Happy New Year.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and enjoyed the festivities with loved ones, friends, and family. I had a lovely break, and I now feel refreshed and ready to bring on a new year!
A new year means a healthy fresh start. A new chapter and I hope this year is an incredible part of your story.
To create our story, we often reflect on the previous year and think about what we want our new year to look like, which leads to making ‘resolutions’. It’s a time to think about who we are, how we live, what changes we want to make to our lives to make them unforgettable. We often think we might be happier this year if we are thinner, richer, fitter, more social, more creative. Sound familiar?
January and I never seem to gel. There are things on my to-do list I never seem to finish. I was learning Spanish (I can still barely order a glass of wine and a burger!), running a marathon (haha, I think a half marathon was a challenge enough), and having more holidays (not happened, thanks to covid-19).
365 days of broken promises to myself is not what I signed up for. Life is for living in the here and now, and losing weight or eating less chocolate isn’t the answer to making me any happier.
So what needs to change?
I am a guru of self-improvement, always reading and learning something new, but signing up for courses I haven’t started and buying books I don’t have time to read seems like a vicious cycle of expectation, overwhelm and guilt. We live in a time that constantly tells us we lack something, and I’m also guilty of feeling like I’m never good enough, smart enough, or knowledgeable enough to be successful. But is all this necessary to live our ‘best lives?’
Do we just stop making plans to better ourselves entirely? I hope not, as this is part of who I am. We need to take an approach that’s rooted in reality. A small victory is still a victory, and it’s the small steps that lead to big things!
Small goals work so well because they build up confidence quickly. They give you evidence that you can move forward and do amazing things, leading to lasting motivation to keep going.
Intentions vs resolutions
The difference lies between success and failure. One is a change in mindset that motivates us, while the other sets up for failure and disappointment.
An intention is a mindset or a way of being. It connects us to our greater purpose, inner values, and authentic self. It’s about the journey of self-discovery, focusing on the feeling and providing a foundation for fulfilling our dreams.
Emotions powerfully motivate us, and that’s why our intentions which focus on feelings are more effective. They are more aligned with who we truly are. For example, your resolution might be to eat a clean diet of whole foods, whilst your intention might be to nourish your body, which is more sustainable over the long term. Instead of setting a goal to ‘get fit’, you might commit to increasing the number of steps you take every day. Rather than ‘write a book’, you could start by writing a chapter or x amounts of words a day/week.
Focus on your intention or micro resolution for a month to give it time to develop into a habit and see where it takes you. You can then re-assess and add new micro resolutions, intentions and next steps to watch your dreams and goals grow slowly over the year.
No more excuses
There is no such word as can’t. What you mean is you are not willing to! If you believe you don’t have the time, energy, creativity, stamina or resources to do something, you won’t do it. This isn’t you being lazy or unambitious, and you might just be being realistic. You’re being honest about what you really want to spend your energy doing. If you use ‘I choose to’ instead, you’ll find this a more powerful phrase, removing the blame and victim mentality and giving you the power to decide what’s best for you.
Bridge the gap
There will be a gap from where you are now to where you want to be. It’s time to visualise that gap and see what steps you need to take to get there. The baby steps then become your micro resolutions. Perfectionism may hold you back, so remember to enjoy the journey and celebrate the small wins that put you on the path to reaching your dreams.
It’s not as sexy as jumping straight into that end goal, but it’s the consistent small steps over time that get to where you want to go.
Ask for support
Humans are hard-wired to connect, so it is ok to ask for support or find someone to hold you accountable. We all have dreams and different needs to succeed, and we can’t be shy about expressing them to get where we need to be. Feeling a sense of belonging is an innate human desire, which translates into good outcomes.
It’s important to remember that those who have made their dreams come true haven’t won the willpower lottery. While some are born into money and therefore may have more resources, we are all 100 per cent responsible for our lives. Millions of people across the globe overcome hardship or succeed from humble beginnings, overcome adversity and create beautiful lives for themselves. They don’t make excuses but set intentions and take actions based on who they truly are. They give themselves time to move forward and develop the skills they need.
These are the people who should be inspiring you. If they can do it, then so can you. It’s entirely possible, and they are living proof. So get rooted in your micro-steps, step away from comparison, and let the rest come naturally. Enjoy the journey, and a Happy New Year.
This year I just wanna go on more adventures.
Be around good energy.
Connect with people.
Learn new things.