How to Reset without Losing Your Sense of Self at the New Year

sylvester, sparkling wine, new year's eve-3038086.jpg

This is it everyone. That one day when we are all refreshed, perfect humans, who are going to crush our goals, and accomplishing everything we want and achieving our dreams all starts today, right? No. There is a common misconception that has become a societal norm of making ‘resolutions’ on New Years, and that is how we will become successful. In truth, goals and intentions are an ongoing process that has to be flexible and actually achievable. I think New Years is a great opportunity to focus on reflection of self and the past year, what went wrong, what went right, what you actually want in life, and what steps you need to take to attain the life you crave. Being consistent with checking in on those goals and adjusting to accommodate any unforeseen factors that would cause failure to follow through, is what actually makes success happen. I prefer to view New Years as a clean slate for myself, a back to basics return to my values and desires, then being honest with myself about how I can make that reality.

Best Practice for Goal Setting

SMART goals. If you haven’t heard of SMART goals, I don’t know what rock you have managed to stay under but there are times it seems like SMART goals are everywhere. I went to a conference in October where even self care was made into SMART goals (it was brilliant-information linked at the end). But why has the world exploded with these SMART goals? Well because they work. The hardest part is writing them out.

It is important to have a specific goal which includes a number or range so that the goal can be measurable but also so you know what even you are trying to achieve. Think about it. If you tell yourself, ‘I might go for a run today’, are you going to go for a run? No you’re not. But if you say ‘today at 1pm, I am going to go for a 5 mile run’, you are much more likely to hold yourself to do just that. Goals have to be achievable and relevant because they have to have some influence on your life. If you set a goal to weigh 130lbs and you already do weigh 130lbs, what is the point, there is nothing to achieve. Goals also need to be timebound with a deadline. Don’t make a really great goal that has zero time limit. We are human beings and we need to be told that at some point time is up or we will never bother to get started or make any effort.

My personal process for goal and intention setting is to start with a list (I love a good list). That first list is what I want to leave in the year that is ending, and what I want to continue into the new year. Basically what you like about your life and what makes you happy, and what you don’t like and want to be done with.

Here is an example:

I then take that list and write out any tasks, activities, habits, action items, places to travel to, anything that fits into the ‘Bring into 2024’ side of the list above. I try to consider all areas of life: physical, emotional, social, financial, educational, professional, environmental, etc. For right now, I make them as broad and comprehensive as possible.

Once I have that lengthy list of stuff, I go through and start specifying, adding measures, and time limits. For example, I always have a reading goal. As an avid but slow reader, I don’t read a large quantity of books, but I do try to increase my numbers every year. So, here is how that goal develops using this method.

Bring Into 2024: reading habits/pace (clearly I felt my pace I was reading at was pretty good in 2)

2024 Goals: Read more books.

SMART Goal: Read 2-3 books per month for the entire 2024 calendar year.

That’s all! It takes a bit of time to go through and think out ways to make desires specific, measurable, and put an appropriate time limit on seemingly random activities, but trust me when I started doing goals this way, I was way more likely to achieve what I set out to which led to greater satisfaction that I was focused and balanced.

Checking In on Goals

Don’t just do all that work then never look at your carefully written out goals until the next New Years Eve! It’s important to regularly check in on your progress. This also allows for adaptions and identifying any factors that have presented possibly affecting the achievability or relevance of your goal.

The frequency of a check in is determined by the deadline placed on the goal. If your goal is to do something weekly, at the end of the week, you should at least be going through to see if you achieved it and if not why. Life is hectic and chaos, so this may not always be reasonable. Minimally, a monthly check in on how the goals are progressing is best practice.

Questions to Ask:
  1. Did I meet my goal?
  2. How did meeting this goal feel?
  3. What factors allowed this particular goal to be met?
  4. If I didn’t meet my goal, what prevented me from doing so? Can I adjust the goal to account for those factors?
  5. Are these goals still achievable and relevant to my life?
checklist, goals, box-2589418.jpg

Final Thoughts

Remember that goal setting shouldn’t be scary or be accompanied by significant pressure. Goal setting is for you, not anyone else. If the process of writing out goals and intentions isn’t for you, that’s ok! There are many other ways to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *