A New Take on New Year's
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with New Year’s.
Love in the sense of being thankful to make it through another calendar year, and having a “fresh start” to kick off the new year and leave the old one behind.
But also hate, in the sense of resolutions and goal setting. In my mind, I always ask “Why wait until New Years to set resolutions and be serious about your goals? Shouldn’t one be doing that regardless of New Years?”
We all see the gyms packed in January with all the weight loss resolutions, only to see the gyms go back to normal capacity come March.
In the same way, I have had many “failed attempts” at past New Year’s Resolutions, with some tenures lasting longer and shorter than others. As a result, I admit in the past I have adopted a bitter taste towards New Year’s that is responsible for the “hate” side of the relationship I’ve mentioned above.
After some really solid discussions with friends and mentors recently, however, I was challenged to look at New Year’s Resolutions with a different pair of glasses. Among these separate discussions, 4 common denominators stood out that gave me a fresh perspective — and make 2019 the first year in a long time that I really feel I can hit (all 9) of my resolutions and goals.
The point of this post is to share the same perspective I’ve gained, and hope you adopt any or all that you feel relate to you and your own resolutions and goals.
1) Breaking Big Goals Into Small Steps
“Eating an elephant can only be done one way: one bite at a time. Trying to gulp it down in one sitting is asking for a stomach ache.” — My own take on an already famous quote.
Breaking down big goals into steps is something we do here at Creative Squeeze, and something that also happens in all of the other projects I am apart of with other people. However for some reason, I have failed to adopt this attitude with my own personal goals and endeavors. Breaking down big goals creates pace. Pace ensures you don’t get burnt out and lose the flame too early.
It introduces patience.
Technically speaking, if you pace yourself, and hit your personal goal on December 31, 11:59pm, 2019, you have still reached your goal/resolution, right?
Creating pace drastically increase the chance of one’s success at reaching their goals.
2) Celebrate Small Wins
When you are an ambitious workaholic, you are always in the habit of getting things done and marking them off your to-do list — then on to the next without even blinking. After a month’s worth of tasks, you’ve got a buttload of stuff done, but you still don’t feel accomplished enough.
Taking time to celebrate the small victories and wins can make a huge difference in your morale and attitude towards your work. Too many times my friends and family have had to “slap me” to remind me of so many things that I have accomplished when they hear me complain about “how much I still need to do.”
Stop and celebrate the small W’s from time to time. Celebrate closing that project, handling that tough phone call, or even something as simple as getting to work safely in the rain.
Bringing this back to New Year Resolutions, celebrating small wins throughout the New Year will make you vividly aware of the progress you are making towards your goal.
Setting goals are the easy(er) part. And yes, breaking them down into small bites is important.
But why not take it a step further and actually be held accountable for the goals you have set? Studies actually show that you are more likely to achieve a goal if you share it with somebody and have them hold you accountable for it.
Find somebody that you trust, and ask them to hold you accountable for what you want to achieve. In my case, my girlfriend and I are accountability partners and have committed to checking in every weekend on our resolutions when we see each other, asking each other what small bites we achieved that week towards “eating our elephants.”
For you, it can be a significant other, a spouse, the homie, your kids… Bottom line, just find someone who truly wants to see you achieve your goals, and ask them to hold you accountable for it.
4) Enjoy The Journey
We live in an age of instant gratification. The environments around us, even since we were kids in elementary school, are results-driven environments. If you don’t hit your goal, you fail. Many of us will hang our heads at the notion of failing at our goal, but typically ignore the journey, the process, and many of the skillsets, lessons, and things that we picked up along the way, which are just as important.
If by January 1, 2020, you have still not hit your goal(s) then don’t hang your head — look at it this way: 2019 simply served as a year-long head-start for you to cross the finish line. If your goal was to lose 10 pounds in 2019 and you only lost 9, those 9 pounds you lost during the journey don’t just magically disappear because you didn’t hit your 10. Because of your 2019 journey, you now only have 1 pound to lose in 2020.
“It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.” — Isocrates
Good luck on your 2019 New Year’s Resolution quest!