Happy New Year, friends! With the first month of the new year coming to an end, it’s easy to already feel defeated by dashed hopes and unsuccessful resolutions we began this new year with! I don’t know about you but setting New Year’s resolutions used to stress me out! Don’t get me wrong, I loved the idea of setting them, writing them out in a perfectly new notebook, and organizing them by priority. I would read over my list and think to myself: This is it! This will be the year I finally organize that junk drawer or pay off my credit card debt or lose twenty pounds.
But by the end of January, I’d realize I hadn’t made any progress toward fulfilling my New Year’s resolutions—heck, some I hadn’t even started at all! You know the phrase “I’ll start Monday.” Well, somehow Monday kept getting pushed back, and before I knew it, it was time to sit down and write out another New Year’s resolutions list. After a few years of repeating that cycle, just the thought of making New Year’s resolutions stressed me out. It was just another way to realize that I wasn’t succeeding in some areas of my life. By pointing out those areas I wanted to succeed in and then not even starting the process meant missing the mark yet another year.
Then I changed my mind-set. What if instead of writing down New Year’s resolutions, I wrote down goals for the new year. They could be physical, spiritual, mental, or even emotional goals. Somehow by changing the word resolutions to goals, I felt free to release the pressure to accomplish one more thing and felt motivated to work toward achieving those goals. Writing down my goals for the new year meant I had a plan, something I was working toward.
With my new mind-set now in place, each new year brings hope—hope for new things I can work on without the stress of feeling like I’m doomed to fail if I don’t complete it in the year. I begin by writing down the goals I want to shoot for. This gives me a clear vision of what I am working on and helps me stay on task. I am reminded of the Scripture: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). It’s easy to feel caught up in day-to-day, monotonous work and not really accomplish much of anything. By writing down my goals, I am reminded of what I am aiming at.
I recently came across this quote by Brian Tracy: “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”
You may be thinking, I’m not really sure what my goals are for the new year or I’ve already failed at keeping my New Year’s resolution so I’ll just have to try again next year. Take action now. Don’t wait for Monday or the following Monday or the Monday after that! Take some time today to think about something you want to work on this year. Maybe you want to try something new or learn a new hobby or lose those twenty pounds. Whatever it is, write down a few realistic goals that could help you start moving in that direction. You just might be surprised where you find yourself at the end of this year.