Wednesday, December 29, 2021

New Year's Resolutions Got Me Wondering . . .


As 2021 comes to a close, it’s a time when many people make New Year’s Resolutions.  I will lose that 10 pounds I put on during COVID.  I will give up alcohol, sugar and/or caffeine.   I will start a workout routine and get in shape.  

(In my best Carrie Bradshaw voice)  “I wondered, has New Year’s Resolutions become more about the tradition, than the intention? Why is it that we wait an entire year to verbalize goals?  Are we simply giving up control of our own destination and making goal-setting a cliché?”  

The good news is, people want to make positive changes, right?  The bad news is, statistics show most fail within a couple weeks of making their New Year’s Resolution(s).    The reality is, setting New Year’s Resolutions resembles more of a gesture or statement for change rather than an impetus to change.  

Have you ever heard the following quote?  “You are presented two choices in life.  Evolve or repeat.” I think a more accurate variation of this quote would be, “You are presented with three choices in life.  Evolve, repeat or remain the same.”  Think about it.  How many times have you repeated the same resolution over and over again to only fail every time?   Isn’t the point of a resolution to evolve—to change—to improve?  And yet, most of us remain the same.  

Look, I get it.  We are in a pandemic—a seemingly never-ending pandemic!  Mustering up the motivation needed to set goals that are intentional sounds like work.   But, aren’t you getting sick of being stuck?  We’ve been stuck for almost two years!   

Evolving and changing are action words.  They mean we are improving—we are advancing.   The best part?  We are in control of the trajectory of our own lives.  Sure, the pandemic places roadblocks that we have never had to deal with before.  But, it can’t control our feelings, our actions or our reactions.  It only wins if we allow it to. 

I’ll be honest with you.  I don’t feel like I’ve evolved or moved forward over the past two years.  I could blame it on the pandemic, sure.  The truth is, I allowed an additional excuse to not progress.  If I think about it, I lost two years of potential growth simply by allowing the pandemic to control my movement.  I ate too much.  I drank wine too much.  I felt sorry for myself too much.  And even worse so, I stopped doing one of the things I love to do more than anything—write.  

It’s time to put our big boy and big girl superhero Underoos on and stop making excuses—and flaky resolutions—and get unstuck.  The following are a few tips on how to make intentional goals for 2022 that will actually stick:

1.  Make both short-term and long-term goals.  For example:  The long-term goal could be to get your Bachelor’s Degree.  The short-term goal could be to register for one class this semester. They are connected, right?   Setting the goal to get your Bachelor’s Degree is the end goal, but registering NOW for one class this semester is the action goal.  Action is movement!  

2.  Celebrate each action goal.  Many people fail at reaching their goals because they aren’t specific enough or the benefit takes too long to achieve.    To stay motivated, celebrate each time you reach that short-term goal.   It will encourage you to set the NEXT short-term goal.  More movement!

3.  Write down, post, share your action goal(s).    As a HR Director I often say, if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.  Well, the same thing can be said about setting and achieving goals.   By writing down your long-term goal(s) and bulleting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable and relevant) short-term action goals will help in holding yourself accountable.  Visit your written goals regularly.  Check off or put a huge smiley face next to each action goal you meet and then move on to the next.  Another option, is to post your goals in your office, on your refrigerator, or in a place that will remind you of it each day.  

Example:  Each year, the HR Department picks a quote or saying that they want to concentrate on during the year.  We meet and discuss and share our choices and then frame them and place them in the lobby.  Not only can we see them each day, but visitors enjoy reading them when they come to our office.

Example:  Proteus’s USI Benefits Broker, Emily Santanelli does a “one word” challenge that you set for the New Year.  I’ve done this with her over the past few years and I love it.  Last year my word was “peace.”  My goal was to concentrate on slowing my mind and finding internal peace through set action items.  She even sent me a cute bracelet that says “peace” on it so I can have that reminder with me each day.  

 (In my best Carrie Bradshaw voice)  So there you have it.  While I always loved the tradition of setting New Year’s Resolutions, I couldn’t help but wonder, wouldn’t I have more growth and change if I was more intentional with my goal setting?”

The best tip I can give you?  Just get started.  

Today is the day!  

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