Happy New Year, fam! I’ve been ghost for the past two weeks, on a vacation during the Christmas holiday visiting my family in Florida. The insanely warm weather and additional sleep helped me reflect on the past year. While 2016 was good for me overall, I realized I had a lot of “meant to” moments in 2016. I meant to catch up with so-and-so. I meant to write more…Oops. Last year felt chaotic in a lot of ways I didn’t like. So I gladly kissed 2016 goodbye at the stroke of midnight on January 1. Hello, 2017! Cheers to the New Year!
I’m starting off 2017 full of intentionality to accomplish my primary directive for the year: Do Better. I didn’t make a list of resolutions because I’ve found that my actual resolve weakens around March. I forget what I really wanted and start drifting. My listlessness in 2016 means that I have many of the same desires I did at the beginning of last year. This time, I’m focusing on my behavior and my attitude: How do I get what I want? What are the obstacles standing in the way of that? What will happen if I do or don’t accomplish my goals?
If you’re anything like me, nothing pops off without a bit of direction. This year, I’m following these three prompts to keep myself on track.
Examine: Determine what you can and cannot control.
Every time I talk to friends and family about my disappointment in not reaching certain benchmarks, they give me a blank stare. “But, Dara,” they say, “you just carried and gave birth to an entire tiny human!” They’re right and I know it. But it doesn’t make me feel better because I haven’t adjusted to my new capabilities. Now that I’m a stay-at-home mama, it’s even more crucial for me to make a distinction between the things I can and cannot control.
Make a list of the constants in your life. What can you change? What things are more or less set in stone? Then, make a list of what you can adjust. Find the flexibility within your current situation to create a foundation for your dreams.
For example: my life is currently set up to take care of two little ones daily. Within that comes a lot of restriction (I can’t make business calls midday without planning) but a measure of freedom (we don’t have to stay indoors). If I need to make a business call, then I have to roll out Nanny Netflix.
Expect: Prepare for success as well as failure.
I know, I know: Most people will tell you that your attitude determines your altitude. Aim high. All Plan A and no Plan B. Go big or go home. Believe you will win. And yes, all of these positive attitudes help propel us to where we want to go.If you do not plan for failures, you're missing out on an opportunity to succeed. #GoalsFor2K17 Click To Tweet
But in real life, we fail sometimes. We don’t always hit our high scores, pass the test, or make that sale. Foreseeing the possible obstacles can help cushion the blow of smacking into them. It’s just bad vision-casting to assume nothing will hinder us. What will happen if at first you don’t succeed? (Try, try again!) But that second, or third, or fourth try needs to be strategic. If the idea of planning for failure in 2017 still isn’t your bag, call it “creating different scenarios to win.” Success often takes more than one path. What are the other avenues you might need to travel?
For example: I totally meant to pitch more publications in 2016 after getting my feet wet in 2015. But after I got a few no-answers, I felt discouraged. I didn’t plan for the possibility of my pitches not succeeding. So I didn’t rework them. I did…nothing. And so nothing happened. In 2017, I’m reminding myself that if I don’t get it right initially, I can’t miss out on another opportunity to do so.
Execute: Intention dies without action.
Most of us begin each year with so much good intention. But that will only carry us so far. The bridge between intention and achievement is execution. Underlying that is my personal mantra, “You don’t need more time. You need more discipline.”
I’ve never been one to schedule my life to infinity. My personality’s version of a free spirit calls for leaving things open to whim. But last night, I sat down with my husband to hammer out a family schedule, down to showering and break times. It sounds boring, right? It was. I had to do it. Even though I’m a grown woman with a whole husband and two children, I had to face the fact that I need discipline. Doing things the way I have been doing them my whole life just isn’t working.
For example: I love meeting up with people. But I’ve come to realize that unless I set a date and time immediately, it’s not going to “happen.” Nothing just “happens” for me…I have to put actions after my words. So right after a friend texted me about our daughters meeting, I made a play date and put it in my calendar. Done. So make the call. Send the email. Open the document. Don’t just dream…DO…and keep doing it until you finish.
2017 doesn’t have to suck…
But I do have to suck it up and work hard for this year not to disappoint me in my personal life. It’s a mistake to think that I can get my new schedule or attitude right on one try. Over and over again, I’ll have to examine what is out of control in my life, expect some pitfalls in my plan, but keep growing and moving beyond them, and execute the plan step-by-step.
What are your intentions, resolutions, or goals for 2017? How are you starting off the New Year?