And so I’ve been thinking a lot about the new year, about change, about growth. I feel confident in saying that many of us have been thinking a lot about these things these days.
After all, the days between the Christmas holiday and the new year are often filled with a sense of change and anticipation for newness. New diets, new workout regimes, new plans, new ways of doing our chores, new ways of being with our partners, new ways of relating to our kids, calling loved ones more often, getting to work earlier regularly, finally getting to that dreaded chore.
Some ask me what I think about New Year’s resolutions? As a coach and as an individual?
I wish I could tell you that I have a strong opinion for or against goal setting with the new calendar year. But I do not. My strong opinion about goal setting is that goal setting is entirely an individual choice. When we are ready, we set goals. Sometimes setting goals can help us get ready. Sometimes we have to set a goal over and over and over and over because that is what that particular goal requires.
I also wish I could tell you that throughout all the changes I have experienced in my life (a lot of change) and through my work as a coach, I have learned a formula for goal setting. But there is no magic formula (not in my opinion). And if there were a formula, it would look different for every person, every person a different equation with different variables in different orders. Every outcome unique. A relief (in my opinion), a relief that just because it worked for Sally, it doesn’t have to work for me, a reassurance that my process is unique and therefore doesn’t need to be compared to the process of others.
What I have learned along the way through my own change and my work as a coach is that while there is no magic formula (boo and yay; yay and boo), there are tools that can be helpful when we venture on the brave journey of change (yay and yay).
As I think of change, goals, and new years, I am most interested in what works for individuals, individual circumstances, and the tools to help us with our journey. On that note, I would like to share some of my favorite tools when approaching goals below:
One step at a time; yep, cliche and true. There is beauty in wanting lots of things to change, and from my experience, one change at a time is most skillful. Twenty changes at once are rarely sustainable.
Getting clear on the one step. So I want to get more movement? What does that mean for me? Working out every day? Working out three times a week? Walking every day? Getting to yoga/pilates/tai chi four times a week? You see, maybe a bunch of us want to get more movement in 2022, but it will mean something different for each of us.
Breaking down each step into small actions and experimenting. Once my step is clear, what is a tiny action that can help me achieve the step? If I want to go to yoga three times per week, some tiny steps could be: looking for a class I can attend in person or virtually, getting my yoga mat ready, making sure my leggings still work for me, going to the yoga class once. Maybe doing one of these things per day.
It is also cliche and also true (in my opinion) that slow and steady wins the race. Maybe the first week I go to yoga once, the second week I go to yoga twice, and the third week I go to yoga three times. Maybe. It is a process of experimentation. Of trying and being open for the testing to give us information about if it works or doesn’t…
I am wishing you a year full of wellness and growth.
p.s. These suggestions are strictly based on the fact that changing twenty things simultaneously has never worked for me (or anyone I know) in a sustainable way. And while I am fully confident there is no cap on the things we can set out to change in our life, approaching one thing at a time might be most skillful.