January brings all sorts of things to mind…resolutions, cold weather, cloudy days, a longing for spring. No matter what you think of when you think of this month, I’m pretty sure energy and rebirth aren’t on the top of your list. At least not until now…
I don’t have any statistics for you, but most people I know make resolutions every new year only to have given up on them by February. My personal belief as to why this is, is a number of things. One of them being that they underestimate the amount of time it takes to achieve their goal (because let’s call it what it is…resolutions are goals) so they deem it impossible and give up. They also don’t properly define these goals so they can’t celebrate a win because they don’t know what a win looks like. Weight loss is a perfect example of this! Every year I hear/see people say “this is the year I get healthy! I’m going to lose this weight and feel great!” The first week of January they may be eating their veggies and have hit the gym a few times, feeling optimistic about the year. Then their friends kids start selling Girl Scout cookies and they get guilted into buying a dozen or so boxes by some big sad eyes and a story about meeting a sales goal. Off topic, your goals should never be thwarted by the fact that if you stick to them, you won’t help someone else reach their own goals. Their goals are not your responsibility…but I digress…so now that your freezer is full of these boxes of delicious temptation you think that maybe you can have one or two a day as a treat. I mean, you spent the money, you can’t be wasteful. But one or two turns into three or four and the next thing you know, you’ve eaten an entire box during your favorite episode of the office at 11 pm! You feel so bad about yourself and your lack of self control that you decide you can be healthy next year and that this will be the year of feel-good indulgence. It’s not even the middle of the month and you’ve already given up!
In this example, people don’t anticipate the temptations that will come at you, or how hard it could be to resist them. You aren’t going to sail through the year on a boat of celery and baked chicken breasts without encountering some chocolate cake iceburgs in the ocean of ice cream. So get realistic with your expectations. You also need to anticipate that you are gonna fall off the wagon a few times and that’s ok. If you want to read more during the year and instead of hitting the books before bed, you get sucked into Netflix a few nights a week, don’t give up on that goal. Just start again the following day with a little bit more self discipline than the day before. Maybe schedule that time to read into your day so it becomes an appointment you can’t afford to miss.
Getting the energy and motivation to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve starts with the right mind set and a good schedule. I’m the queen of giving up on resolutions. Over the years I’ve made it about 2 weeks before I decide the effort isn’t worth it, but this year is different. I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes saying “I bet she said that last year!” But I’m armed with a new weapon to help me slay the monster that is defeat and procrastination. I have an app I put my schedule in and it sends me a notification when it’s time to do something. Some people prefer planners and while I love all the visual organization and pretty colors, I’m notorious for putting tasks in mine then forgetting to look at it. Whatever your preferred method, put it in writing. Not only will you be more likely to do it but your energy and optimism will increase because you feel good about meeting that goal!
The rebirth I talked about before comes from something I’m doing for only the second year now but I love it so much. Finding my word of the year. A few days before January I prayed for God to tell me what word He wants me to focus on. Last year my word was speak, and my brand was born because of it. This blog was born and God used me to deliver many messages to people desperate for His voice. I’ve been so incredibly blessed because of my obedience, and this year the word He gave me is ACT. The process for me isn’t complicated at all. I just pray, putting all of my heart into the asking of which word I should focus on, then I open up my bible to a random page and usually my word is in the first few that my eyes come upon. One word will jump out of the page at me and it’s like none of the other words exist. Anyway, ACT is my word this year and I can’t wait to see what God is going to DO in/through my life.
So start this year off right with tangible goals that you can achieve with monthly action steps. Make the goals easy enough that you can reach them but hard enough that you need to grow as a person to get there. Be realistic with the time frame for these goals and forgive yourself if you mess up, just start again the next day with renewed determination. Find your word for the year and focus on that. We are all capable of changing the world but if you don’t know how God wants to use you to do it, you will flounder around feeling useless and inadequate.
You can do ANYTHING if you have a plan of action. After all, a life without goals or a plan is just a fantasy.