Inspiration for a New Year

Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.
~Brooks Atkinson

Self Care for Resolution Makers

Ever worry that you will fall down after having adopted fresh habits in the new year?  Relapses are to be expected.  The trick is to realize you’ve slipped and resolve to get back to the better behavior – without self recriminations.  The folks at Manager Tools have written an encouraging post on this very topic.  You can pick it up here.

I’m all for goal setting.  I enjoy setting them and dreaming up ways to achieve them faster.  Once completed I love looking back and reliving the steps in the journey.  What I worry about are New Year’s resolutions that set one up for failure.  Watch out for these danger signs:

  • “Should do” goals — These are goals that appear important to us or to someone that matters to us – but the outcome is not personally motivating or compelling.  It’s not really your goal but someone else’s.  Example:  I should dress better for work.  I call this “shoulding” on one’s self.
  • Vague, poorly described goals with no clear deliverable, no definition of success.  Example: I want to lose weight.  How much?  By when? When do you get to give yourself a pat on the back?  What’s a realistic amount?
  • The “all or nothing” goal — Example: From now on I will always be on time for every appointment.  If chronic lateness is an ongoing problem, it’s not realistic to think you can simply wish it away.
  • Conflicting resolutions — Example:  I will spend more time with my family and I will devote more time to the restructuring project at work.  If you’re having trouble fitting everything into your schedule now, vowing to be more devoted is just going to start eating into other critical activities – like sleeping – and could produce unintended negative results.

Instead of jumping right into setting New Year’s resolutions, why not take some time first to reaffirm what you have accomplished in the past year that is in alignment with your longer-term goals?  Congratulate yourself for the growth and development achieved and think about ways you can augment this success by continuing on your current path.

This last quote is offered tongue-in-cheek:

May your troubles in the new year be as short-lived as your resolutions. 

 ~Author unknown~


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