I don’t love New Year’s Resolutions. I just don’t think there’s something magical about the date ticking over that can make you change your life. You can change your life any day of the year. I did this year. You can read my very first blog post, where life had taken me on some twists and turns and I knew I needed to make some changes, set some new goals, hopefully create a path to new dreams and a different future. https://justalittlejojo.com/2018/11/06/the-journey-begins/
I did that on November 6th, 2018. I didn’t wait for the magic January 1st to do something about my life and neither should you. That being said, I do like to be reflective around this time of year, mostly because I have a few days off work and some space to do it. I do like to reflect on where I’ve come from and set some goals for myself. I mostly stick to them. My life is vastly different than it was three years ago. And each and every goal I have set for myself in that time I have met in some way, shape or form. That doesn’t mean I’m where I thought I’d be- my life is very different to what I thought it would be even 4 months ago, and that’s ok it’s about the journey and the process of me growing more than circumstances changing. This year I have also found it useful to write down goals for myself (something I did around October this year). I didn’t just write down goals like ‘I want to lose 10kgs’ and leave it at that (my goal wasn’t that by the way- it just seems like a typical New Years Resolution. If that’s legitimately your goal, then all power to you!) I wrote down what I wanted, why I wanted that something to be different, and I also wrote down why it hasn’t happened yet- what are my blockages, why hasn’t it happened already. That then arms me with 1. Motivations and 2. Realistic expectations and smaller goals to work on rather than this huge pie in the sky dream. By breaking it down you won’t sit there in July, having achieved nothing (probably forgetting what goals you set in the first place, lets be honest) with no understanding why you haven’t achieved it and no clear direction as to how you could possibly make it happen. By understanding the barriers, you can break down your goal into to smaller achievable steps making the goals sustainable.
Over the next week before I start back at work (a new job I might add- 2019 really is a whole new me!) I’m going to spend a bit of time reflecting and setting some goals, in ways that I feel will help me achieve the goals. I thought I’d share my process and perhaps it might just help you out too.
Firstly I’m going to spend some time reflecting on 2018. For me there were massive highs and equally some earth-shattering lows. It would be easy for me to focus on the lows. I will spend some time thinking about them, about what I have learnt from them, about what gifts they gave me. But I will also choose to spend some time focusing on some wins. Here’s how I’m going to break it down:
Goals For 2019
Next I’m going to set my goals for 2019. Where do I want to be at the end of 2019? Who do I want to be? (remembering that if my goals don’t work out as planned then who I am at the end of it is more important- not letting lows and challenges change who I am in a negative way is a huge thing for me).
Yearly Goals- I’m going to set some overarching, big ticket goals. Here are some general areas you might like to break your goals down into:
Health & Fitness
Self Care- (I may further break this one down into these sub-goals; Health, Rest/Relaxation, Creativity, Spirituality, Friends & Family)
For each goal I set I’m going to ask the questions:
What do you want?
Why do you want it?
What could be a barrier?
From there I’m going to work my smaller steps to help me get there by the end of 2019. As a social worker I know if you sit down in front of someone and say, ‘you’re going to stop drinking, you’re going to find a house and you’re going to get a job’, they won’t a achieve much because it’s too overwhelming and they’ll just give up. Instead we break it down in to achievable steps and before you know it, they’ve done all the things to achieve those big goals. So, you say ‘we’re going to go to the GP- who will talk with you about counselling, and we’re going to go to Centrelink to figure out how much income you have, and we might put off the job goal until the first two are handled- then we’re going to get somewhere. Before you know it they’ve seen a counsellor, who’s helped them figure out why they’re self-medicating with alcohol, they’re feeling supported and ready to work on the issue, the counsellor has referred them to a drug and alcohol program and they’re working on reducing their intake. Also now they know how much money they have, they’ve made a budget, they’ve started searching online for private rental, we helped print off an introduction letter to give to real estate agents, now they’re attending inspections and things are looking good for them getting a house to live in. See those 2 big goals of ‘stop drinking and get a house’ are massive, but really, they are just a whole lot of little steps that are doable! And now they don’t drink anymore, and they’re living in stable accommodation, they have the headspace to think about getting a job.
Monthly Goals- So my monthly goals are going to be smaller steps, probably in line with what I said my barriers were. One of my big goals by the end of 2019 will be to find love again. But right now, that’s super overwhelming as I haven’t processed everything I need to from my last relationship. I’m 100% not ready for that so my goals need to be small steps about how I get ready. One of those things might be to read a book about relationships or journal about my feelings (these could be monthly or weekly/daily goals/tasks). Weekly/Daily To Do- Then I’ll set really practical tasks for myself to achieve the monthly and then yearly goals.
I’m also not going to set my monthly goals in advance. Life happens. I’m total living proof of that. So, you need to be able to be flexible and also present in the moment and in life to enjoy it. I’m only going to set myself goals month by month. And if doesn’t happen for one reason or another, I’m going to assess what the barrier was and perhaps set new goals to help overcome that barrier, and/or I’m going to try again. To do that I’m going to need to have space to write down my Reflections- I’ll write about how I’m going, what wins I’m having, what I’m struggling with. The only way you can overcome something is if you admit that it’s a struggle in the first place. And if you aren’t acknowledging your wins, you’re just going to get bogged down and it’ll become a chore. Remember these can be as detailed as you want. Some of us are really involved in our writing process so I’ll have a lot to write. Others will jot down some dot points. The point really isn’t about making it a huge task you give up on, it’s just a process to help you be reflective.
One of my goals is to be more thankful, or to purposely acknowledge what I’m thankful for. I created a project for myself a few years ago which I’m going to try again this year. I have a journal which is marked with numbers from 1-365. Each page is blank. My plan is to find something every day I am thankful for and either take a picture, write it down, draw something – whatever I feel on the day. Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have 365 things I’ve been thankful for.