Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New You!

From My Own Kitchen Table
Let me tell you what I did not do last year.
  • I did not finish writing my book.
  • I did not self-publish the book that I did not finish writing.
  • I did not lose all of the weight I wanted to lose by summer.
  • I did not get accepted into another doctoral program that I applied to.
  • I did not change jobs.
  • I did not have different (or growing) responsibilities at my job.
  • I did not change geographical locations.
  • I did not find the love of my life.
  • I did not start a family.
These are some goals I had set for myself last year.  As the year went on, disappointment became a part of life.  I was most disappointed in my lack of progress regarding the book I am in the process of writing.  I think I've written about two full chapters as well as an intro (but don't quote me on that).  So I felt like a loser.  Most of us do when we don't meet our goals, and we do like to make lofty goals every new year, so I would say that we usually put ourselves in a position to feel like losers.

Let me tell you what I did last year.
  • I took a semester off from my doctoral program.
  • I started seeing a counselor.
  • I joined a weight-loss program.
  • I started working out and, most consistently, practicing yoga. (Nothing fancy, just some dvds.)
  • I tried some new things, like breathing. (Really!)
  • I went on a few vacations to places that calm me and give me joy.
  • I started eating food for health benefits as well as for enjoyment. 
Honestly, I am really happy about what I did accomplish.  The difference between the goals I set for myself (which I did not achieve) and what I accomplished is that the goals were outward achievements - things I could be applauded and congratulated for - while my accomplishments were more personal. Yes, people have noticed some weight loss. Yes, people have remarked that I seem a lot less stressed now.  However, I personally experienced the benefits of the practices I incorporated into my life moment by moment, which helped me to appreciate the small changes that were transforming me into a new me.  

So what have I learned about making goals for the new year?

1. You really don't have to.  If you don't, you're not a loser. If you do and don't achieve them, you're also not a loser, but you'll be more likely to think you are.

2. If you are going to set goals, they can be as small as, "I am going to incorporate a fruit and/or vegetable into every meal", and those goals can be set, and met, daily.

3. Goals should be super-specific.  "I am going to be healthy" is not a goal.  "I am going to tell three people I love them today" is.  At the end of the day you should be able to specifically assess whether or not you met your goal.

4. Stop expecting yourself to be perfect and do amazing things.  Honestly, amazing people just are.  Just BE. 

5. Congratulate yourself for making it through what you have been through.  And find reasons to be happy with who you are, and who you are becoming.

Happy New You!