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We have come to the end of another year. Once again, millions of humans will forget the old and focus on the new as they await the dawn of January 1, 2014. New Years Day is synonymous with a new start – a new beginning that will overshadow all the mess-ups of the past. Everyone is so gung ho to “get it right” this time…until they make a mistake. Then the madness sneaks in and things begin to spiral out of control. By mid-March all bets are off, the white flag has been waved, and one by one we slowly but surely descend back into the depths of our old habits, licking our wounds, and concealing our hurts as if we “didn’t really want it anyway!”
That’s how the story usually plays out. It’s an endless, vicious cycle for so many people. I know because I used to be one of those people. Every year I would make resolutions to have, be, and do something different. I even had one standard resolution every year: gain weight!
Hey, watch your mouth! It’s not my fault my metabolism is ridiculously high!
At any rate, I would do my best to make my resolutions happen, but somehow I always got sidetracked. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if I even made it to mid-March. I was usually done by mid-February. Throughout March I’d make up tons of excuses. In April I slowly began to accept those excuses. By May I would forget all about my resolutions! It was a sad state of affairs, yet because no one was held accountable but me I was able to wiggle out of my attempted failures. After weeks of justification I felt it was okay to get back to my old life. After all, it wasn’t that bad…was it?
That all changed around 2008.
This is when I stopped making resolutions and started setting goals at the request of my first true mentor/male best friend. This is when I began to see why all of those resolutions never worked out – because deep inside I never wanted them to work out. They had no true meaning or value to me – even the gaining weight goal – so I didn’t care if they really happened or not. I was basically shooting blanks in the dark, not knowing if, when, how, or what I would hit – and not caring if I hit anything at all. Once I realized in 2008 that it was my job to design my life – and after taking a good, honest, long, HARD look at my life realizing that I wanted something better – I began to strive for something better. So on January 1, 2009 I made my first attempt at setting goals.
In the beginning I took baby steps. While I grasped the concept of goals and understood how they were different from resolutions, I still had a difficult time trying to see just “how” I wanted my life to be. For years I really only desired one thing: to be a loving wife and a great mother and have a family. Nothing else mattered to me: money, cars, career, notoriety – it wasn’t on my radar and I was okay with that. So when setting my goals I formed them around the desire of having a family. I spent more time with my kids, began to figure out what I needed, wanted, and desired in my husband, and started working on preparing myself to be a wife. It was…odd, to say the least…but it was working.
Ever since then that’s how I approached the New Year. By setting goals instead of resolutions, I created a higher chance of not only improving my life, but on improving myself as a person as well. Yet even through this process I’ve noticed that a lot of people still miss one key factor in setting – and KEEPING – their goals.
That key factor is ACCOUNTABILITY!
We all can set goals, resolutions, or whatever you want to call them. What’s really missing is having someone hold us ACCOUNTABLE for REACHING those goals! Every year I set something else in place to ensure that I keep moving forward and not fall too far back. (We’re going to backslide a time or two – that’s a fact of life – just don’t make it a habit.) I have not one, but TWO amazing, awesome accountability partners in my life. Not only do they hold me accountable for the goals that I set, but I do the same for them.
I also set rewards and consequences for each goal that I set. This is another key factor missing when people set goals. Of course, when our goal is met we celebrate and treat our self to something nice. But what do you do when you DON’T meet your goal? That’s just as important. Most of us, if we’re really honest with ourselves, will try to justify the reason why the goal wasn’t meant:
- It’s not possible.
- It was too hard.
- It wasn’t for me in the first place.
- Such-and-such left me high and dry.
- (Insert any and all lame excuses here).
The truth of the matter is that we got lazy on our goal and just didn’t make it happen. When you do this it begins yet another vicious cycle that allows you to dismiss your goals as unimportant and/or insignificant. However, if you set a consequence to your goal – something you REALLY don’t want to do – it does two things. One, it causes you to think if the goal is right for you. Two, it holds you accountable to accomplish the goal. That creates inner integrity. I mean, think about it, if you can’t have integrity with yourself then how can you expect anyone else to have integrity with you?
So as you lye in wait for 2014 and prepare to, once again, make this THEE BEST YEAR EVER, think about what you want your life to look like on December 31, 2014. Then as you set your goals pair them up with a reward AND a consequence. Having both will help you to create honest, clear, huge, yet realistic goals for yourself. Once you have everything set in place you have to STICK WITH IT! And to make sure you stick with it get someone that you know and trust to be your accountability partner. Have them hold you to your word and you do the same for them. The climb to the top is better when you do it together! 2014 really can be better for you than any of the previous years combined…IF you set it up right! Get it together the first time and you’ll never have to worry about the mid-March goal assassinations again.
Here’s to your 2014! I’m lying in wait right along with you!