With December in our laps, the holidays will quickly come and go and you’ll soon find yourself toasting to the New Year and kissing the one you love at midnight. Perhaps, like me, you’ll actually be putting little ones to bed and falling asleep on your couch in your pajamas while your well intentioned Pinot Grigio becomes room temperature on the coffee table. Either way, you’ll wake up New Year’s Day and all your January resolutions will be staring you in your face. Not all of you will make resolutions and some of you may make the typical resolutions such as; lose weight, eat better, go to the gym, drink more water, get more sleep, all set with the best of intentions.
We all know that we won’t magically wake up New Year’s Day a different person with new habits and new outlooks. Change takes time and we are all a work in progress and becoming our best selves is more of a continuum of choices we make each day, each minute even, and that’s where the real change occurs. Sometimes making grandiose statements covering a year’s span isn’t the most realistic and as time moves on we may even forget what we set out to do months prior. Worse yet, we might remember making promises of change to ourselves and look back feeling bad we haven’t accomplished what we intended.
This year, I am taking making resolutions down a different path. I am suggesting to you, to set monthly or even weekly goals instead of making firm decisions to do or not to do something for an entire year. These goals can truly be anything, but with a shorter more attainable time line. For example, the first week of January set a goal to do three acts of service or make a conscious decision for just that week that whenever you feel like complaining, instead name three things you are grateful for. If you notice positive change from week to week then you can choose to continue with that same goal or create a new one. Don’t quit or feel down if you don’t follow through. Life gets crazy and maybe you forget to follow through on picking the next goal, the great news is you can start up again at any time without feeling like you’ve let yourself completely down.
I’ve thought about this extensively and believe having positive action goals rather than negative don’t do goals might create more positive habits rather than leaving you feeling deprived. So here are some of my favorite possible goals for you to set, for a day, a week, a month, 2 months throughout the year.
Acts of service
These can be grand or small and I promise you, you can succeed in these goals easily because there are plenty of opportunities we often miss around us daily. Make it your goal to do something nice for someone once a day for a week, or whatever you see fit. It will not only leave another person feeling good but you as well.
The easiest way to bring about positive change is by noticing all the gifts you already have. Change your focus. I know personally, I can easily jump down the rabbit hole of complaints trying to disguise it as ‘venting’. Really I’m having a complaining party inviting anyone willing to come to attend and I rarely end up feeling better. I usually only end up finding more things that bother me resulting in a snowball of negativity. Make it a point that when you find yourself about to take the plunge into the rabbit hole, stop and take a moment to count your blessings instead, even if it’s grateful for being given another day. I have been working on this one and I realized how much I was actually sabotaging my own state of happiness by choosing the wrong mindset. If you want to take this a step further, invest in a gratitude journal and start to write a few things down every morning to set the tone for the day.
Make a move
Whatever your big dreams are, don’t tell yourself you don’t have the time or energy or the know-how. The big dream doesn’t have to be achieved in a one year span, but you can make it your mission to work on it a little each day, or week. You’ll be a little closer than if you did nothing. Set small goals of time to work and keep that appointment with yourself.
This one might sound a little crazy, but as crazy as it seems, it really helps to calm your body and refocus. How many times a day do you think about breathing? Most likely never because you do it so automatically. Take deep breaths every so often and notice how good it feels and how your body calms itself down. Whenever I feel anxious I also realize that I am taking short shallow breaths to go along with it. When I change it to slow deep breaths it’s almost magical how quickly I can calm that feeling. Take in some much needed fresh air.
Remind yourself each day, to take things one day at a time
Maybe even one moment at a time and write the rest down. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s next and all you have to do, but set those small goals and accomplishments and put the rest down on paper to free up your mind. Once you complete the closest goal, move on to the next. I often overwhelm myself thinking all at once the million things that need to be done and many times I freeze up never really starting anything or having five to ten things going at once without any real focus. Make it your daily goals to do your best to accomplish one thing at a time and then move on to the next.
When all is said and done I think many of us want to feel peace and pride with our lives. Adding some positive goals to 2019 will surely send you in the right direction! Enjoy the holidays and ring in the New Year with the confidence that you will take the next right step toward the life you always dreamed of. Happy New Year everyone!