There are two times each year when I feel super-motivated to set goals, make plans, and jump in with both feet: the start of a new school year and January 1.
There is something so inspiring and motivating about the start of something new, and I tend to get caught up in the excitement, ready to take on the world.
I buy planners, I order new pens, I set aside time for brainstorming, I review where I’ve been, I dream big. I set scary goals and write out action steps for accomplishing them. I get downright giddy at the thought of all the possibility.
And then the BIG DAY comes. I start strong…but all too often, I quickly fade.
Suddenly, the pressure of all those enormous goals and plans feels overwhelming, and all I want to do is crawl back under my covers and hide from the world and from all those dumb resolutions I made.
Who wants to exercise for 2 hours and eat a pound of greens every day anyway? I don’t really need to take 365 incredible photos and write a novel this year, right? And why in the world did I think waking up at 5:45am was a good idea? One does not simply become a morning person, after all.
I go from riding the wave of excitement to giving that certain “start day” too much power. And in the face of that self-induced pressure, I waver.
So this year, after facing my tendency to THINK BIG but execute small, I decided to do things differently. I’m taking my time forming my 2017 goals, and I’m avoiding “Big Start Day Syndrome.” In fact, here it is, January 5, and I’m still pondering and writing this year’s plans.
Oh, it’s true: a few goals are in place and underway. I shared my reading goals for this year already. And if you could see how difficult it currently is for me to climb any set of stairs (or even any single stair), you would guess (correctly) that I’ve started implementing a new workout plan.
But I started small, on purpose, and intend to plan and execute slowly but surely.
I’m making my goals manageable. And I want to make sure I’m really passionate about them…rather than setting goals that just sound awesome. I want each goal to be well-thought-out and to make sense for my current circumstances and responsibilities.
I’ve done a lot of journaling, a lot of mind-mapping and brain-dumping. And yes, I may have a new planner and a new pen or two, but really, one can never have too many pens or nice planners, right?
Bottom line: I’m working toward a list of goals that makes me feel excited, motivated, and capable. And that takes time.
I skipped the pressure of starting everything perfectly on January 1. And I’m even giving myself permission to scrap things and start over on February 1st if I want to. Or March 12. Or April 23.
Look. January 1 does not have a monopoly on new leaves, clean slates, or fresh starts. Every day is a new day, and an opportunity to start again.
So if you’re facing January 5 and have already stumbled in one of your New Year’s Resolutions, take heart! Today is a new day! Start over and come hang out with me. Start small, keep things reasonable, and remember that January 1 isn’t the boss of you. It’s never too late to set a new goal and make a new start.