Let’s talk goals and resolutions because it’s such fun! Right? Haha!
But really, it is fun. Thrilling, even. Let me explain.
I’ve made my share of well intentioned New Year’s resolutions but in recent years, I haven’t even bothered with wasting the effort anymore because those resolutions had become synonymous with wishful thinking in my mind after so many unachieved disasters. Does that sound familiar to you?
According to this article, only 30% of Canadians even bother making New Year’s resolutions anymore and then about 73% of those who do, will break them long before the year is out. Those are dismal statistics if you’re looking for reassurance that you’ll arrive at the destination you’d like to get to, right?
Don’t be discouraged though, there is great news ahead!
I believe that the reason we often fail at resolutions, if we even bother to make them, is because we go about the process all wrong. We tell ourselves things like we’ll lose weight and eat healthy or that we’ll enjoy life more and so on. In fact, in the same article where the statistics in the above paragraph are from, we are told that the top five resolutions that Canadians make, if they do make resolutions, are:
- Living a healthier lifestyle
- Focus on the positives
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Be true to one’s self
- Learn something new
There are three main problems we need to be aware of that lead to such failure in follow through.
- Vagueness: The above are all very vague resolutions and therein lies one of the major problems which lead to such a steep rate of failure. In order to succeed, you must be able to develop a very specific goal that you can measure and take measured, sure steps toward every single day.
- Timing: Another flaw in the New Year’s resolution charade lies in the timing. Why does a person spend all year coasting along in unhealthy habits, then resolve in the last week of December to start fresh on the first day of the new year and do EVERYTHING differently? I think the best time to set a (specific, defined and measurable goal) is right now. If you need to change something in your life, right now is the time to get started.
- Overwhelming: Lastly, many of us make resolutions when we are feeling very discouraged and dissatisfied in our lives and we want to change everything. So we make the mistake of making an overwhelming list of resolutions that we can’t ever achieve all at once. When we have the first hard day, we just throw in the towel on the whole thing.
If you need to begin working toward something to create the life you desire, start now; don’t coast for another five months and then make a vague, generalized resolution that will ensure almost certain failure within months of the next year.
You may wonder why I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions and goals in the middle of summer. Exactly because this is the time when so many of you have given up, or are about to throw that towel in. I hope I can motivate you to take a fresh look at what you’re trying to achieve. Sometimes all you need is to reframe some things to get an ah-ha moment to steer you along.
And although I’ve already told you that I think waiting until the end of a year to decide that you’ll make the fast approaching new year different and better is not a great idea, it does have one advantage: it is a very clear, clean new start, which can be a bolstering force, if you create good goals and proper plans. I’d love for you to start today, right now! But maybe you need to just bring out your New Year’s resolutions again (if you did make any) and whittle that down to a couple of action steps you can take every day to get you on your way.
This was the case for me. 2015 was probably the most difficult year of my entire life, which is really saying something. I had a total breakdown in the latter part of the year and I realized that I would either die in the state I was in or I had to find a way to take myself out of the pits because there wasn’t going to be anyone to do it for me. I didn’t have love or support or strong relationships to depend on to carry me through the endless days that had no light at the end of the tunnel. I had myself and that was it. When I acknowledged that fact and just accepted it, it cemented something for me internally. It lit a spark; a small flicker of desire to overcome – for myself. To prove to myself that I could. To dare to dream that I could really, truly be okay.
When I went through this breakdown, I sought medical help and it was such a great blessing. I’m not ashamed of this in the least. I think it is pride which often stands in the way of getting the help we need because we have such a need to have people see us as having it all together. I’m perfectly okay with saying, out in public, that I needed serious help and I went and got it. If you need that help, please go and get it. Do it right now and don’t worry about people being judgemental. They don’t have to live your life, you do.
Through professional therapy and with the aid of careful diet, supplemented with medicine and nutritional supplements, I was able to gradually gain some ground in the fight for my health. You’ll never know how much the health of your emotions, mind and spirit are connected to your physical health until you experience such devastation in your life that you’re unable to hold onto any optimism anymore. I’m not sure whether I’ll ever be 100% healthy again but I’m so much healthier these days and I’ll never quit striving for as much good health as is in my power to achieve. I’ve gotten to the point where I can even handle small amounts of exercise several days of the week. This is a huge accomplishment for me!
I tell you this as a bit of a preamble into how I came to make my goals and how it is that I’ve managed to achieve all of them! Yes, all of them. Champagne all around! Haha!
This post has gotten quite long at this point so I’m going to cut it off here and then I’ll continue with my goal achievement story tomorrow.
My hope is that you will be able to draw inspiration from it if you’re feeling like you’re at a low point in your life and you don’t know how to get out of that rut. I truly believe that the answer is right there, inside of you. I truly believe that you are stronger than you feel like you are and I believe that if you follow a few simple steps, you really can create a goal (or a few!) and be successful in reaching those goals. And I want to encourage you, if you are experiencing more than just a general rut in your life, don’t be afraid to look for help! There is amazing help out there. Sometimes it can be as simple as developing a deep friendship you can lean on through troubled times. Other times, you may need more intense help. Don’t let the fear of what people will think deter you from what you need to do to be okay. Trust me, I know what that’s like and the only person who suffers is you.
So come back tomorrow and we’ll continue this conversation!
But before I go, here is an excellent quote that about sums it all up to this point: