Wow I cannot believe it is the last day of 2016 – and the evening at that! Can someone please tell me where this year has gone? I literally blinked and it was over. Does anyone else feel that way?
It is that time of year where a lot of people are reflecting on the past 12 months and making goals for the year to come. And while I think this is all great, I also think it is important to not see new years as the only time you can make goals or believe that if you don’t start them right at the new year then there is no point. You can create goals and make a plan and start executing at any time of year, any day of the week. The new year is great because it can give people that extra push to start something they have wanted to as there is a lot of hype around it and it is seen as a fresh start, but I also urge people to not see it as so black and white. If you don’t follow through on your new year’s resolutions, that does not mean that you cannot pick it back up another time. It is also important to remember that your resolutions and goals need to reflect your values and true self and this can also change as time passes and you learn and grow and so you may need to modify as time passes.
On that note, I am still taking time today to reflect on 2016 and am so grateful for all that it brought (both positive and negative as those experiences provide opportunities to learn and grow). On the positive side, here are a few of the things I accomplished this past year and that I am grateful for:
- I received a promotion at my job
- I went on my first solo trip and my first trip to Europe ever
- I took piano lessons and learned a few simple songs (I have not kept this up as I just could not get into practicing but that is OKAY! I wanted to learn an instrument and I did!)
- I started a blog!!! (almost at the end of year but I did it!)
- I read 15 non-fiction books – I set the goal to read one nonfiction book per month and I even exceeded this and am continuing to read them as I love it!
- I keep a daily gratitude journal (I start every day writing 3 things I am grateful for and I got this idea from tayloredfitness.co and her Mind and Body Challenge last year. I absolutely loved this and have done it every day since. It really just sets you in a positive mood for the day and makes you realize that you truly have so much)
- I played on a sports team (confirmed the fact that I am not coordinated and do not actually enjoy team sports…but I tried a season!)
- I started brewing Kombucha (tried to sell it…failed…but I still make and drink it!)
While there is so much I did accomplish, there are also some goals I had that I did not fulfill. Upon reflection, if I am being completely honest with myself, the reasons I did not succeed are completely under my control. The goals I have require a lot of self change and change is scary and hard. I told myself over and over that I was taking the necessary steps but now that the year is over I can look back and see that it was not enough to reach the point I wanted to go. Hindsight is 20/20 and it could not be more true. On the day-to-day I thought I was doing what I needed to do but now I can see it was not enough to produce the change I wanted.
On that note, I have goals for 2017. Some are new goals and some are coming from what I did not accomplish in 2016 and that is okay! While I could sit here and feel like I failed myself in 2016, I am trying to instead focus on all that I did accomplish and see the “failures” as learning experiences and use what I know now to make the necessary changes to accomplish them in 2017. Just because it is a new year does not mean that goals from 2016 stop and you have succeeded or failed and goals for 2017 begin…I think that thinking in this black and white way will only make you miserable about what did not go as you had hoped/planned. Yes it is convenient to use the new year as a fresh start for new goals and reflection on the past but it does not mean that you have failed or succeeded. You can start a goal at ANY time. And I think it is good practice to reevaluate your goals often to make sure they still align with your values and true self.
So while the new year is not the only time to make goals, some of the goals I do have for 2017 are:
- Continue to progress in my career by taking courses and working towards another promotion
- Repair damaged relationships
- Personally becoming my most healthy self (I have created a SMART plan!)
- Continue this blog!
- Go on my second solo trip
- Allow myself to be more flexible with my daily routine (I am great with some spontaneity e.g. when I am on vacation or with certain things like last minute supper plans…but overall I am super planned/Type A and I want to work towards being more flexible)
- Join a club of some sort to meet new people (not sure what kind yet…)
- Go back on eHarmony…or Match.com…yup I want to get back to dating more and POF/Tinder just aren’t cutting it!
- I know there are others but I cannot think of them at this moment…
A useful way to structure and set your goals is to create SMART goals:
- Who is involved, what do you want to accomplish, where will it be done, when are you going to do it, why are you doing it? Be as specific as possible as vague goals are easy to let fly by the wayside and make excuses for.
- Can you track and measure progress and adherence? Can you measure the outcome?
- Is the goal realistic with respect to the parameters you have set around it? E.g. the time to have it accomplished
- Is the goal worthwhile? Does it meet your needs and fulfill your values? Is it consistent with other goals you have for yourself?
- What is the timeframe you have set for yourself? Each goal should have an end date. It can be useful to take a big goal and break it into a bunch of smaller incremental goals so it does not seem as daunting at first and each little accomplishment will motivate you to continue.
It is also important to remember that goals will be most successful when it is something that you truly value and you are motivated by intrinsically. Extrinsic motivators can help (e.g. monetary rewards) however if you do not truly want to do it for you, you will often find yourself making excuses and cheating. Don’t set a goal for yourself just because your friends are doing it or because a loved one thinks you should. If you do not truly want it for you it will be very hard to adhere and accomplish it. Not to mention you won’t really want to and will probably be miserable trying!
This post turned out to be much longer than I originally thought so I will end it with saying that while reflecting on the past and planning for the future have their benefits, try not to let this take away from being present in the moment and living life now. This is something a lot of the books I have read this year talk about and it is very true. Learn from the past and allow it to help you plan for the future but don’t ruminate and worry about what might come.
You want to truly live your life and the only way to do so is by living in the moment and being present in the now.
I hope you all have had a wonderful 2016, full of happiness, love, laughter, growth, learning, and more. 2017 here we come!