by Megan Vixie
We’re a couple months into the New Year, and it’s time to check in about those goals we made for ourselves. Yup, that’s right. You know, the resolutions that some of us carefully thought out and wrote down on our dream boards, while others spontaneously shouted theirs out over the pop of champagne and confetti at midnight? Remember those? (Mine was the latter, if you’re curious).
So, let’s have a chat.
Time always slips away faster than you can even notice it happening. I mean, it’s mid-way through the first month of 2019 but it feels like just yesterday we were all debating what to call the new year: “two-thousand-ten” or “twenty-ten”? (Anyone know what we decided, anyways?)
It seems like every year comes and goes faster than the last, and before we know it, we find ourselves at the end of another December wondering how the months could already be behind us so quickly. Around this time, we also find ourselves thinking over all the things we wanted to do (the things we said we would do) and realize the goals we so enthusiastically made for ourselves at the start of the year got swept under the rug and forgotten. We pushed them off week by week until there were no more weeks to spare.
And so, we try again. On the eve of the new year, we make new resolutions—better resolutions—ones that we’re sure to stick to this time.
Well, the truth is, most resolutions don’t make it very far. We get caught up in the excitement of the new year and all it has to offer us, and we dedicate ourselves to our goals for the first few weeks. Some people make it the whole month, some people even make it farther than that. But, for most of us, when that excitement wears off, we lose track of our goals. The time-lines we gave ourselves get fuzzy, life gets busy, and before we know it, we’re at the end of another December, ringing in the new year and our resolutions are but a blurry memory.
I know, I know. At this point, you’re probably thinking, WOW, this chat of ours is a real bummer and if sooo many resolutions end in failure maybe we should all just stop wasting time making them anyways, right? Bring on the chips and soda!
Resolutions ARE important! But they’re also hard to stick to. It’s important that we acknowledge this so we can be better supporters for our friends and family who make them, and even for ourselves. When we identify the ways we want to improve our lives by making goals, no matter how small or how big, we give ourselves power over our time and what we want to make of it. And some days, we struggle. We bargain with ourselves for just one cheat day, and then a few cheat days, which turns into a cheat week, and then a cheat month, and pretty soon we’ve given up.
So, I know it’s midway through January and the excitement is ebbing away, but I want to challenge and encourage you:
DON’T GIVE UP!
You can and will stick to those goals you made. Let’s talk about how.
Always expect excellence from yourself, but also remember to give yourself grace.
Now, I know you may be thinking that seems intimidating; to be excellent, all the time. What happened to “nobody’s perfect”? So, bear with me.
Let’s re-define excellence in a way that makes it seem less daunting. To be excellent, or to put forth your excellent effort does not mean to be perfect. It means to expect your best from yourself, and not the best in comparison to other people. Sometimes we have rough days, and if the best you can do on a day when you’re sick or feeling down in the dumps is get out of bed and make yourself some soup, then GO. YOU.
Too often, we compare our success to the success of other people, which is just about as useful as comparing pebbles to rocks. We all come from different walks of life, and have unique and beautiful perspectives on our world, as well as unique challenges in facing it. Use your past self, and only yourself, as the measuring stick by which you see your growth and recognize your improvement. Compare yourself to no one else but who you used to be.
In pursuing your version of excellence, and achieving your goals, it is also vital that you remember to give yourself grace.
Grace is patience, understanding, and forgiveness. Sometimes the goals we make are too big, too unapproachable, too something, and we set ourselves up for failure without realizing it. When that failure happens, we don’t forgive ourselves because we see the problem as our inability to meet the goal, not in the unrealistic nature of the goal itself.
That kind of pressure can crush anyone, so don’t put it on yourself.
Avoid this by setting yourself up for success, giving yourself grace, and being kind to yourself in pursuing whatever resolution you’ve made for this year. Feeling overwhelmed? Break those larger goals into smaller, more manageable goals and modify them to meet your needs. Recognize that doing so is not admitting that you aren’t good enough to meet the original goal, it is admitting that the goal itself was unrealistic.
Take baby steps. Take your time. (Remember, you have the whole year!) Know that your resolutions are for you and no one else. Write down your goals where you can see them and be reminded of them. Maybe throw some glitter on it and decorate it because why can’t all of this be fun, too?
Celebrate your wins, no matter how small they may seem or in what form they come. And most importantly, accept that even though you may have some setbacks, that they will not and cannot bring you down. Pick yourself up and try again. Because you can do this, and you will do this.
Ultimately, my wish for you in your resolutions, whatever they may be, is that you pursue your goals with nothing but positive energy and self-love, and that you know without a doubt that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Because before you know it, it’ll be the end of another December, and my hope is that this time you’ll be so busy reflecting on the positive progress you built and happy memories you made in 2019 that you won’t hear the newscasters bantering on T.V. about whether to call the new year “two-thousand-twenty” or “twenty-twenty”.