The New Year swooped in, and at twelve o’clock, instead of bringing it in with a few drinks and some sugar from someone sweet, I was in a NyQuil coma. The flu has hit me something fierce, and it’s not letting up. Of course, I would decide to return to work, after a five-month hiatus, when flu coodies are swarming around Southeast Texas. It started on my four days off, has followed me through my four days on shift, and now it has followed me home for Round Two of Deathly Days Off. It had me whooped y’all, but I’m on the downhill slope of it now, so at least I don’t feel like spilled fuck anymore. My detox tea, with honey and lemon, is giving me what I need this morning and hopefully, I can get rid of this mess entirely by the time I go back to work in a few days.
I stopped making resolutions a long time ago and opted for goal setting instead. It is just something that occurred naturally. At the beginning of a new year, I have a visual of what I want from myself. I also visualize an end result I want to achieve leading to the next year.
What’s the difference between resolutions and goals?
Although the words sound like they are the same, there is a difference that people tend to confuse. A resolution is a decision made to keep, whereas a goal is the desired result that we strive to achieve throughout the year. It is something we try to reach, a target with an end-point or time frame set for where we want to see ourselves once we have accomplished the goal.
Not that there is anything wrong with resolutions, but we put too much pressure on ourselves to just dive in and make immediate, cold turkey type, changes when we are accustomed to how we are already. When we set resolutions, we desire certain things or outcomes and we forget to prep for loss or any pain we may endure on our way to what we want. The main difference between a resolution and a goal is the mindset. When setting a goal over a period of time, we tend to plan more which then gives us room for unfortunate events that may create an obstacle. Resolutions can be over-optimistic and delusional, which in turn can lead to depression when we fail or fall short of our expectations.
If you’d rather take a lighter, self-compassionate approach to the new year and keep your sanity, try these alternatives in the place of your resolutions.
- Set small goals for each month or quarterly. Grab a calendar or planner and put your goals and expectations down on paper. Rather than tackling a resolution all year, create small monthly goals. Use your calendar or planner as an outline. You can add goals for each month or just focus on January and plan for February at the end of the month. If January’s goals are not completed by February, don’t get down too hard on yourself. If it is taking longer to accomplished than you expected, a goal set for January can roll over until completed.
- Create a personal credo, mission statement or mantra.A mantra is a powerful and empowering mind tool used in meditation. It can also be used daily and is meant to bring us back to simplicity in our complex world, shifting our focus to what inspires us and makes us happy. A credo is a set of beliefs that drive our thoughts and our behavior. It’s something we live by and follow throughout life. Your credo does not have to be as poetic as the beautifully worded creeds I found here, but these will give you a good example and spark a few ideas. You can add to them or take away as you grow and change. A personal mission statement provides clarity and creates a sense of purpose. I wrote a personal mission statement just last year when I became a life mentor.
- Create a yearly bucket list. Starting this year, write down all of the things you want to do. Anything you don’t complete this year, rolls over to next year and so on. Your list can include travel, crafts, subjects, and languages you want to learn, reading challenges, things you want to cook… No matter how small add them to the list. When we have things to look forward to it can boost our mood and as the saying goes, when you feel better, you do better. The personal discoveries are endless if you do this each year. You may find you have a knack for writing or other interests, hobbies, etc.
Change your life one small step at a time. Huge leaps can sometimes be catastrophic. There is no race, nor a finish line. There is always something new waiting to be discovered. Personal development and growth are continuous. This life is all yours. You can do with it whatever you feel. Your primary goal should be creating a happier life. Let go of the idea that you have to pick big things at the beginning of a new year and make the decision to pace yourself and reach goals, becoming the next best version of yourself.
2018 will be a somewhat selfish year for me. My time and energy will be invested solely in my blog, businesses, and education for upcoming plans. It will be spent improving myself, learning new things, and growing spiritually. I’ve been overly generous and have sacrificed a lot for others over the years, so I have no shame in taking a year to become a better version of myself with that being my only focus. Everyone and everything else is on the back burner for a little while.