This is not your average new year’s resolutions post, I promise. As another year comes to a close, and we look forward to 2022 it can be hard to know exactly what to feel. The past couple of years have been a lot to say the least, and entering a new year is no doubt colored by a mix of hope and anxiety about the future. While we cannot control the way that this next year goes, there are definitely steps that we can take to start the year off on the right track.
You can’t start a new year without reflecting back on the year that you have just had. Take the time to ask yourself a few questions, and be completely honest if only with yourself. This is going to help you to see the good where you may have felt that there wasn’t much, as well as highlight patterns that have led to failures and successes alike. Drawing from both the positive and negative aspects of the past year and focusing on what you leaned from both will help you to formulate a plan to get the most out of the upcoming year.
- What went well this year?
- What did not go well this year?
- What did I learn from this year?
We all know that new year’s resolutions almost never work out the way that we expect, if at all, but there are ways to set goals for yourself at the beginning of a new year without doing the traditional new year’s resolution thing. In fact, setting goals for yourself is an incredibly important part of being successful. The actual practice of setting goals is going to look completely different from person to person, and it is important to tailor the process to yourself, and not try and make something that does not fit you work. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you function better with someone keeping you accountable? If so, you may want to work with an accountability partner.
- What do you need to be successful, and how can you attain these circumstances?
- What does the “best version of you” look like (realistically)?
A huge part of the reason why new year’s resolutions so famously end up fizzling out is because of the pressure to make huge, unrealistic, and unsustainable changes at a certain time of the year. When you are setting your goals, remember to be realistic and focus on making valuable and sustainable changes to your life. Remember that you are only human, and as such you need to practice self-care. Whether you are the type to hold yourself to an impossible standard, or beat yourself up for not holding yourself to a high enough standard (or some combination of both), you need to set boundaries, and give yourself time to rest and revitalize in order to be at your best. You will not always be your best self and that is okay. We are not meant to run ourselves into the ground 24/7. When you are setting goals for yourself remember to:
- Be realistic with your goals
- Be clear and specific about your goals
- Be kind to yourself
- Be flexible when things are out of your control
- Be honest about what isn’t working, and make the necessary changes
- Set boundaries with yourself and with others
Some people work better with a loose framework of where they want to be and how to get there, others need a strict plan for exactly what they want to accomplish and exactly how to do it, and lots of people are on a spectrum somewhere in between. It is important to know where on this spectrum that you as an individual fall. As you set your goals, as yourself these questions:
- Where do you want to be this time next year?
- What do you want to accomplish this year?
- What do you need in order to accomplish this goal/end up where you want to be a year from now?
- Why do you want to accomplish this goal/end up in this place?
- Do you feel that there is something that has been keeping you from this goal in the past?
- If so, what are these obstacles and how can you eliminate them?
- Your plan will more than likely shift and flex. That is okay. If there is one thing that the last two years have taught us, it is that you cannot possibly know what is going to happen in the world or how it will affect you and your plans. That doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Just because things aren’t always easy or predictable does not mean that the outcome will be negative, as long as you take it all in stride. Not everyone is naturally good at rolling with the punches, but it is something that we can all work on. This is not to say that you allow yourself to become a doormat. There is a difference between being flexible, and bending over backwards for people who do not see your worth, or compromising on things that are important to you. A huge part of this is figuring out how you operate in various aspects of your life, and keeping in mind that you cannot control the world around you. You can only react to it.
- Its is okay to ask for help and support. For a lot of people, myself included, asking for help is something that does not come naturally. As humans we are, for the most part, meant to function together. We need support and help, and that looks different from person to person. Making sure that you have access to the resources that you need, as well as a strong and healthy support system in place are going to be incredibly important to your success.
- You are capable.