New Year. New you?

Happy new year! Or is it?

Are you feeling the pressure of “making resolutions”? Seeing or hearing others talk about their goals or plans? Are you thinking you need to do the same?

A new month and even bigger, a new year CAN be a great time to begin something new. It can be a good time too make some intentional change in your life. But we need to approach change in the right way if it is going to work long term.

First and most importantly…..WHY do you want to change X? Is it because others tell you to? Is it because you think you should? Is it a means to punish yourself somehow? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then trash that particular “goal” as it is not coming from within you. You likely won’t be successful in it.

Making a change needs to come from WITHIN. It needs to not be a head thing but a heart/gut thing. It needs to be a goal we can emotionally get behind and into. And the focus of the goal needs to be as positive and forward moving as possible. And it needs to be measurable.

IF you find a positive goal you wish to move towards, awesome. As you create action steps, realize that we are all change avoidant and habit driven. Old ways are powerful paths in our brains and bodies. Change is hard for most of us. A way to make new choices easier will be to tie action steps to already established behavior. If this is not possible then just know that enacting your plan will take some effort. Write down your goal and plan.

I also suggest you agree to and set up regular monitoring of your goal and action plan. If you are not good at this yourself, then find a friend or coach to help support your change. Getting another set of eyes on your plan will not only help you stick just with it better, but if your goals are very unrealistic, your friend/coach may be able to help you create a more reasonable plan. In my opinion it is much better to start too small (and achieve it easily) than set too high (and fail).

And even the best plan will need fine tuning and changes over time. That is normal and fine. Life happens, we cannot predict all that will come our way. Businesses of all sorts and sizes have plans and goals. Daily, weekly, quarterly, yearly goals. And all those involved meet on a regular (often weekly!) basis to evaluate and make practical changes to meet goals. Why are we any different? Why do we think we can just float along and things will go just right? Why do we state a wish then just think it will happen? It usually won’t. I am not saying all change is horribly hard, but to think change is super easy is a set up for disappointment and likely failure. Tracking action is what the most successful humans do. And it works. Tracking action shows you what you are doing well or poorly. Tracking gives you an opportunity to make corrections. We ALL need to make course corrections in our lives. Corrections are NOT failures unless you give up the entire process.

The most vital thing is to approach your goals with great self compassion. We do not always reach them. We will have bad days or bad weeks. The key is to recognize you are off track and to get back on track. And do this kindly. Practice being that good finder for YOU. Focus on what went right, not what went wrong. Yes sometimes we need to evaluate what went wrong, but mostly we need to detail what went well to build on it and repeat it.

I write this today because goal setting is exactly what I am doing now. And I will be applying all these aspects as I seek to make positive change in a few areas of my life.

We CAN create better, happier, healthier habits for ourselves. It takes some effort and good support. You are worth the effort!

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