Here we are in 2021. I am intentionally late to the New Year posting party. I didn’t want to bombard your inbox with another post about the New Year, making resolutions, and blasting our past year. I broke up with making Resolutions a few years ago. Resolutions get a bad rap, and rightly so. To me, the concept of setting a resolution is like a diet. If you’ve spent any time here, you know how I feel about diets. They just don’t work. Diets are something you start and that eventually come to an end or you just quit. Much the same as resolutions. They eventually come to an end so oftentimes there isn’t a lasting change in our course or lifestyle. We all typically fall out of love with our resolutions and they end up in the Resolution Wasteland often before the month of January ends.
Setting intentions or choosing a word for the year seem to be more successful, or at least doesn’t seem to set some folks up to fail as much. Last year I chose the word, “Open” for 2020. Boy, was that the right word. I definitely had to learn to be more open to all sorts things I hadn’t intended or even imagined. I could almost have a “do over” and try that again this year. . .
In looking at the new year, there may be some who are just too mentally and emotionally tired after all 2020 brought. They may not have the mental space to think of making a new intention or choosing a new word. And that’s okay, too. I think there are times when it is best to think smaller in order to actually succeed bigger. I also think I want to start a little slower this year. I am not jumping on the New Year bandwagon right out of the gate feeling pressured to make a plan and set goals that might not actually fit or might not be what I actually need.
I think this is a great time to take time to think about what we learned over the past year. So Many Things. Some years bring on a stronger learning curve than others, depending on our own personal stuff. I’ve had a couple of real “lesson” years. Acknowledging that, letting that settle in and taking those lessons into a new year, is important. That’s how you can build and strengthen some things and then decide if there are changes you’d like over the upcoming year.
It is for these reasons that I like the idea of setting tiny goals.
When we set any type of goal for ourselves, whether it be at the new year, or any time of the year or month, we are looking to create some type of habit change. Habit change is not easy. If you really and truly want to move forward in some aspect and really and truly want to be in a different place this time next year, it’s going to take some thought and action on your part. Since our brains are wired to resist big change (or any change) I am not suggesting you make some huge, gigantic goal. Or maybe you actually do have a big, gigantic goal in mind and are fired up to begin a new year. That’s awesome, too, but let’s break that down to make sure it doesn’t fall by the wayside in the New Year Resolution Wasteland.
Here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Know the reason behind the thing.
Why do you want to accomplish x, y or z? There has to be a real purpose behind what you are attempting to accomplish. When you know that, then you can actually lay out a plan of action that means something. Please don’t say you want to lose ten pounds to look good in a bathing suit. That doesn’t really mean anything. What is the purpose behind wanting to look good in a bathing suit? Do you want to be more confident? Be a role model for your daughter? Be comfortable at the beach with your family? You actually need to know why you want to do the thing.
2. Do the least amount possible.
That’s right. Be an underachiever. Think of a step so small that you can do it every single day. This is something that you can accomplish regardless of what goes wrong with your day. . . your child wakes up sick, your car won’t start, the world enters a pandemic, your partner loses their job. You get the picture. No matter what is swirling around you, you have set a baby goal that you can accomplish each day, or week, that will give you a feeling of accomplishment, control and confidence. That little baby goal or step can go a long way toward chipping away at a bigger, gigantic thing.
Looking for examples? Here are a couple of of mine.
I have a goal to get stronger in my upper body. Why? Because I am looking at hip surgery in 2021 so it’s been difficult to focus on lower body. For that reason, I’ve been booting on my work outs and consistency. I’ve lost strength and know I’ll need it back to do the activities I need and want to throughout the rest of the year. In order to set myself up for not dropping out I’m committing to doing 21 pushups a day. (like the choice of 21? Easy to remember and a little symbolic, right?) Surely I can get that done regardless of what goes on around me.
A non-fitness goal is to read more. Do I really need to get in they “why” on that one? There are SO many! (one of the reasons I’ll confess is to stop the habit of mindless social media scrolling) Anyway, my least amount possible is to read at least 5 pages a day. I know I can do that in the morning, in a waiting room, or fit that in at night. I’m thinking that chances are those 5 pages will turn into more. . .
I also have some other 2021 things dealing with this space and new projects that I am writing down and working on with small baby steps. . . .
3. Give yourself grace but not too much grace.
This is tricky here. There is a lot of encouragement about giving yourself grace, especially as we experience the world we are in with entirely new obstacles to navigate. Some of us tend to have perfectionist tendencies, too, which can so easily lead to self sabatoge and an all or nothing mentality. The all or nothing mentality typically does not serve you well in the goal accomplishing arena. I’m betting you’ve been there, done that, too. So, giving yourself a little grace can be a good thing. You don’t have to do all the things, be all the things and conquer that mountain by Thursday at 11 a.m. But you do need to act and not give up and not always give yourself a pass simply because there’s COVID, you stayed up too late watching Queen’s Gambit, or it gets hard. Does that mindset help you move forward? Help you reach even a tiny goal? Probably not. Please, don’t let grace enable you or cripple you from moving forward.
4. Create accountability.
This is a must. Write it down. There’s something to putting pen to paper and having it in black and white that helps etch it in your brain. Then tell someone, and I mean other than your dog. See how I shared a couple of my little goals with you? There was a reason I did that. Now I’m accountable. Don’t be embarrassed or shy. Find someone you trust and you know will prod you along. And that person can be me. I’d love to be your accountability partner. You can DM me on Instagram (@marladeen), send a private message here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I believe in you. I expect you’ll have a great year and I want you to expect that also. It might mean all the difference in your moving forward this year.
And, yes, I did also choose a word for the year. I chose the word, “Yes”. It does dovetail a bit with last year’s “Open”, but I feel as if I didn’t get the opportunity to be open to as much as I could have had it been a typical year. I want to say yes to more opportunities that will challenge me, make me get out of my comfort zone, make me have more experiences and connections. I have learned pretty well how to say the word “no” . Now I want to look at where I can say “yes” in the new year.
Stay Well! And Cheers to Your Happiest 2021!
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