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A new year always seems like a good time to start with a clean slate. Everyone is resolving to clean up their diets, read more books, and budget their money. There’s a lot of pressure to have your life-changing goals set by January 1. Not to mention emblazoned in professional graphics with a stirring caption to post on social media and prove to the world that you have it together!
This year I rung in the New Year on the couch, sick as a dog. There was no starting a new exercise regime, no new diet. Only plowing through a few seasons of Psych and alternately wishing for death. I’ve had no choice but to rest and take it slow. Does that mean my whole year is a bust? No! This has actually given me a lot of time to think and strategize.
What is the difference between a goal and a resolution? A goal is a destination. A resolution is simply a change of habit, or a promise made to yourself. Without having a concrete goal in mind, resolutions are difficult to keep. Habits don’t change until your “why” is crystal clear.
This year I resolved not to make any resolutions (hehe, see what I did there?). Instead I decided to focus on a few different goals. Deciding on goals can be somewhat overwhelming, so for the past two years I have used Lisa Jacob’s workbook Your Best Year as a guide to help me look back on the previous year to see what did and didn’t work and decide where I want to end up in the year ahead.
There are two different versions of the book; one geared towards creative entrepreneurs and one for life in general for those who are not business owners. I did the business edition, although next year I may check out the life edition. My “business” is this blog, my YouTube channel and all of my creative projects. I was able to break down what did and didn’t work last year and figure out what I need to do differently this year.
I have been blogging for a long time, and now that I have quit working outside the home I would love for this to become my “real” job. When I quit the salon I envisioned spending my days churning out regular blog posts and growing my YouTube channel. In reality I haven’t put up a post since I quit my day job, and while my YouTube channel has definitely grown, I have yet to implement any of my grand plans for it.
What really slapped my in the face after going through this book is that I haven’t been showing up. I have expected full-time results from my very part-time effort. I’m not upset with myself over it. Last year was a major year of transitions for me. I had major transitions in relationships, business, and health. After almost 20 years of working more than full time and pouring my heart and soul into a job that did not pay me back in kind I was burned out. I hadn’t taken care of myself mentally, physically or spiritually for a very long time and it showed. So I have taken the past couple of months “off” to reflect and just recharge my batteries after so many years of not having the luxury to do so.
I wish I could say that I am raring to hop back on the wagon and change the world! But this new year has brought with it a litany of health problems that have forced me to slow down and deal with them. I had decided that I was NOT going to make any diet or exercise resolutions for the new year, because who sticks with those anyway? For a long time I have wanted to make some changes but used stress as an excuse to keep postponing. Recently all those years of stress, bad eating and heredity caught up with me and I was diagnosed with diabetes. While my numbers were only .1 into the diabetic range, it was still a major wakeup call and I changed my bad eating habits overnight. There’s nothing like a medical scare to motivate you! I had to laugh at myself a bit that fate pushed me into making some changes I was so determined not to make.
Another area I have procrastinated in changing is our finances. Sure, we have a better handle on our finances than some people. But we are still living beyond our means. Buying things we don’t need (or sometimes even really want!). We have wanted to be debt free for years, but have just been treading water. Discipline in one area of your life can definitely spill over and influence others, and since I have been able to so successfully get a handle on my diet I am determined to make similar changes in our finances. I have made resolutions to quit wasting money, to quit using credit cards, etc. but this year I intend to make a debt free lifestyle a goal. I am going to envison exactly what our lives will look like when we are debt free instead of just wishing we were there.
I’m enrolled in a financial class and my husband and I have sat down and agreed on a budgeting strategy. Our financial motivation has always been that we wanted to buy a house. Now that we fulfilled that dream we needed to regroup and come up with new goals. I’m excited to see where we end up in 2018.
Goals don’t have to be big, consequential changes, either. One of my goals for this year is to learn how to watercolor. I’ve wanted to learn how to watercolor for years, but just didn’t follow through. That was a resolution. Instead of just saying “I want to learn to watercolor” I thought more about why I had never followed through. Why did I want to learn anyway? Once I figured out that I really wanted to learn for a creative outlet that is both relaxing a productive, I bought a book and started learning!
We are almost halfway through January, but there is no rule that says all is lost if you don’t start making changes on January 1. Start thinking about some goals, then start pursuing them, no matter what the date is on the calendar. What are your goals for the year?