New year. New calendar. New goals. January brings the opportunity to review last year, looking at what did or didn’t happen while anticipating the year ahead. Every day is a launching pad to the future, but the beginning of the year feels particularly auspicious.
As you contemplate the upcoming year, create a vision. Start at the end and backwards plan. As you “begin with the end in mind,” from the perspective of year-end, imagine what your 2017 life looked like? Have you made changes or was it: “New year, same me”? Conceive of aspirations for the year in January and grow into them as the year progresses.
Choose one new thing to work on. With most actions, a big difficulty is beginning. The faster you take the first step, the more likely you are to follow through.
- Learn: a new skill or hobby (roller-blading, vegan recipes, or bike riding?)
- Start: develop a habit (wake up earlier, stretch, or walk?)
- Stop: break a habit (late night internet, mindless eating, or too much sitting?)
- Maintain or grow (a relationship, fitness, or meditation?)
- Go: (take a vacation, go on retreat, or be a hometown tourist?)
- Explore: what are you looking for? (love, a new computer, or where you left your cell phone?)
- Try: something new (restaurant, fitness class, or how you get to work?)
- Be: improve a characteristic (be on time, more organized, or more focused?)
Make friends with habits. Piggyback on routines by adding something new to the things you already do. If you want to establish a meditation practice, use time while the coffee is brewing to take deep breathes. When you are brushing your teeth, stand on one leg to improve balance. Taking off shoes near the door will keep your house cleaner, instead of tracking dog pee or radon into your sanctuary. Drink a glass of water 20 minutes meals to minimize portions while feeling fuller.
Setting goals is easier than sustaining change. Find a friend who is willing to be a goal buddy and hold each other accountable. Together you can maintain progress and achieve more.
Some steps to consider:
- Corral time trolls—audit how you spend/waste time for a few days
- Start small; take baby steps.
- Change one thing, not everything.
- Enjoy the process. You can’t control results.
- Be grateful for every step.
The only one you can change is yourself and the only time you have is right now. How you spend your time is how you spend your life.
© Joan S Grey, 5 Jan 2017
IndexCardCure™: Action trumps intention