2020 will forever be known as a dumpster fire of a year. From quarantining due to the pandemic to the political and civil unrest to the wildfires worldwide, it is safe to say this year has disrupted our usual day-to-day activities, or sense of safety, and many aspects of our well-being. With that being said, 2020 has forced us to take a stark look at our actions, lives, and country. To put it simply, we have had ample time for reflection.
Even though it is now a new year, our political environment, societal issues, individual health, and environmental health will not magically change. But, now is a perfect time to set our intentions on a personal level to begin to create the changes we wish to see.
When we shift our mind’s alignment toward being more conscious of our values, behaviors, motivators, and actions, we can help create fulfilling change. Small changes can make a bigger impact than you think. Even being conscious of the amount of plastic we buy can lead to a cascade of positive impacts on the environment or the attitudes of those around us. Don’t underestimate the influence you have!
Set New Years Goals That Really Matter to You
We all have different goals and priorities. Our goals are often centered around ourselves – losing weight, making more money, or buying the car we always wanted. While all of these goals are perfectly acceptable at first glance, it is essential to always ask the “why.”
Why is losing weight important? Is it because you have spent a lot of time on Instagram and feel inadequate compared to the unattainable Instagram models? Or, is it because you have developed high blood sugar and worry that you won’t be able to see your grandkids grow up and miss out on their lives? How about making more money. What is the “why” behind this goal? To purchase more clothes, shoes, and take more vacations? Or, is it to help pay for your child’s soccer lessons or dance classes? As you can see, the “why” makes a difference.
It is okay to have goals that are just for you, but taking a closer look at your “why” can help you look deeper into where your motivations are coming from. When we better understand ourselves and our “whys” it can give us insight into our deepest values and where they come from.
A couple questions to ask yourself about your goals are:
- Why is this goal important to me? Why is that important? Why is that important? (The goal is to keep digging!)
- How will making this change positively impact those around me?
- What am I hoping will “feel” different when I make this change?
- What would my higher-self say about this goal?
After asking yourself these questions, you will gain more insight into the deeper importance of your goals. You may feel that some goal’s motivations have strengthened, while other goals feel less inline with you.
In some cases, our goals are fueled by our insecurities. Losing weight is a typical example. Even a focus on volunteering more often can be due to an insecurity that we do not appear to be giving and altruistic enough to others. Focusing on uplifting internal motivators can help get us away from insecurity-based “whys.” Internal motivators are rooted in empowerment, feeling more energetic, becoming more self-aware, or empowering those around us.
Don’t Shy Away From Challenging Yourself
When it comes to challenging yourself, I don’t mean creating huge, unrealistic goals. Challenging yourself can mean a number of different things. We often get comfortable in our lives, even when we are not necessarily fulfilled, happy, or excited by our day-to-day lives. We get comfortable with the familiar.
When it comes to making changes that align with our deeper life’s purpose, it can feel scary and like a lot of work. Our mind can immediately start thinking about all the reasons not to change. There is safety in what is familiar. As the saying goes, “we don’t grow when we are comfortable, and we are not comfortable when we grow.”
Personal growth is essential to feeling fulfilled and happy. If you find yourself feeling bored by your life or feeling stagnant, it is a clear sign that your higher self requires some attention. Tap into your deepest core values, what you feel your purpose is, and how to better align your life with these things. If there is resistance to this, ask yourself why?
- What are the fears holding you back?
- What are you afraid of losing? Of gaining?
- What things or beliefs would you have to let go of?
Sometimes just beginning to envision yourself living in a way that aligns with your values and purpose can begin to shift the energy toward making necessary changes. These changes do not have to be huge. Many times, they simply involve fine-tuning. Don’t underestimate the power of small mindset changes – and that is true in both directions! Shifting your mindset slightly toward defeat, jealousy, or powerlessness can lead to detrimental changes as well – and not good ones.
First and foremost, show up for yourself. It is okay to feel uncomfortable as you explore some of these deep, meaningful questions. Sometimes we don’t always like what comes up. But, when this comes up, they are free to come out of the shadows to be released.
If you are interested in exploring these more profound thoughts but would like some guidance and support, reach out to us. We work with people both in-person at our Gilbert AZ office and via tele-visits.
Start Smaller Than You Think
It is easy to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to New Years’ goals. When we do this, it leads to disappointment and can lower our self-esteem. Think of it this way, if a friend made a bunch of promises to you and he/she did not follow through with them, how would your relationship change with that friend? You would probably lose some trust in that person and feel like you can’t rely on them. The same is true when we make promises to ourselves that we don’t keep – we lose trust in ourselves and start believing we “can’t” or “won’t.”
Start off small with your goals – create “micro goals.” Micro goals are super easy to achieve, and the act of following through on a goal, as small and insignificant as it may seem, can help build your self-esteem. The follow-through is more important than the actual goal itself. This is the piece that builds self-esteem.
Once you have completed the microgoal, you can move onto the next microgoal, eventually achieving a substantial positive change without feeling the pressure and defeat a huge goal can bring upon you.
For example, if you want to work out every day and transform your body’s physique, start with setting a goal of something like doing 25 jumping jacks in the morning for 3 weeks. See how that goes. If it is easy to achieve, move on. If it was more of a challenge than you thought, take your journal out and explore why this was so hard to achieve. It is not likely because the jumping jacks themselves were “too hard”… Also, explore whether or not getting physically fit is truly a goal for you, and if so, why?
- Is it rooted in insecurity?
- Do you believe in yourself that you can do it?
- What are your fears about carrying out the goal of achieving the goal?
As you have probably gathered, I am a huge fan of self-reflection. This is true for New Years’ goals as well. Check-in with yourself frequently to see how you are feeling about the changes you have been making, the obstacles that have stood in your way (both real and perceived), and your progress. Pausing to celebrate your wins – whether that is achieving a microgoal, getting back on the horse after falling off, or even just taking the time to self-reflect! Just like you would with a new puppy that is learning new skills, positive reinforcement is key. Give your puppy a pat on the head!
Love your perspectives and ideas on goal setting! I have my micro-goals set and will definitely be taking some more of these things into consideration as I go.