Happy New Year good people! We have kicked off a new decade and it is now officially Week 3. Give yourself a small clap for making it to this new week. Actually, before you give yourself too much credit for making it to Week 3, I want you to ask yourself, how are my new year's resolutions holding up? That is if you had any for this year.
Let me just say…
“I do not believe in New Year's Resolutions.”– Me
There, I said it out loud and in print. In my best Nene Leakes voice, I said what I said. I have honestly never been comfortable saying it, but this is a new year and new decade so I am stepping out and making it clear. This pairs with the fact that I am not a fan of vision boards either. As one of my girlfriends put it “a vision board with no actions tied to it are just dreams and wasted magazines.” So no, I will probably not be at your vision board party and that's ok. I have always felt this pressure (not directly, but indirectly) to agree with resolutions and to create them year to year. I felt like that was what I was supposed to do and if not I was some kind of annual life slacker. Like there was New Year's Resolution police that would come for me and question my life decisions. This obviously was all made up in my head. I had constructed this “must do” step to start a new year all within myself. When I say I do not believe in New Year's Resolutions, this does not mean that 1. I am judging you for your resolutions or 2. That I don't believe in goal setting for the new year. I do however believe that in general resolutions are way too hyped up and unfortunately fail as fast as they start. I believe you have the best intentions when establishing these New Year's Resolutions. But we have to get to the bottom of why up to 80% these intentions never come to fruition.
So I started thinking about why this is. Why do New Year's Resolutions (in general) not make it to February? Some of you not past January 2nd (no shade, we are here to help). So I did some investigating and asked my circle.
A Few Reasons Why New Year's Resolutions Fail:
- Too much. Too soon. Like I mentioned before, New Year's Resolutions are way over hyped. It's like waiting to hit a new restaurant, hearing all the buzz, then going and the food/service is just ok. And we have all been there! We put so much on ourselves in this single statement. The weight of the statement becomes unbearable then we fold. Why are we looking at this resolution as a one step process? It's not going to happen overnight so why do we treat it as such?
- No Process. It's hard to trust the process if you don't have one. A resolution leaves you with so many loop holes and get out of jail free cards because typically it's a blanket statement. One that sounds real good, but has no smaller actionable items to go along with it.
- Unreasonable Resolutions. Look, we are all here to uplift one another and raise the bar each year. But you have to be honest with yourself about the Resolutions you are setting in order to be successful so that you don't lose momentum.
- No outside support. Yes, this is your resolution and it's an internal decision. But having support is a thing, and it can make the difference in your success especially when starting out. Why do you think people in AA have sponsors or those starting a fitness journey have an accountability buddy? #supportmatters
- You Are Doing This For Somebody Else. I don't know who you are trying to fool, but picking a trendy or socially “acceptable” resolution just to be part of the discussion is not the way to success. Ask yourself if this for me because it's truly what I want or for some version of me I want people to see?
Ok Brittney, what you are telling us is we should not set New Year's Resolutions and that if we do, chances are we will fail? So what should we do since you must have it figured out? Glad you asked.
What I do wholeheartedly believe in is goal setting and giving yourself a theme or word to base your year around. I was taught years ago by an industry professional on creating SMART goals. Many of you reading this are familiar with the SMART acronym and have taught this to your teams or groups as well. If not, let me put you on game.
S - Specific M - Measurable A - Attainable R - Relevant T - Timely
When you are crafting your goals year to year, month to month or even week to week as yourself is this a “SMART” goal? Can I check these five pieces of criteria off the list each time I set a goal in motion? If so, go forth and prosper. If not, add the missing elements then go forth and proposer. Look, at the end of the day, the action is on you and you alone. You can have an endless list of SMART goals, but as the saying goes “a goal without an action is just a daydream.” And as much as you wish upon a star, nothing is going to happen without the action.
Also, write it down! It doesn't matter where, but put that pen to paper or those fingers to tying in order to make it real. I personally have to physically write down my goals for them to feel tangible and to hold myself to a high level of accountability. I back that up with a typed note in my phone for the year so my goals are with me on the go. But the initial goal setting requires good old fashioned pen and paper in my physical planner. Yes, I still use a physical annual planner! Outlook and Google calendars are my guide but my planner is my Bible. It also helps me track my daily/weekly/monthly action steps and goals and helps me achieve piece by piece the larger annual goals that I set for myself. Don't knock it until you try it.
I started putting a theme to my year last year with an action word. 2019 was “intentional” and 2020 is “mission.” I have written this down in multiple areas around me both at work and at home for 2020 – “Is this furthering the mission, or taking me further from the mission?” as a guiding principle to back up my 2020 word. What will your word be? Know this, you don't have to have a word. You don't have to have a specific number of SMART goals, and you don't have to use a daily planner. But you do need to ensure that whatever goals you set for the year are for you! These goals need to have specific actions attached to them, you should track your success, and celebrate your wins big and small.
I want to leave you with this. Give yourself some grace. The world is tough enough and if you're anything like me you are your hardest critic. It's ok to alter or change your goals once they are in place. Last year I told myself that I was going to reach a book a month. Cool, sounds doable. For some of you, this may even sound like a low bar but for me it was a great way to get myself back in the habit of reading more consistently. After the first couple months I fell behind. Then I was reading 2 books at a time to make up a month here and there. I finally got to the point where I had to say it's ok to alter this goal for what makes sense right now. I kept reading, did it more consistently and I didn't feel like an ultimate failure each month. #smallwins Grace. Give yourself some!
Until next month… Share. Hustle. Shine.