Good morning and Happy New Year! Something about the beginning of the new year is refreshing to me. It’s another chapter that I can’t wait to write and each year seems to get much better. I want to first apologize for not writing more! I let my current pregnancy and life keep me busy but this was one habit I wanted to get back to doing frequently. I’ve set some other goals for the beginning of this new year but I’m also trying to keep going with the habits I started a couple months ago. My purpose with making new goals at the beginning of the year is to instill within me some purpose and direction for myself and my family for this next year. I do think that not everyone feels that way about goal setting; it can often be seen as things that never get accomplished or changed, people give up frequently. My husband always makes the comment about how gyms earn most of their money at the first of the year and then people stop going.
I bring this up because I believe we tend to torture ourselves often over failure; making goals right now and not meeting them in a few months can bring about some negative feelings. The cycle is usually we fail, we feel sucky about it we then stop and decide to just forget about it, at least until the next year. I wanted to shed a little insight into those negative feelings and how it can stop you from potential growth.
Let’s be honest that those ‘negative feelings’ that bring you down about failing is shame talking. Shame is that awful little voice within you that makes you question yourself and what you want. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a couple weeks (because of my own goals) and this week as I was reading I thought it was just me(but it isn’t) by Brene Brown and I read a small section on goals that I wanted to share and after I do this you should really go out and get the book. I’m probably going to make my husband read it next, I think everyone could benefit from learning about shame and how to learn to have shame resilience. She spoke about how people who have more shame resilience worry less about the perfection of a habit (getting it done every day in just the right way) and focus more on the growth (what they are learning or trying to do) of their goal. She mentions that they seem to share a common language and I want to quote this so that you can understand what she means by language and how they speak about themselves,
“I want to work on getting better at…
I’d like to improve the way I…
I’d like to do a little less of this and a little more of…
These are my goals…
I want to be perceived as doing my best at…
I want to be perceived at trying…”
Then she says this which I highlighted, “Improvement is far more realistic goal than perfection. Merely letting go of unattainable goals makes us less susceptible to shame. When we believe “we must be this” we ignore who or what we actually are, our capacity and our limitations.”
I loved hearing this! Most of my life I was told the definitions of the roles I should have, a daughter, friend, wife, mother, etc. was expected to be a certain way and when I didn’t meet those expectations set for me I felt terrible about myself. I felt I couldn’t do anything right and questioning why I was even trying. This thinking kept me from learning from mistakes and trying again. Growing up I loved the idea of New Year’s resolutions because of the new things I wanted to do or try but I was afraid of the commitment and ultimate failure because I knew at some point I would stop doing it. At one point I just stopped making goals altogether, in my mind why start something I felt I couldn’t finish or knew I would just beat myself up about getting it wrong?
After going through this process of learning about shame and about myself more I started making goals again a couple years ago and I can happily say that last year as I reviewed my goals I was okay at not getting perfect at the goals. When I reflected back I realized part of not completing them was because half way through the year my focus and goals changed and that was okay with me.
I want to make a challenge to you that as you go about making goals for now or any other time of the year be careful of how you treat yourself and speak to yourself about your goal, self-hate doesn’t motivate anyone to make changes.
Now I want to share some last resources and ideas with you. When I make a goal I like to focus on starting with just one goal in a physical, mental and spiritual area for my personal growth, any other goals are bonus. If you are aware of usually going overboard with goals that they can overwhelm and cause anxiety then focus on something small. Achieving one small goal is better than none. One day I was having such a hard time I had a goal to just survive the day; when we were still alive at the end of the day it felt awesome.
To find a good outline for goals ( a pretty graphic) to hang up I just go to Pinterest and search for goal sheets for 2017. There a several bloggers who make some for FREE. It’s that easy. Then hang it up somewhere that you can look at daily.
I’ve also recently decided to make a habit tracker just to visually see my own progress. My husband has an app he tracks himself on but I prefer something physical. Once again my go to resource is Pinterest, just look up habit trackers, there are FREE printables or examples of how to make your own. This keeps me focus on progress not perfection.
Lastly, share your goals with someone. It may seem scary and vulnerable but sharing your goals and having someone to just check in with will make doing the goal and continuing more likely. I’ve shared with my husband and other goals with a few friends. We also started small family goals to work on together.
I’d love to hear about your own experiences failures or successes!