Now that another year is over, I find myself having lots of conversations with people who are unhappy about how the year ended for them. They may have had some success in the year, but haven’t made any real progress on the things they really wanted to accomplish this year. Trying to figure out how to make peace with not accomplishing all of your goals is a common struggle for women (and men), and figuring out whether or not it’s worth attaining in the new year is a common question.
As we enter into the new year, it’s a great time to take a step back and think about how you can find your inner P.E.A.C.E. –
Plan Your ________ (Month, Year, Week….whatever)
The reason that planning is so important to finding your peace is because it forces you to ask and answer the hard questions: What do you want? How can you get it? When will you do the work that’s necessary to get what you want? What type of support and accountability will be required to make sure you actually implement your plan?
For most of us, the kinds of changes that we would like to make in our lives have clear and well-studied paths. If you don’t know what they are and you’re short on time, you can find a way to learn them quickly (i.e, read a book, take a class, ask an expert). It really is that simple. If you want more time, you have to spend less time doing the things that don’t matter. But there’s a difference between KNOWING what you should be doing & actually DOING them. So, when I say “experiment,” I mean learn the best practices (that’s the easy part) and then actually do them (that’s where it gets difficult).
Analyze Your Changes
Whenever you try a behavioral experiment, you will have several weeks worth of data to analyze. If you want greater productivity, then ask yourself: “Did doing the same thing every day for four weeks to build up my immunity provide a different outcome than my regular binge & bust behavior?” If you need more time, then ask yourself: “Have the weeks where I have a plan been better than the weeks without one?” If you can’t figure out where your time goes, track your time and analyze the data by asking: “Is my time in alignment with my values?” It doesn’t matter what your criteria for success is; just be sure to track your progress and then pause after a few weeks to analyze the data.
Challenge Your Beliefs
Whenever we change our behavior, all of our stuff comes to the surface. That’s great! You want that stuff right out in the open so you can see what assumptions, beliefs, or expectations are holding you back. Each of us have to learn to challenge our limiting beliefs, such as: “I can’t work out in the morning because I’m not a morning person,” “I can’t work on my goals every day because I couldn’t possibly get anything meaningful done in 30 minutes,” or “I can’t get any alone time during the week because taking time for me would be selfish.” New behaviors have a wonderful way of bringing our limiting beliefs to the surface, but the real work is holding those beliefs up to the light of day and asking: Is this true? Is this belief supporting me current and future success? Am I willing to consider a new belief? And do I want/need to change my behavior?
Establish A Support Network
None of us have to evolve alone! It doesn’t matter to me what type of supportive community you create or tap into, but there are three things I know for sure: 1) there’s power & wisdom in collectives; 2) most people thrive and grow in the context of mutual support; and 3) structured accountability can help you to make changes faster than almost anything else. There are plenty of ways to create the support you need in your own area, or online. If you don’t know, you better ask somebody!
I hope this is helpful to you in reflecting on your work this year and the ways that you want to move forward in 2018.
Happy New Year & Happy New You!!