I’m sure in the next few days you will be asked if you made any New Year’s resolutions.  Personally, I don’t believe in resolutions.  What I believe in are goals. 

I think we should all have goals, whether it’s on January 1st or August 12th.  And I believe that goals should be something that is actually achievable.  Yes, we should all dream big.  But, while you should be aiming to do as much as you can to complete your goals, you should also be realistic.  Because if you can’t achieve your goal, you will become discouraged and give up.  Instead it would be better to break a big, lofty goal down into several smaller goals.  As you achieve each one, that feeling of accomplishment will drive you onward towards achieving the next and the next, until that big lofty one that you may have originally wanted to achieve is reached.  While we are all motivated to achieve a goal, success itself is an even better motivator! 

So, here it is, January 1st, and you’re thinking about resolutions or goals or however you want to define them.  But, you’re not sure what your goals should be?  Well, let’s look at the various categories that goals can fall into.

Professional Goals:         If you are in a job you’re not that happy with, or feel you could be doing something better (or completely different), set a goal to at least begin that search or do what you need to do (like taking classes) to get yourself ready to get that dream job.  But let’s say that you are happy at your current job.  First of all, congrats!  This is not a common thing, unfortunately.  But, if you are lucky enough to like your current job, what can your professional goal be in this situation?  Think about what you can do to stand out as a valuable part of your organization.  Not only will that make you feel good about yourself, it could translate into a promotion or a raise!  If it’s your own company, look into ways that things can run more efficiently or ways to promote that business to be more successful.  If you look at any truly successful person, you will see that they never stopped trying to do or be better or achieve more, just because they got to where they had originally set out to be.

Familial:              Make it a goal to spend more time with family.  Family, while usually the ones we fight with the most, are also the ones that will probably be there for you the most as well.  You can hopefully be yourself with them.  Yes, there are people who have family situations that are not great, where it’s not just about squabbles, and where they have to hide away part of who they truly are, because of fear that they won’t be accepted. First of all, I am truly sorry if this is your situation!  Seriously, I am!  I am very lucky to be very close with my family, and the thought of not having that is very upsetting to me.  So what do you do then?  Well, you can try to mend those fences and build better relationships.  Time tends to either soften things, or it can completely distort them.  If the relationship is not that great, trying to make it better might help.  And if it doesn’t, ask yourself if it will be much worse.  If it doesn’t make it better, and you feel that the best thing for your own mental health is to walk away, then make it your goal to accept the situation and stop guilting yourself over doing what is best for you!

Friendships:       Do you feel that you don’t get out enough, and that you and your friends have gotten too caught up in the rigors of your own lives?  I know I sure do!  Make it a goal to reach out to those you haven’t heard from in a while.  Ask how they’ve been.  But don’t stop there.  Make plans to get together!  No, this does NOT mean “Hey, we should get together sometime.”    This means ACTUALLY MAKE PLANS!! This happens way too often and we are all guilty of it.  If you say that to someone, and they respond yes, then suggest a date right then and there.  Put it on your calendar app (or if you’re like my Mom, on the actual paper calendar).  To those who know me personally, in real life, give me a shout out if you are interested in hanging out and let’s figure out a date to get together!  And if I reach out to you, please, don’t say “Let’s touch base next week”!  If this week is busy, let’s make plans for the week after or the week after that!  But let’s make plans! 

Personal:            Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do?  Learn guitar?  Take up painting?  Learn a new language? Jump out of an airplane? There has to be something that at some point you thought would be fun to learn or try.  So, do it!  I like writing, and I want to get better at it.  I don’t want to only write blogs (although I do like writing blogs).  I want to write a novel.  I have an idea for the story and I even have the first draft of the first 2 chapters written.  But then I got stuck.  I don’t know if I have the skill set to complete this lofty goal of writing a novel, but I want to do it.  So, I am taking a class that starts at the end of the month.  I know a full novel is a lofty goal, so I am breaking it down into smaller goals.  Goal #1 – take a class!  And who knows, if I keep pushing through the smaller goals, I may just be promoting my novel in a future blog post this year!!

The last category for goals that I will mention is:

Health: I think that this is probably the most important goal of them all!  Because without good health, you won’t be able to achieve any of your other goals!  I know this is usually the biggest goal or resolution of all.  Eat better, lose weight, build muscle, stop smoking, drink less.  If you’re someone who wants to get healthier some, or maybe all of these are things that you set as your goal.  But if you are looking to do more than one of these things, it can make “get healthier” a lofty goal!  Because it’s a lot to do all at one time! 

If you’re like most people, and you put all of this onto your plate at the same time, you will probably not succeed.  Some will, but most won’t.  Instead, as I keep saying, set smaller goals.  Pick one thing.  Maybe first get through a month of not smoking.  After that first month, when the cravings are not as bad, you can then focus on the next one.  If you take a building block approach, you will find it easier. 

Is your diet horrible?  Well, to cut out all the bad foods and do a complete 180 for your diet may be very difficult.  Instead, pick two days a week that you stick to a healthy diet for two or three weeks.  Add in a third day after those first weeks.  A few weeks later, add another.  And so on, until your diet is for the most part a healthy one.  You probably won’t even notice that you have cut out the crap if you take this approach. 

Anyway, whatever your goals are for this year, this month, this week or this day, I wish you all success!  Here’s to a fantastic 2019!