The Saggy Middle
Did you start off January with a bang full of great ideas and resolutions for improving your life? Are you getting to the sagging middle of the month unsure of whether or not you will complete your resolutions? Why do we start of the new year with such energy only to have it waver by February?
Most of us set our resolutions from a feeling of discontent and discouragement in our lives. Maybe we want to lose weight because we feel fat. Perhaps we want a new job because we can’t afford all the things we want, while not being grateful for things we need that we already have. According to www.goodtherapy.org fear and self-doubt are two of the biggest reasons resolutions are so difficult to keep.
Some of us may try to set goals each year, instead of resolutions. Does this work any better? Only if you set your goals with intent. Perhaps if you have been in the goal-setting realm, you have heard of SMART goals. This is a good foundation for goal-setting, but doesn’t include intention. According to the Life Designer University blog at www.lifedesigneru.com, SMART goal setting means:
- Specific. Get clear on what it is that you actually want to accomplish. What is the who, what, when, where, and why.
- Measurable. How can your goal be tracked? Set up target dates and a project management system to track progress.
- Actionable/Attainable. Brainstorm the ways that your goal can be reached, and from there create your action plan.
- Realistic. Is the goal realistic for this time and season of your life? If not, alter your goals so they can become more reasonable (however, this is not an excuse to avoid challenging yourself).
- Time-bound. Assign a due date to your goal. Without a due date, your goal will just be a dream.
In order to take things a step further and ensure better success, goals should be set with intention, but what does this mean exactly? In order to keep us from hindering ourselves from true progress, Nicole Benton from Good Therapy gives five steps to make sure you live with intentionality in the new year.
- Write your vision and make it clear. It may seem simple, or even silly, but if we don’t write down and organize our thoughts, things can get lost. Writing things down is also the first step in holding ourselves accountable.
- Create a plan for how to execute your goals. Writing goals is not enough. Make an action plan to put into place. This includes each step you need to take to complete your goal, including dates and deadlines so you can meet your objectives.
- Pace yourself. At first, you may be full of ambition and ready to hit the ground running. However, achieving many things all at the same time is rather unrealistic. Don’t lose the hunger or fire for success, but it doesn’t all have to happen at once.
- Enlist an accountability partner. Ideally, this is someone who truly wants what is best for you and will give you the truth with no filter. They will help you keep track of your objectives when you are tired, weary, and frustrated. This relationship should be mutually beneficial, meaning you are helping them achieve something as well. This is the person you celebrate with when your goal(s) is met.
- Practice self-care. This is the tough part. It is so much easier to focus on everyone else than it is to take care of ourselves. However, we are no good to anyone else if we do not practice self-care. We often put too much pressure on ourselves. Look at self-care as another part of your plan to achieve your goals. Take time to figure out what self-care looks like for you. Is it an extra 30 minutes of sleep? A long bath in the evening? A morning or evening routine to take care of hygiene? It looks different for everyone.
Personally, I have decided to undertake a challenge for 2019. I saw a Pinterest post where someone attempted to complete 19 goals by 2019 and succeeded. I am attempting a similar challenge: 20 goals before 2020. Some of the goals are small, and some are large. Some are one time only, some are quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily.
I track all of this in a notebook I have made into a bullet journal. Luckily for you, the library will host an Introduction to Bullet Journaling class on January 28th in the Art Gallery from 6-8 pm. The wonderful thing about bullet journaling is that it doesn’t have to require a lot of time or even artistic talent. You can make it as simple or decorative and fun as you like. Mine is pretty pared down so I can focus on my goals.
So, as you hit the saggy middle of January, get some new pep in your step. It is not too late to turn those resolutions into intentional goals and set them from a place of joy rather than discontent. Make an action plan today and live life on your terms.