When the new year comes around, resolutions and goals are on everyone’s mind. It’s the calendar mandated time for us to evaluate the past year, and look to what we want to achieve going forward. But with the expectation that we’re planning for the future comes a lot of pressure.
There’s pressure to make big changes, to lose weight, to jump into a new workout plan or diet, to start making more money… and that pressure often comes from outside sources telling us what we should be aiming for.
This year, try something new! Try not to feel pressured by others or yourself to set certain goals. Setting a goal should come from a place of excitement and happiness. What gets you energized? What gets you motivated? We should focus on those positive feelings and ensure that they are the inspiration behind the goals we set.
Validate Your Feelings
Not feeling particularly inspired or motivated right now? That’s okay! It’s important to acknowledge our current feelings and feel validated in them. Maybe you’re feeling pressure to do or achieve certain things in the new year. Acknowledge and validate that pressure too. It’s worthwhile to think about the various factors that are influencing your frame of mind when it comes to setting goals, maybe even write them down.
Validate the feelings of others as well - encourage those close to you to achieve the goals they set for themselves, but don’t impose goals on anyone. Do your best to practice non-judgement if anyone doesn’t stick to or make progress on a declared goal.
Leaving ‘Should’ Behind
“I should” is already a phrase laced with guilt. It also implies a lack of autonomous choice; we saw a goal out in the world and felt we should be trying to achieve it based on pressures or feelings of guilt. Whether we like it or not, we do observe others and use their choices as models for our own. It may not happen right away, but leaving ‘should’ behind and phrasing your goals more positively, such as ‘I want to do X’ or ‘I am excited to start X’, gives you that power back. Let’s not make goals from a place of ‘should’ this year and take the autonomy back.
New Year Doesn’t Have to Mean New Body
New year, new me? Not necessarily. Striving for self-improvement is a good thing, but it's unattainable if it’s born out of pressure and guilt. The new year always signals that it's time to make big changes to your diet, your workout, or to start to transform your body. If you have goals related to your body that you’re really excited about, great! However, if you feel like you might be responding to outside pressure to make changes that don’t excite you, take a moment to evaluate. Maybe you can convert a big, overwhelming goal into a series of smaller goals spread out over the coming month that do feel achievable and make you happy.
Talking it through with someone I trust always helps me, so that I can be clear on my motivation for my goals and where that’s coming from. Maybe bring this discussion into the mix when you're making a vision board for 2021.
Create Goals that Excite You
YOU get to create what this year will look like for you. You have the power to decide what you’ll focus on and what achievements will bring you joy. You absolutely don’t have to create something to do if you don't feel inspired or excited.
It’s hard not to let the scarcity mentality get hold of us, making us think that we have to achieve all the things we want right now or we never will. It's also tempting to focus primarily on all the things that we haven’t achieved thus far. That list will always be neverending as you can always add things to it, which isn’t going to motivate you in the future.
How Do I Get Started?
Write down a list of the things you have already achieved this year. Acknowledge your accomplishments, and then ask yourself, ‘what am I excited to do next?’ When excitement is the force that drives you, your goals are always within your reach.