Sunday, January 4, 2009

What Will YOUR 2009 Be?

Happy New Year!

Wow. Is anyone else confused about how 2009 came so fast? Wasn't it just a couple of years ago that everyone was waiting for all the computers to explode, or something at midnight with Y2K? Really, 2009? Really?!

Okay, well, I guess it really is a new year and that brings us all to the inevitable topic of "New Year's Resolutions". I've never been too big on these. I struggle staying focused with goals in the first place, so putting one off (once I make one) until January 1st seems utterly ridiculous. But last year I came up with a new idea--focus on one trait for the entire year. Like a theme that would spill over into every aspect of my life. I just confessed one of my major pitfalls--lack of ability to stay with something--so, I declared last year to be my "Year of Commitment".

A friend of mine did something similar, so I'm not claiming to have this novel idea. Perhaps some of you do the same thing already. If so, please share. I'm still kicking around a few ideas for this year and would love some new suggestions. I definitely made great strides towards being more committed last year, but I still have room for improvement. However, I believe I will continue to progress in that area and ought to choose something different.

I believe that growth and progression are great ways to capture more joy in our lives. Think about it, if we never changed, life would become very stale. But it's so easy to get frustrated with goals or resolutions. I often expect myself to be able to change over night. I don't know why because that has never happened. Not once. But I still hold myself to the 24-hour improvement standard. Fortunately, I am getting better at reminding myself that I'm just me and to be patient with myself. I try to find ways to mark my progress at small increments. And I try to reward myself for little achievements. When all else fails, I look at myself in the mirror and pretend I'm someone else looking at me. Then I try to honestly assess myself as though I were another person. And I usually decide that I would be impressed by me, if I were someone else. Then I try to hold onto that attitude.

What do you do to keep focused on the positive progress of your efforts and not get bogged down by the process?

Another problem with goals is that I tend to get really overzealous about it for a while and neglect most other aspects of my life. Then the rest of my life catches up with me and/or I get bored with the goal and it kind of falls by the wayside.

Any ideas on ways to combat this one?

Anyway, I'm a little under the weather, so I'm afraid I'll have to wrap this up. As if it's not long enough. The main thing is, I really like having a one-word theme for the year because it doesn't seem so daunting. I can set other smaller goals in every aspect of my life (i.e. spiritual, social, emotional, physical, family, educational, etc.) that make progress toward that same thing. Because these goals are smaller, they are easier to stay focused on and achieve. Because they are all over the place in my life, I get lots of opportunities to work on that same thing.

I'm not sure if this is coherent. I apologize. I really need to go to bed. I'll try to get better and make more sense next week. In the meantime, let me know your take on "resolutions" and "themes". I really could use your help in determining what I'd like to focus on this year. And on how you keep making progress on your goals.



Tiffany said...

I had to catch up on some of these posts! It's been a busy time for me! :) Anyways, my husband knows I hate new year's resolutiongs! Well, not hate but I hate the whole, I'm going to work out more this year, resolution. I hate going to the gym and having to wait for a machine or the class is soooo full! For me, I do feel like the new year starts off fresh for me and I think of all the things I want to do and how I want to be. There are just so many things to do! I have just been trying to do something every single day. Big or small, just do something and try to spend my time more wisely. Some days I just try and get as much stuff done as possible. I think this year, I'm going to write down everything I've thought of and every day look at them and work on at least one of them that day. Surprisingly, I've never written them down! Maybe it'll work! I know that even with something like working out, I have to commit myself to do it every single day. Sorry it's not much better than what everyone says to do with goals! I just think looking at the list every single day will help.

Amy said...

I go through phases in regards to the Resolutions. Some years I hate them, some years I make them and then get overwhelmed by them and then I just drop them. So I really like you idea of just picking a theme. And definitely keeping it simple and reachable. Reaching a goal is very uplifting and makes me feel good about myself in a way that nothing else does. It also helps to have the goal be measurable so you can see your own progress.

Kristen said...

I set small goals- until the goal is a habit. Last year at the beginning of the year I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish is January and February, but for me I need it by week and I need to be able to check things off. Short goals seem a lot more attainable to me.
I hope that you get feeling better!

Linda said...

First of all, THANKS! for reminding me that it's a great time to set goals and second of all, THANKS! for reminding me to be realistic about it. Last of all, thanks for the quotes on the side - I love them!

Here's a quote from ldsliving about resolutions. It echoes your post:

The fear of failing (again) to not reach our goals is the only thing that holds us from making them. But, as former Relief Society General President Barbara B. Smith put best, goals are stars to steer by, not sticks to beat yourself with. Here are some tips for effective steering:

1. Set realistic goals. It is easier to set a goal than execute one. Start small, and once you achieve your goal, you can extend it by adding another level.

2. Share goals with your spouse or a close friend and help each other follow through with your resolutions. Set a schedule for checking in and reporting your progress with each other. This will help you stay motivated and give you something fun to do with your friend!

3. Make a short list of resolutions. You’ll be overwhelmed enough with one resolution; you won’t need twenty to keep you busy. Sometimes people set numerous goals, hoping to achieve at least one of them. Instead, they usually put a little effort into all of them and don’t achieve any. Set one or two realistic goals, and follow through with them.

4. Even if you don’t completely reach your goal, recognize the progress that you have made in working toward it. Feel proud of yourself for your accomplishment, and reward yourself accordingly!

Nikki said...

I agree Cheryl, it is easy to get daunted by the process. I think for me, my resolutions don't usually come to me at the beginning of a new year. Actually my most recent resolution (it was actually more of an "aha!" moment) came this past October. And it changed the way I view my life goals. I think it was more of a restructuring my priorities. So, I guess I saw it as something I didn't necessarily purposefully seek it out, it just came. And it was a welcome change towards contentment.

But at the same time, goals are helpful, and I do have some of those. I agree with Kristen, I checking of a list is so satisfying. I might do more of that this year for the little things I want to change. We'll see.

Thanks for this post! It got me thinking.