me to get the goal done. The only way to achieve success towards a goal is making sure it’s for YOU, not so your kids are happier or your spouse is less stressed. If you answer your “why” questions with “My husband will love me more” or “My kids will think I’m cool” you are potentially on your way to disappointment.
Above all, be ready to abandon anything you thought would be fun but isn’t. Abandoning something that doesn’t serve you is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Ever.
Something to not give up on are ambitious goals, just know that the end result may not be culminated in a year. This is where seeing progress can keep motivation humming along. If you have a wildly impossible goal that might take time, break it down into ridiculously small steps and start there. The task will suddenly not seem so impossible.
I have a few ideas for writing a book, but the thought of writing something so huge is paralyzing. I started re-kindling my interest in writing over a year ago by taking one online class. That class led to writing several personal essays, which led to another class, which led to a blog, which led to a published article this year. I continue to create small steps around my larger book writing goal and my progress affirms that this wildly impossible goal may not be so impossible after all. One small step towards your goal is one large step towards progress…or whatever Neil Armstrong sort of said.
Because I love office supplies, I manage my turtle steps quarterly on a large sticky note pad and hang them on my office wall. I draw a four squared grid, write one goal per square and list the turtle steps I hope to accomplish over the quarter. I don’t see them every day, but I can quickly review them whenever I want. When I fail to see progress towards a goal over and over, I know it’s time to walk away or ask myself why I am still pursuing this particular goal.
Remember that “why” exercise?
And because it’s now January, I’m going to go back to my delightfully named progress binder that brings me joy and inspiration and I will review what’s inside.
I'll probably dream big again this year.
So dish out a bowl of this healthful comfort food and marinate in what you’re going to do this year.
It’s never too late to get started on something you’ve always wanted to do.
One small step in the right direction can create quite a journey.
Peace & LIght,
The Busy Buddha
Talk Back to the Trio
What are your big, impossible goals for this year?