While some might buck the “New Year” trend of setting goals for yourself as arbitrary, I still like the fresh start of a new year.
My oldest son woke up on the morning of January 1st, excitedly telling me, “It’s 2019! Happy New Year!” We decided that a good New Year’s Resolution would be to eat more protein (he’s always hungry). My almost 5-year old son said he wanted to drink more water. I think he might have been thirsty at that moment, but whatever. It’s a good resolution. The twins are too young for resolutions – they’ll turn three this month – but we decided that their resolution should be to be potty trained; whether they like it or not.
Last year was a mixed success for my goals. I was inconsistent with exercise, but managed to adjust my eating habits and lose 15 pounds that had been sticking around since I had the twins. I also read 45 books (thanks to audiobooks) which was way over my goal of 30. Those two wins have given me the confidence – something we call self-efficacy in my classroom – to know that I can accomplish my next set of goals.
How can you accomplish your goals? Thinking big can motivate you! In a year’s time, if you’re in good health, it’s reasonable to train for a marathon or lose 30 pounds. Even while working full-time and with four kids, I managed to read a lot – it’s important for my work, but it’s also something I trade other things for, like watching TV and spending time on Twitter.
Then, once the big goal is set, think, “What’s the next step I can take to achieve this?” In Ten-Minute Toughness, Jason Selk recommends something similar to athletes, and he includes the caveat that you can’t answer, “I don’t know.” By preventing the status quo, default answer, you trick your brain into coming up with something creative to solve your problem.
The question also works if you, like me, struggle with anxiety or even if you just feel overwhelmed from time to time. Too many things on your to-do list? What’s the next thing you can do that will make the biggest impact? And the next? And the next?
For me, the next thing I could do while my big writing project is on hold was to write this article. Goal accomplished. One day of writing done – now on to the Pilates.
I’ll be hosting an online workshop on my Facebook page, Managing Motherhood, on Friday, January 11th at noon, EST. It’s free and will help you kick-start your goals! Come join me at https://www.facebook.com/events/2002015076541262/