Wow! What a year!
Will you look back on 2017 as an extraordinary year? Or was it a year that was particularly challenging?
A year that saw you reaching your goals or brought you closer to them? Or, did you find yourself struggling to meet even your daily tasks and/or still wishing for better things to come?
Hey- maybe you’re in the middle somewhere- you reached a couple goals but didn’t feel like you gave it your best.
2017 was a roller coaster ride of emotions for me. I almost lost my husband this past summer. He was in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit due to Lyme Disease (Lyme Carditis) so anything I accomplished meant so much more to me. I had to balance my husband, kids, an internship and school, my private practice, being an executive director of a non-profit, oh- and a new puppy (a black lab named Sailor). I figure 2018 has to be easier than what I handled this year.
I know many people will be extolling the virtues of goal-setting this time of year. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s wonderful to resolve to eat better, work out more, make more money, learn a new skill, fall in love– these goals are worthy of your time, energy, and focus. These goals are not “bite-sized” however which makes it easier to attain. They’re too broad. In the end, people tend to give up within the month of January due to lack of motivation and inspiration. They have nothing pulling them forward or pushing them from behind so they stop. I wouldn’t even call it laziness (because labeling it is a judgment anyway). People are motivated to reach for things that are pleasurable and tend to avoid pain. It’s how we’re wired. So, when someone is continuing to eat junk food and stops working out even though they’ve put losing weight on the top of their list, they must in some way, feel it’s more painful to lose the weight than to stay where they are. Watching what you eat and working out consistently is more difficult than falling back to their old default mode that has been comfortably uncomfortable for them.
Underneath a lot of people’s resolutions are their fears and their perceived inadequacies. Many of my clients struggle with the belief that they aren’t enough. Here’s where I get to interject: You are valuable! You are enough!
If you’ve been struggling with weight loss: Your body deserves and needs nourishment. Your mind needs a challenge like learning new skills and information, and moving past your fears. Your soul needs to breathe and expand by taking up a practice of gratitude or meditation. Oh, there’s so much more to life when you move past your fear that you’re not enough!
What many people forget to put on their list of resolutions and goals is to create better relationships. A 75-year Harvard study concluded that the people who had the best quality of life had great relationships. Creating better relationships starts within you. The relationship you have with yourself–your level of self-love–is reflected outward. It is reflected in the way you treat others and the way you allow them to treat you.
Do you know what your relationship needs are? Do you know your partner’s needs? How about dreams and goals? How is your communication and the way you work through conflict? Do you trust your partner? Are you committed to them- and vice versa?
Are you in a relationship? Would you like to be in one? What is keeping you from having THE best relationship, an extraordinary one filled with love, respect, honesty, trust, commitment, healthy communication and partnership?
It’s not just relationships that deserve your focus and attention this upcoming year. It’s ALL areas of your life. We tend to do well in one or a few areas, while neglecting other areas. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say your relationship is amazing, you consider yourself spiritual, and you get along with family members. BUT, your career is less than stellar (if you even have one) and your finances are a mess. Hey, the love will help you through, however having a purpose and meaning in life and a lack of financial stress is oh-so-helpful as well.
You can have abundance in all areas of your life.
I will often do a simple exercise to gauge where a client is in different areas of their life. Here’s an example of the Wheel of Life exercise:
Sit down with a pen and paper. Write down specific categories of your life or use the ones on the left to get you started:
- Family & Friends
- Fun & Recreation
- Personal Growth
- Physical Environment
Now, on a scale of 0 (being super awful) to 10 (being amazingly wonderful), rate each category. Then, when you’re through, plot them on the wheel. The 0 is is in the center; 10 is the outside of the circle. Use the dividing lines as your rating scale. In the end, join the points together.
You’ll get a lopsided wheel and a whole lot more clarity about which areas of your life need your attention.
Align your New Year’s goals to the areas that fall below a 7. For example, need more fun and recreation in your life? Make it a priority by doing something fun everyday. On Sunday, in your calendar, mark down for each day that week something that will be fun for you.
Here are some ideas: go for an ice cream, get cozy with a book, go ice skating, watch a comedy show, reconnect with something you loved from your childhood like Legos or Play Dough, make a craft, make a sand castle, learn a funny joke to tell others, dance…
Maybe your relationship needs some attention. Here are some ideas: Focus on the positive, talk about your dreams with each other, do something fun together, say “I love you” often, call/text more to connect during the day, greet your partner positively when you come home from work, and learn to communicate better (I love the book “Nonviolent Communication” by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg).
Need some more ideas for New Year’s Day resolutions? Check these posts out: