Planning for 2018

“One minute to midnight
One minute to go
One minute to say good-bye
Before we say hello”

If you can name the musical that song is from, we’re practically best friends. Forever.

I remember how excited I was when I was little to list out my goals for the new year. I wanted to camp every weekend and go to Disneyland and learn how to horseback ride and travel to Australia and… you get the drift. My goals were bigger than what could be done. Sound familiar? Even to this day, my goals are bigger than the days are long. How many of us set out in the new year with lofty ideas of grandeur? Maybe this year will be the year you go to the gym… everyday… at 5am… without fail… come rain or snow. The only caveat? You’ve never stepped foot into a gym. So this would be a HUGE life adjustment. While I’m a fan of fitness (something I slacked off this past year and is in my list of things to get back at in 2018), considering your goals can help you figure out something attainable.

So, what do I recommend? Here are my four tips to help you succeed in 2018:

  • Be reasonable.
    As I said above, if you’ve never stepped foot in a gym, purchasing the highest priced gym membership can be overwhelming. Much like walking into a Macy’s there’s just too many options. And too much to learn. And all the machines. Rather, make it a goal to walk 30 minutes twice a week. Give yourself all of January to master that one. And then add to it. Maybe February your goal becomes to walk for 30 minutes 5 times a week. And allow that to change and grow as you notice your progression. You’ll not only be running a 5k in no time, you’ll be be better off than the New Year’s Resolutioners, who spent a couple hundred for a gym membership and dropped out three weeks in.

Action Step: Choose a goal that is an extension of something you are already working towards. Like going for a walk twice a week or going to daily Mass during the week, or removing one small thing (like soda or that daily donut) from your diet.

  • Plan ahead.
    If you wait until 11:59pm December 31st to figure out what it is you want to do in the new year, your plans will reflect the mindset of that particular day. Instead, take the time to pray about it (Adoration is my personal favorite place to do this), think about it, and journal about it. Really use these last few weeks of 2017 to deliberate, think, and plan.

Action Step: Download the free worksheet at the end of this article and start working through it. Bring it with you to a quiet place, turn off your cell phone, and give it some serious reflection. More journal pages may need to be filled out, depending on how involved you get.

  • Outline your plan.
    Growing up, my mom and her best friend always joked (but really they were mostly serious) about having a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D,… Ya know. The “just in case plans.” So, outline your plan. Have a back up plan… and a plan for the back up plan. Decide how you will face temptation when that little voice tells you to skip out on your walk, or to eat that donut. Or to get an extra bit of sleep and avoid daily Mass (I’m mostly talking about me on that last one). This could include calling on a friend for help, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your “bad” will affect your goal. Or, my most favorite – sticky notes reminders. Those of you who know me in real life know that I LOVE sticky note reminders – so set some out. Not hog-wild like a conspiracy theorist from your favorite television show but a few here and there to encourage you to meet these goals.

Action Step: Work on your plan of attack. What do you need to do to get things done. Do you write lists? Do you keep Sticky Notes in business? Do you need to find an accountability partner? Think about how you have executed your plans in the past – specifically, what worked. You may find that making a list of pros and cons helps you keep your resolve.

  • Don’t beat yourself up.
    This is a learning experience. No one sets out on the first try and gets it (except for Mozart – he may be the only exception to that rule). Obsessing over any slip-ups will not help you meet your goal, it will only hinder it. Remember, in the words of one of my favorite literary heroines, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” Focus on the hope that tomorrow brings. We’re all human. Perfection is not our strong suit. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.

Action Step: Do positive self talk. Listen to that song that gets you motivated and back on track. And remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it. Finally, remind yourself that whatever you did, you chose it consciously, you enjoyed it thoroughly, and you let it go. (This, of course, applies to moral actions. Thought I should toss that in.) Track your progress and celebrate your victories, even the small ones! And, as always keep trying.

 

If you need a little help in prompting and getting the juices flowing, I’ve made up this super handy printable worksheet to help you set your goals and intentions for the new year!
Want it? Just click on the link below!

 

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Practice Makes PROGRESS