New Year Resolutions and Goals
New Year Resolutions and goals: It is that time of the year when everybody is obsessed with redesigning their lives. I have been inundated with articles, emails and posts, promising a better you, your best year ever, and so the list goes on. How are you doing with your New Year goals? If you are like most people, 92% in fact, you have fallen off the rails already, or maybe you didn’t even start. One of my favorite memes is the one that says “I can’t believe it’s been a year since I didn’t become a better person.”
I Don’t Do Resolutions
I gave up copying last year’s unaccomplished goals on the 31 December every year, and now I don’t even pretend to have New Year’s resolutions. Horrors of all horrors, this coming from a Life Coach who spends her life telling everybody to focus on goals. Goals are not my issue…the date is.
It took me a while to think through this post because I don’t mean to sound like a kill-joy, cynical. “Oh guess who started their new year on the wrong foot type scenario.”
This is not to bash those people who make a single-minded choice to change one thing e.g. smoking, and succeed at it. My dad did that around 50 years ago and has never touched a cigarette since. Well done to you.
New Beginning or Same Old?
It is great to think of a new year as a new beginning and a fresh start; it’s a great place to plan a better life. The problem is we are easily buoyed up into a false sense of anything is possible because it is a new year. Then we realize that nothing has changed since yesterday, other than the numeral we write down to represent the year we are in.
The truth is, you are all amazing already. I mean, you survived last year, did you not? Yes, we can all do with some tweaking and some intentional planning. But if it doesn’t happen at 00:01 on the 1st January, it is not the end.
It can be chaos after the holidays, starting work again, getting back into a routine and if you live in South Africa, it’s the start of a new school year. (Who on earth came up with that idea?) The last thing you need is to be implementing a whole new way of life.
By week 3, we are back on the hamster’s wheel, frazzled, with goals and good intentions out the window, feeling like total failures. The new bike sits unused; the gym contract gathers dust, and the health food goes off in the fridge. Does it sound like I know about these things? I do. I’ve been there enough times.
The only meaningful life changes I have made, have not been at the beginning of the year. We need to be intentional in the way we live our lives throughout the year and that won’t happen if we don’t take our desire to change seriously, 365 days a year. To have a vague desire or make a long list and then hope for the best, will not facilitate change. It takes thought, planning and a new mindset to bring about real change. The change has to happen in our minds first.
Many resolutions are not thought out, or they are made in November to be implemented in the New Year. By then you have forgotten what you were thinking at the time.
“Good resolutions are like babies crying in church. They should be carried out immediately.” Charles M. Sheldon
Why do we fail to change?
One of the biggest problems with goal setting is that we work backward. I want ‘x’ therefore I must do ‘y’. We should not be asking what we want, but why we want it. The starting point of all starting points for me, when goal setting, is knowing ourselves. We can’t set goals if our hearts are not in it. Unfortunately, this is the part that is most neglected. We chase goals that are not ours or they’re impossible to achieve in our immediate situation.
We need to discover who we are first, then why we want to change, and finally to set about a plan, with the support and encouragement of others.
This brings me to the second reason for failure, and that is, we tend to try and do things on our own. We need our friends and family to help us find out and uncover who we are. Often our view of ourselves is very different to what others see. Once you have set out a plan, it helps tremendously to have that support and encouragement along the way as well. A community is key.
Awareness precedes action and action precedes change-Bill Gibson
The next problem is that speaking a desire is easy. I aim to be skinny; I want a new career; I am taking more holidays. It rolls off the tongue with ease. Go on. Say what you would like to change. Now say how you are going to do it? Not so easy, right? Because that part takes some thought. It won’t just happen. It takes effort.
Herein lies the problem. Goals are not S.M.A.R.T. Almost 20 years in sales and I could smack a person with a wet fish if they asked me to set out my S.M.A.R.T. goals. But sales know a thing or two about achieving targets.
People fail at making meaningful changes because they are not convinced they want to and if they are, they have no plan to reach it. Their goals are not personal and/or specific. I love sitting with people to work out their goals, because you see them realize, that change is possible, irrespective of the date.
Are Goals Important?
Without a goal, we have no direction. The problem I have with most coaching courses and goal setting workshops is that they always tend to focus on the material things and encourage you to rely on self to achieve success. All say rah-rah. This smacks of shunting God out and forgetting how we were created in the first place.
When I did my coaching course, I learned so much and although there were valuable lessons, I felt there was something missing. As I applied principles, I learned through my own life experience that you can’t set and achieve goals without God.
He created mankind, He knit us in our mothers’ wombs and He knows the plans and purposes that he has for us. So why do we ignore Him when we are planning our goals? We need to start with who we are; how we are all unique; what are innate desires are and what our purpose is. Then and only then will we find true direction and success. Yes, you can set worldly goals and even achieve them. But at what cost? Look at how many celebrities and successful people are burnt out, unhappy, doped up or drugged up; the price they have paid to reach their worldly goals without God.
What I have developed myself and stood by, is goal setting Gods way. The most crucial beginning is finding out what He wants for us and setting our goals accordingly. It takes some soul searching and the outcome is not always what we expected.
How do you do this? You start with prayer. You continue with prayer and you pray until… And then you carry on praying. It works my friends. I know it does. I have done it and seen it work in others. It will work for you.
Is goal setting really important?
We hear so much about goal setting. I mentioned it to somebody once and they laughed, saying who had time to sit and set goals. If you do the process right, goal setting saves you time. With technology at our fingertips, it is so easy to type up a few words as we wait in a queue waiting for the kids or for a friend to meet you. Each time something hits you, jot it down.
I have collected loads of inspirational material on my dreams and desires over the years. Articles, pictures, brochures… you name it. Then I pray and think about it. Each time I come across something new, I add it to the pile. Have I followed up on all of them? Nope. And that’s ok. Sometimes what we think might have been a good idea, turns out to not be what we thought. The real dreams stay with us. They grow and they develop. Get serious about these ones. These are the ones that are set deep in your heart. Nurture them. Make a plan to achieve them. These are the ones that will bring you fulfillment and purpose.
All is not lost
So do not chastise yourself if you have not made any goals, or if you have given up on them already or didn’t make any because you knew you would fail anyway.
If you are not happy with your life or if you feel frustrated and need to change, make one decision right now. Not because it is a new year, but because you owe it to yourself and you deserve to be living the life that was meant for you. Make the decision to know yourself, really know yourself. This can be quite painful and some revelations may come as a complete surprise. Then allow yourself to dream. Crazy dreams.
We are going to be having a little bit of fun over the next few weeks. I will be sending out 6 questionnaires over the next 6 weeks, starting Monday. They will be in line with the areas of coaching that I focus on in my coaching program. As a subscriber, you will receive the list directly to your inbox. It will also be available as a link on the FB page but due to algorithms, you may not see it. If you want to be part of #checkmeout_2018 and don’t want to miss anything, then be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.