Resolutions, goals, or priorities ... ? Part 1
Another New Year is upon us! It is always interesting to me that as we go through the year, Christmas seems so far away. But then, out of nowhere - December is here, and then January - the New Year!
Once a new year arrives, the 'resolution-making' begins. I can discuss ends on ends about resolutions and why they are helpful - and when they are not. To be brief, resolutions can be helpful when they encourage us to make goals and take steps to achieve them. However, the major issue with resolutions is that we often fall into the trap of making 'bold and big' resolutions. These can 'work' for us for a temporary time, and then we fall back into our previous habits. Or, we might set resolutions that are 'trendy' because we want to be like others, we perceive a benefit from certain 'goals' (ex. 'drink more water! Get 10, 000 steps a day!', etc)., or because of certain external factors (ex. a sale on certain products, a promotion, etc).
The challenge with setting resolutions occurs when 1) we don't stick to them and thus develop low self-confidence, feeling ashamed that we have 'failed'; 2) we may not choose resolutions that are relevant to us personally or realistic; 3) we may see 'resolutions' as temporary things that 'get done', and then we revert to our previous habits because we did not see them as lifestyle changes or lifelong shifts.
What if, instead, we set 'goals' or 'priorities' for the New Year? What is the difference between goals, priorities, and resolutions? It may just be a language change, but the meaning behind the 3 differs. When we think of 'goals', we think of short term, small steps. When we think of 'priorities', we think of reflecting on things that are important to us - using our values to guide our goals and decisions.
Regardless of which 'word' you choose, setting intentions, goals, priorities, etc is important - at the New Year or at any time. Humans are driven by goals to achieve - we enjoy and need to feel competent, productive, and successful. To do this, choose something to work on that is relevant to you - something that helps you live out your values. Reflect on your past year - what went well? What would you like to have more of (or less of) in the new year? How can you achieve these things in realistic, small steps that lead you towards living a fuller life?
Living out your values is an ideal place to start. Let's say that after reflecting, you notice that you are constantly checking your emails, and this makes you anxious, irritable, and disconnected. What things do you value that this is not fitting into? You may value feeling connected to others, being present, and desire to feel a bit calmer. How can you change your habits to do this? Perhaps you will set out 3 times a day when you will check your emails, and that's it. Or, maybe you will agree with your coworkers that you will not answer any emails past 10 pm each night. Another idea could be outlining how you will spend your day - getting into a routine - so that you can see how much time you dedicate to your work vs. relationships vs. self-care, etc.
However you decide on priorities, goals, intentions (or whatever you want to call them!), the important thing is understanding your WHY. If you have a 'why', you will find a 'how'... more about this in Part 2!