Do you ever do New Year’s resolutions?
At the beginning of each year I am confronted with the same old question again and again: Shall I make some resolutions? Should I write down goals and wishes for the year to come?
Or have I already shoved my trust and confidence out of the window and do not believe deep down anymore that objectives I once resolved to can be achieved?
Isn’t it easy to hammer out a list? More sports, healthier food, sustainable shopping, more time with family, more time with friends, and more time for myself. Spend more time outside, less time on your mobile phone, one book per month….
I have no problem filling entire pages with goals and wishes– easily! However, to make them come true is a different ball game, when time flies and suddenly the day is done without any sports, the computer is glowing and so are my eyes and instead of reading a book I am closing my eyes at night!
How to keep engaged with your resolutions?
In the very beginning, it is very beneficial to check hard your motivation behind your resolutions: are you doing something half-heartedly because that is what one does….or is your heart burning for a goal?
What defines a goal anyways? An excellent webinar by Rachel Korinek touched upon that very question! What is the difference between a resolution and a goal? For me, one big difference is that a goal is clearly defined, it is concrete and backed by measurable achievements (a bit scary, isn’t it?) and has a part that is beyond our control. I could for example say: In 2019, I want to highlight sustainability and climate protection on my blog and gain clients who are also interested in those topics.
What do you think? Isn’t that a great wish and resolution, yes? Do you like it? I like it a lot, but that does not make it a goal!
Setting a goal – how does that work?
Staying with the above example, I could also say: Each month in 2019, I will write one blog post on climate protection in the kitchen (which would make it a project but not yet a goal!) and through my postings attract three new clients until the end of October, who would like to work with me on a (paid) project about climate protection and sustainability.
Now that is a goal: Three new clients, end of October, themes: climate protection and sustainability! Clearly defined, concrete and measurable.
The thing is, I can propose a multitude of interesting potential project proposals and can try to put online as much inspiration as possible for my esteemed blog readers – if those efforts will ever be rewarded with new clients who have an appetite for joint projects remains beyond my control.
My eureka moment
I deeply understood something when it finally sunk in, that, indeed, I do have a lot of resolutions and projects between my ears but most of the time lack the courage to set straight goals for myself!
The angst to shipwreck and not being able to reach those goals is alive and kicking and with that angst, those little well-known devils come knocking at my door:
“Hey, where is that idea coming from to acquire three new customers? In that short amount of time? Do you even have what it takes to do that? Blablablabla…..”
The crucial point is and will always be: If I want to reach my goal, I MUST take responsibility NOW and, as a first step, put those little devils in their place.
“Get away! Stop putting all those excuses in my head! I am not interested! Ahh, you guys want to talk me into making a compromise? That one post per month is already so hard to do, that I should skip the client acquisition part? Shut up!”
In all honesty, we all have to shake ourselves three times and let those little devils talk what they want. Listen to them? No way! Let them grumble among each other!
Structuring goals and projects
Projects feel very different with a clearly defined goal. Suddenly projects turn from being a burden into a mean that helps me tremendously getting closer to my goal.
This is what I did: I put down my goals and turned them into projects to help me achieve those goals. This was a fun exercise without that lame feeling “oh well, in the end I am not going to get started or achieve anything anyways…”
One of those projects is my blog. I have been struggling with some of its structures for quite a while now. Equipped with a good portion of superficial knowledge I have run the blog and over time created a good amount of chaos in its backend. It is quite ugly and my ambition to clean up the mess, or even open WordPress, is virtually zero!!
But didn’t I also want to write at least one article about sustainability/climate protection each month!? Hmm. My goal conflicted with my WordPress allergy.
What do you do when you run out of steam and ideas? You get some help, in my case in the form of a super nice and competent web designer who I found without much looking. He is helping to clean up the mess and my blog starts to shine again.
But make no mistake, I am not running out of struggles. Gutenberg and some of my plugins do not really enjoy each other’s company, and writing this post alone raised my blood pressure and watered my eyes.
Suddenly the cursor started to move backwards eating my already typed words – instead of inspirational content for you all I starred (in disbelieve) at an empty page.
Self-responsibility is your treasure!
Starring at the blank page, I just wanted to scream and quit! Suddenly the little devils were wide-awake and in overdrive but did not take my sense of self-responsibility into account. Ha! After a tear or two of despair, it dawned on me: It is entirely up to you to let this situation drive you into insanity, rage and depression …or if you instead chose to carry on and make the best out of this situation!
Knowing that I do have a choice in each moment, that I have the inner freedom to make good decisions in challenging situations is a tremendous treasure!
Interestingly after I decided against self-pity and rage suddenly a few things started to work that weren’t before. And it turned out (after some digging in the WWW) that it was the initial letter on the page that caused the problem…..Why? I have no clue!
That does not mean that all technical problems are solved. There are still more than enough issues that make me fume and rumble! However, be it as it is, sometimes stubbornness is your best friend and I choose to focus on my creativity and productivity and let my frustration take a seat on the bench. Because – remember? – my resolution! I want to write articles that inspire you to find your self-responsibility and hardcore use it!
No worries! Change can feel a bit strange at first! And leaving your comfort zone needs a bit of effort! But the more you venture out the easier it gets and in the end you become unstoppable!