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New Year's Resolutions Don't Work But Here's How You Can Meet Your Goals Anyway

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

We're barely 2 weeks into the onslaught of New Year's resolutions that have been promised and sworn by most who were fortunate enough to ring in 2023 with hope and (hopefully) some goals to keep moving through this life we're all building. Unfortunately, I've found, new year's resolutions don't work just because we listed them on a piece of paper or shared them for the world to see. They don't work but we can do the work to meet our goals in the new year, whenever we decide to start pursuing them.

Within 1 to 8 weeks, best-laid plans to get our shit together in the new year are abandoned. Some never get started, fizzle out or leave us drained and a little miserable. Whether this leaves a feeling of defeat or despair it isn't the ideal way to start the year. And it's hard. With that type of cycle on repeat, it can be tough to get anything to feel like it's going to go your way- especially when you're just trying to get started!

So what do we do? Our heart is in the right place but it's just as important for our brain to be on board.

if we want to do big things we've got to start with the small stuff

I actually feel the most motivated coming off of the holiday high of fall and winter celebrations so I can easily over plan my next moves just because I'm so ready to check off my goals! I feel like I've got the ideas and energy to go along with them so why not kick it into high gear? Because it's the beginning or feeling like the middle of winter for a lot of us. Since colder months are usually associated with quiet, rest, and a slower pace of intentional living it's unnatural to just jump out of that because the date changes.

Our minds are barely over taking down holiday decorations.

I start [goal planning + intention setting] in August of the previous year. Something about the summer energy leading up to the fall just works for me and doesn't feel the same during the quiet winter months.

Do you have a time of year that makes you feel more alive than others? That's worth exploring if you aren't in the goal-setting mood right now.

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So how can we set our goals and intentions without falling into the resolution pit??? There are actually a lot of good answers for this. And I'm sure there is a list somewhere that we could follow but if we want to do big things we've got to start with the small stuff. In anything you do there are going to be 3 main things to consider:

Q: Is this goal measurable? It doesn't sound very glamorous but measurable milestones help us focus on the present and anchor to our goals and intentions.

A: Yes?!

Decide where and how you're going to keep track of it. I use the Ink and Volt goal planner for my Aug-Jul planning and a separate growth planner for self-care. What works best for you? You may need to try a few different options to find the one.

A: I'm not so sure...

Some things sound good in our head or when we read them on someone else's post but maybe they aren't really for us. Maybe we're just motivated by their progress and believe we'll feel the same reaching that same goal. Attaching yourself to a goal you don't have value for is a slippery slope of disengagement from the self. We start doing things because someone else did. It isn't very helpful for our own goals unless it is truly a goal we intend to personalize.

When in doubt work on figuring it out. Is your goal really to move to the countryside or do you just need a quiet getaway, probably without the snow? If you're still unsure apply the next question to it. When it's for you, you'll know because all of your answers will start with "I".

Q: Why do I value this goal? We don't hold on to things we don't value so what does your goal mean to you? For you? What would it mean for those closest/important to you? If your answers don't start with "I" you may want to reevaluate.

Q: What current behaviors need to change? Ask and answer the tough questions. I'm sure this isn't the only one we'll come across. Another I can think of is, what will I lose by doing this? The answers will be tougher than the questions but without change, nothing changes. Have the courage to ask and answer anyway. A more exciting one to ask is, what will I gain by doing this? Write them down. It helps with challenges along the way.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. The key is to create a balance that will meet the behaviors (intentions) you're using on this journey of discovery. At any time you may need to review, revisit and readjust your goals.

It's still a big deal to set goals and intentions during this time or even tweak some current ones that you've been working on. But progress and proofing are essential to your success and can't be measured overnight. Give yourself space and time to ease into the next exciting months of your life.

I'd love to know...

What's your goal-setting season or mood? What goals are you continuing to pursue from last year?

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