Since January 1st I bet your news feed, like mine, has been inundated with everyone’s announcements about resolutions and goals. Is motivation for sale somewhere and if so, can I get in line to buy it too? I have nothing against the refrain “new year, new you,” but it can feel intimidating to be constantly bombarded with all the incredible things people are going to do this year.
But instead of looking at past failures and analyzing every decision of 2017 now’s your chance to leave it behind. I choose to look at New Year’s resolutions as an opportunity for a fresh start. We get another shot to say “This is who I am. This is what I am capable of accomplishing. Now I’m going to prove it to myself.”
Your goals aren’t for anyone else.
As a runner, I can be a little obsessed with personal goals. I even got a heart rate monitor as a Christmas gift that gives me all kinds of new data! Why the geeking out?. I am not the fastest, the best, or the most fit. I won’t set a new world record or even a local one.
But here’s the thing: I can set my records. In this season of resolution-setting and go-getting, we have to remember that life is what you make it. Don’t try to run someone else’s race; there are things that only you can accomplish that need to be achieved and celebrated. Break your own mold; go after the goals that are meaningful for you, not anyone else.
How do you find the right goals? What’s worth going after? Here are three steps I take to evaluate what I’m spending my time and energy on.
1. Check your motivation and perspective. I don’t know about you, but beating myself up does not make me want to try harder. Come up with goals and aspirations that align with who you are as a unique individual. Dream big. Brainstorm. Get creative. Not everyone wants to run a marathon, travel the world, or start their own business. If that’s not your thing, it’s okay! Resolutions shouldn’t focus on the negative. Place your focus on the things you love and what you want to improve.
2. Make it specific. Let’s say you want to get in shape. What does getting in shape mean for you specifically? You get to decide if it’s about losing 15 pounds, running 30 minutes without stopping, or simply feeling confident in a particular pair of jeans. Even if your goals aren’t in tangible categories like finances or fitness, be specific.. Make it specific, but also realistic and customized to your individual lifestyle.
3. Have a plan. Have you ever had the best intentions but been thwarted by an empty pantry (all except that box of Oreos), not enough time (how is it 11 p.m.?!), or said the words “something came up” (you stayed out late Friday night and couldn’t wake up for that early morning bootcamp!)? It takes much more than simple mental resolve to accomplish the things we have in mind. Far before the glamorous end of the finish line is the tedious, difficult process of devising a plan. Your success depends on this crucial step. If you know that sticking to a plan is an area where you struggle, get a friend you know will hold you to it!
Go big this year. Resolve to do something to pursue growth in your life, even if that something is a commitment instead of a physical action. Strive hard, but don’t be so focused on the end achievement that you lose sight of the incredible growth during the process! Keep your chin up, and be sure to help somebody else in their endeavors along the way.