Get a step-by-step assessment of your goals (or resolutions or priorities) from a professional Life Coach to make sure that they are right for you. It doesn't matter if it's the first day of the year or the first day of the month - it is a great idea to reevaluate your goals every once in awhile and here is how!
365 Chances to Change. I absolutely love the feeling of invigoration I get at the start of a new year! I feel a rush of excitement to consider what I want to accomplish in the coming year. Forget last year's goals - those are old news - we get to start from scratch and reevaluate what we want now with all of the knowledge and experience we have gained in the previous year. Maybe it was a good year, maybe it was a mixed year...maybe it was a year that made you wish you had a magical year eraser. But whatever last year left you with you still get an opportunity to mentally go back to the drawing board and ask "What is important to me to accomplish this year?".
And once you have your goals in mind I will help you to do a little work. A little work that will go a LONG way in making sure your goals are setting you up for happiness and success. I am after all a Happiness Coach! And I think part of happiness is feeling in control and proud of yourself for achieving your goals. So making sure they are good ones that are right for you is essential.
One half of the process is to make sure that your goals are created in such a way as to make them achievable. My previous article How to Make Successful Goals can help with that. If you can't know if you've reached your goal, then you will never reach it and you will feel confused and frustrated.
The other half is to go through the questions outlined in this article to dig deep into the WHY of your goal. You will need a solid foundation on this in order to make sure your goal is really in alignment with you and is compelling and healthy enough to make you want to develop new habits.
A resolution is a decision. A decision to do something different in order to pursue a goal.
My first piece of advice before we get started is not to just automatically roll over last years or even last months 'not yet achieved uhhh about that...' goals into the new year. Maybe you didn't accomplish it for a reason. Maybe your circumstances have changed. Maybe it wasn't compelling enough to want to actually do it. Start over with considering your current goals and try to forget what the ones you had previously while you decide. There is no reason why you have to drag those old goals around. If you decide to keep it don't skip out on the below process for evaluating it. It will help you to make progress with the goal.
Okay, so now I am assuming that you have your goals in mind for the next exercise. It is okay if they aren't super specific at this point. You can do the fine tuning afterwards (using the article I mentioned above). So pick one of your goals and let's get started!
THE GOAL EVALUATION PROCESS:
1) Ask yourself why, why, why. Why do you want it? Why do you want to do or obtain this thing? Why is it important? What do you want to achieve? What is the end goal? Try to get as specific as possible. And then ask why to that answer and keep going until you get to a point that you can't elaborate anymore.
If you say things like 'I don't know' or 'It seems like a good thing to do' or 'People say it is important' those are red flags that the idea has been put into your head by someone else and it isn't really your goal. If it was your goal and you keep asking why eventually you will get to the real answer about why you want it. And you will know how that goal will directly impact you on a personal level.
2) Make sure your why is about you. You need to have a clear image of how it will benefit you directly on a personal level or else it won't be compelling enough to drive results.
Now that you have your final why from the first step take a look at it. Is it centered around you? Your wants, your feelings, your needs, your thoughts? If the answer you are working with is centered around someone else than either 1) the goal isn't really right for you (so chuck it!) or 2) you need to keep digging until you get to a level that is focused on you so keep going with the whys until you can make it personal.
Goals centered on you and your wants are a million times more motivating than anyone else's - even if it is the want of a family member or spouse. If goals are centered on you it will be a positive motivator. If it is focused on someone else it will be a negative motivator. Your goal should start and end with "I want".
3) Include a feeling. The reason that we have goals is because we believe that if we have or do them that we will feel something good. Emotions are the real motivator. So if you want to go on vacation to Aruba maybe you want to go because you think you will feel relaxed and be able to leave work behind (see ya suckers!). That feeling of freedom or relaxation is what you really want. Or maybe you want to go in order to make special memories with a friend or loved one. Wanting to feel connected and share new experiences is the real motivator there.
Close your eyes and imagine that your goal is being accomplished. What do you imagine you will feel when it happens? The combination of result + feeling will really make your goals pop! It is worth the extra time and effort if feelings aren't your #1 thing and it doesn't come naturally.
LET'S WORK IT OUT. I think we are far enough along that it is time to work through an example. I'm going to pick a fitness goal because according to Cooper Aerobics about 38% of New Year's goals are health or fitness related.
You: I want to lose 20 pounds!
Me: Okay, why would you like that?
You: I don't like the way I look.
Me: Why don't you like the way you look?
You: I mean LOOK at these jelly rolls! *squeeze*
Me: Okay, so you don't like having jelly rolls. Why?
You: *rolls eyes* Nobody likes jelly rolls. People look at them and they think they are gross.
Me: Why does it matter if people think they are gross?
You: It makes me feel uncomfortable wondering what other people are thinking of me.
Me: Okay, so what do YOU want?
You: I want to feel comfortable in my own skin and not worry about what other people think.
AHA! Now we are on to something. If we had stopped at "I need to lose 20 pounds because other people think jelly rolls are gross" that would not have been centered around you and would have been a negative motivator instead of a positive one. We dug deeper until we could turn it into something you wanted and used an "I want" statement. It is still half about other people, but definitely concrete enough to work with and includes some emotions. Now we went from "I want to lose 20 pounds" to "I want to lose 20 pounds because other people think rolls are gross" to "I want to lose 20 pounds because I want to feel comfortable in my own skin and not worry what other people think of me." Which one is the most motivating?
4) Evaluate the healthiness of your reason. There are healthy and unhealthy reasons to do things, and checking to make sure your reason is healthy can save you a lot of sadness, anger, and frustration. Because doing things for the wrong reason will probably not bring you happiness even if you achieve it.
Here is a list of some healthy reasons to set goals:
-Fulfill basic needs (food, housing, safety)
-Create or enhance meaningful relationships
-Contribute to the betterment of others (society, community, animals, nature)
-Increase your physical or mental health
-Reduce your stress/increase your enjoyment of life
-Because you are interested to try a new things or have a new experience
Here are some unhealthy reasons to set goals:
-Because someone else told you it's important. It could be your mom, your spouse, your boss. I don't care who said it, taking on goals solely for the sake of someone else is not healthy.
-Because someone else has given an ultimatum/requirement (you need to do this for me to do or get that kind of situation). Healthy relationships are not a tit-for-tat agreement. You shouldn't be required to do something in order to get something else.
-Because it is the "right" or "good" thing to do
-To get back at someone else or to show them up
-Keeping up appearances/having things to keep up with peers
You might want to argue with the first couple of unhealthy points. You might say "But Amanda, if this person says I need to do something I should do it because I value that person". Well if someone you value says you should do something then yes, I think you should seriously consider it. But considering something and seeing if it is right for you and just doing what other people say are two very different things. You need to ask yourself some questions: Are they saying it for my value? Would it improve our relationship? Would it better myself as a person? Is it something that I agree with? Is it something I want to change? Is the consequence of not doing it worth it to me to change my behavior?
So if your significant other says "I think you should lose weight" ask them why. Maybe they will say something like "I am worried about your health" or "I'm sorry, but it has gotten to a point that it is affecting my attraction to you". Then if you decide to take on their request you still need to make it your own. Instead of your goal being "Lose weight because my SO says so", maybe it will become "I want to lose weight because it is important to me to keep the romance going in my relationship and I want to feel sexy." Now the goal is about you and you have made it your own.
ONE LAST THING! Are you sure that you can't create the emotion that you are wanting now with the things that you already have? You don't necessarily have to meet any condition in order to feel an emotion. You don't need to blow $5,000 trip to Aruba to foster feelings of relaxation. You don't need to lose weight in order to stop caring about what other people think. Your goals and the emotions you are looking for can be achieved separately. And I think they should be worked on separately.
Working on fostering emotions that bring you happiness and fulfillment are in themselves a meaningful and obtainable goal. The conditions of your life don't need to change in order for you to feel good.
In some ways I think we should forget New Year's Resolutions and work on our own personal Evolution. When we evolve our perspective and mindset we can find those good feelings we are searching for and become more fulfilled and balanced as a person.
If you want to learn more please reach out to me! You can Schedule a Free Consultation about coaching. I would love to talk with you.
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Happiness & Wellbeing Life Coach
813-435-9442 (text or call)