2016 WAS THE WORST YEAR IN THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET.
Just kidding. But in truth, it was crappy. On a global, national and even personal scale, this year was painful.
If you had a good 2016 please reach out, I truly feel you need be tested to see how you were immune to this shittiness, applauded.
I really can’t wait for 2017, it just HAS to be better. We will make it better.
Putting 2016 aside, the beginning of a new year is always filled with hope, expectation and boundless ambition. There is a certain rush that comes with setting goals, the loftier the goal, the bigger the high. Yet, the high fades once you need to start putting in work. It’s then replaced with frustration, resentment, self doubt and crippling insecurity.
Does this pattern sound familiar? I know it does for me. My birthday is on New Year’s Eve, so I’ve always felt even more pressure to start with a clean slate on January 1st, after all, I’m one year older, AND it’s a brand new year.
I’m a huge proponent of goals. I set monthly, weekly and sometimes daily goals. Goals are important, and I firmly believe without them we feel a bit untethered. But there is an art to goal setting that is often ignored.
Before you set your goals for the New Year, you need to engage in a bit of self reflection and pre-work. Think of your goals as something you need to present to yourself, much like you would propose a new business plan to your boss. You need to rationalize why these goals are worth your time, why achieving these goals would improve your life, and what would a successful outcome would look like.
Six Steps for Goal Setting
1) Think back on the past year(s) of your life, and really tap into the negative feelings you’ve experienced.
What area of your life do they seem to gather around? Your career, relationships, health, education? This may not be obvious and could take a good amount of time, so I encourage you to start now so come January 1st you’re crystal clear.
It’s very important to focus on feelings vs thoughts. If you think you need to lose weight, that’s simply not enough. I think I should have 17% body fat but I’m sure as hell not there, because really, I don’t feel in my soul that I want to be at 17% body fat ( I love ice cream way too much). Focus on the feeling and this should help bring to surface the areas of your life you need to focus on.
2)Make a list of the top three or four areas you’d like to improve upon, then list out the changes you’d like to make.
Be as specific as possible. Then choose the one our two most important goals- overcommitting yourself is sure fire way to fail. If you achieve these two goals you can always tack on another.
3) Identify why you want to make these changes (this may not be what you think).
For instance, lets take the most common New Year resolution, weight loss. Sure, you want to lose 15 lbs. But why do you want to lose those 15lbs? Is it to fit into clothes you used to fit into, look great for your best friend’s wedding, gain confidence, improve your health? Maybe all of those are factors, but you need to figure out what is the ultimate driver for why you want to lose the weight. Find a compelling reason to choose to lose 15 lbs, because you won’t be able to emotionally attach to the task of doing so without an anchor.
In the book The Undefeated Mind the author explains the importance of an anchor. A patient of his who was morbidly obese had struggled to lose weight her entire life. Overtime, he helped her realize that one of the biggest drivers for her to lose weight was so she could have children. Of course she was insecure and wanted to look better, get married etc and didn’t feel she could do so at her current weight, but the thing she most feared was not being able to have children because she was so unhealthy. Clinging to this desire to have children helped her lose a significant amount of weight, after years of failed attempts.
4) Break down e-x-a-c-t-l-y how you’re going to achieve this goal.
No goal can be completed without a plan. Will power has nothing to do with achieving goals, it has to to do with planning and preparation. Knowing that you are following a process that will allow you to reach your goal makes it 10x easier.
So you want to lose 15lbs? Hire a nutritionist, get a gym membership, read up on the best ways to lose weight for YOU. This is where using a professional, or asking for help from an experienced colleague or friend comes in handy. It takes a village, or at least an expert, to make big changes.
For instance, I chose to adopt meditation as a practice this past year. I HATED meditating (sometimes I still do). I tried to go it alone but I realized to make a lasting change I needed some help. I enrolled in a 10 week meditation course (Insight LA) and while I can’t say that I’m not a meditation guru, but it has become an important part of my daily routine. So in summary, make a plan!
5) Train yourself to look at effort as part of your success
If you want to lose weight, a specific number of pounds to lose is good as a rough guide, but focusing too much on a metric can be frustrating, and this metric may change as you move towards your goal. Instead focus on the effort; are you eating healthfully, committed to your exercise routine? If you’re following your plan, success will come, it may take longer than you anticipated, or your goal may change over time. Continuing on the path towards your goal is just as important. Be kind to yourself, be flexible and encourage yourself throughout the process as you would a close friend or family member. Trust yourself and trust the plan you’ve created.
6) Recommit yourself to your goal
When you’re struggling, remind yourself of your anchor. Take some time to recommit, daily, weekly and monthly. Don’t allow yourself to get wrapped up in the difficulties that surround making this change, instead, internalize your reasons for wanting to reach this goal. Anything worth achieving is worth struggling for.
There you have it, six easy(ish) steps to creating feasible goals and smashing them in 2017.
I hope these tips will help you define and and commit to resolutions in 2017 that bring you health, happiness and peace.