It has only been a few days into the New Year, but for some, the holiday feels like months ago. Whether the holidays were hectic or uneventful for you, a new decade has begun and it’s time to set the right foundation.
Are you in the 60% of the population who set a New Year’s resolution? How about the 8% who achieve them?
A new week, month, even a year brings hope, optimism and the drive to make changes. It’s quite normal that most of us talk about new beginnings and ways to improve ourselves this time of the year. When we set a new year’s resolution, I believe that we truly want to see it come true. So why do only 8% succeed? I argue that the problem is not with the intention or authenticity of our resolutions; it is how they are designed.
Most resolutions focus on a final goal. It dismisses any skill or step that is required to reach that particular goal. Without the prerequisite, it becomes unlikely and almost impossible to get where you want to be. For example, for the New Year, your wish may be that “I want to be less anxious.” To reach this goal, I suggest naming the milestones as your resolution, not the final destination. You can ask yourself “What needs to happen so that I feel less anxious.” So it would look something like this: In the new year, my resolution is to focus on one thing at a time, or to set better boundaries by knowing my limits or saying no, or to not recycle my old mistakes and forgive myself. When you shift your attention from the end goal to the actual steps, you are not only more likely to reach your resolution but also focus on what’s in your control, the small necessary steps.
To help you create your New Year’s resolution, it is helpful to have a vision for the New Year. Having a vision for the year means naming the qualities, goals, and wishes that you want to see come true at the end of the year. It is a great exercise to add purpose, direction, and meaning to your life. Without clarity and commitment, we all get lost in time and lack the control and direction of our lives. Having a vision will keep you on track as well as motivated.
Creating a Vision Board is one of the most effective ways to bring your vision to life. A vision board serves as a tool to help you be specific and intentional about what it is that you want. It also serves as a cue to help you stay accountable, on-track, consistent, and motivated. It becomes a bit harder to ignore and talk yourself out of doing the right thing when you have a big vision board staring at you every day.
To create one, you purchase a poster board and put on words and/or images either you drew or cut out of a magazine. There are a few things to look for in your vision board. Most importantly, include affirmations that will guide and inspire you. It could be affirmations like “I am enough” to ground you and never lose sight of your enough-ness.
It is also important to have reminders on your vision board that addresses more than just one aspect of your life. There are basic categories that makeup almost everyone’s life. These include personal, career, physical, mental, spiritual, and social (family, friends, and romance). You want to make sure that your vision board isn’t just focused on one area. You can use some questions to prompt you in creating your vision board, such as “what are some things I need more of in 2020?” or “what aspects of my life would I like to see grow?” or “What makes up my ideal life?” Vision boards can help you identify your vision and give it clarity, reinforce your daily affirmations, keep your attention on your intentions.
Along with your vision board, have you ever considered choosing a word for the year? Choosing your word of the year can help to keep you focused and centered. The word can guide your intentions, goals, and choices. It can help you to prioritize better and set healthy limits and boundaries. To help you choose your word of the year, try answering the following questions: “What do I need more of in 2020?” “What’s missing in my life?” “What is one word that would make me feel more like me or a whole?” Based on your responses, create a list of words to review. Finalize your choice by answering this final question: What is the word of the year for 2020? Once you choose your word, you can check-in whether if your decisions and interactions align with your chosen word.
My 2020 word of the year is Connection! This word means different things personally and professionally. On a personal level, Connection means to be more present with the ones I love. Also, being true to doing things that matter to me and staying connected with people that teach me, lift me, and unconditionally support me. On a professional level, Connection means to put me out there to collaborate with more people. Some of you may know that in September of 2019, I started my YouTube Channel. I want to focus on continuing to share practical and useful tools with you because I truly believe when I say: we all have mental health, and it is just as important as our physical health. If you are interested in choosing a word for 2020, here are some suggestions: Forgiveness; Courage; Love; Change; Growth; Present; Acceptance; and Worthiness.
Whether you decide to have a New Year’s resolution, create a vision board, or choose a word of the year, the need for change and growth is never-ending. While you are working on building your best self, I want to leave you with a final suggestion: TAKE IT EASY!
I want you always to be self-compassionate, kind, and loving towards your self, and repeat after me: I will go at my own pace, and I am doing my best! I know a lot of you are saying, “but wait I am not doing my best, I know I can do better,” and that’s great. I believe you. But here is the catch: one minute ago, yesterday or even a week ago, what you did and how much you accomplished was the best given that moment. And now, you may feel differently or even better see yourself in a different and more positive light; hence you conclude that you can do better. When you say, “I am doing my best,” it isn’t settling down or accepting your half-hearted work. It is you showing yourself empathy and love that what you did was the best at that time, and now you are setting higher goals.
No matter what your vision, dreams, goals, and wishes are for 2020, trust me when I say, it will all be incomplete if it does not include self-love, respect, patience, and kindness. Honor your pace, your journey, your discoveries, and your accomplishment whenever and however they happen to be.