Every year on this day, we find ourselves super charged with good intentions. I call this the “New Year Collective Resolution Syndrome”. It is that fleeting moment, though it may last a week or two, when we bombard ourselves with all the should-have and ought-to we can think of. At the same time we pardon ourselves from last year’s faults or complete fails. Yes, we do that! We say “oh well, I was a bum last year, but this year I will be a bum no more, there is a brand new me in town!” Really?
And so we begin this endless list of things we want to stop doing, start doing, keep doing and on and on it goes. The truth is that it can get pretty overwhelming. If you have ever tried to quit smoking while going on a diet and paying off a huge credit card debt - all in three month time, you know what I mean. This symbolic “New Year-New You” can become unreasonable, tyrannical and rather self-defeating to say the least.
I am not against choosing a symbolic day to start brand new; it gives us a sense of community and shared enthusiasm. That said, any day is a good day to start improving your life, but for now let’s keep this January 1, 2013 as the day we all take a good look at ourselves and become agents of change.
If you ask me, I would tell you that the biggest issue with New Year resolutions is that they always come in the form of wishes and blurry visions. Such as:
“I wish I was THIS thin (visualize Victoria Secret model), I need to lose weight”
“I wish I was this rich (visualize Kardashian’s lavish lifestyle), I need to save money”
“I wish I was happier (visualize Uncle Joe’s great family), I need to have more fun”.
While all of these “lose weight, save money, have more fun” intentions/resolutions are fine, noble intentions, they really break down to simple wishful thinking. Why? Because they miss on two very important factors:
Let’s start with SMART: this is a well-known theory for goal setting which requires for a goal to follow rules in orders to become a reality/success. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.
For example, “My goal this year is to lose weight!” is not a SMART goal. (I think I wrote about that already in my Motivation post).
“This year I will lose 25 lbs., 2 lbs. per week, over the next 6 months for my own well-being” is a SMART goal because it is Specific (25 lbs.); it is Measurable and Achievable (2 lbs. per week -no drastic starvation mode here); it is timely (time frame is clear: 6 months - totally reasonable time frame); and it is Relevant (for my own well-being, not because I want to look like Katie Holmes – which may or may not be a fact!)
The same works for every goal and here is another example:
Instead of “My goal is to save money in 2013”, write down or say “I will (intention) save $200 per month towards a savings account (name Bank) for a period of 12 months starting on such day, ending on such day”. That’s $2400 per year folks, nice!
In order to achieve that goal you also need to have clear steps on how you will achieve it: for instance, save on XYZ items. Because it is not enough to set a bar at $200, you need to have a plan as to how you will save that $200 in the first place. And here is the biggest and most problematic part of goal setting:
We are very good at setting goals, writing them down etc. Us ladies will go as far as purchasing specific journals and cute to-do list pads, spending money, so we can write down our goal of …you guessed it…saving money!
Do we really need a cute Made in China polka dot memo pad to makes us feel committed to saving money? Most of us are clueless as to how to achieve our goals, in other words, we have goals but no plan! Fill in the blank…A goal without a plan is just a ________.
A goal without a plan is not just a dream; it is next year’s guilt and shame platter right under your nose on December 31, 2013! But no worries, new goals will be reset on January 1, 2014 when we get brand new again!
Here is a tidbit from good old Wikipedia:
“A 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study's participants were confident of success at the beginning”. Sound familiar?
Here comes INTROSPECTION.
While goals, to-do lists and other wishful thinking abound this time of year, how many of us are actually spending the time to think through our patterns and habits which led us to make these resolutions in the first place?
Had I not binged on buttered toasts every night I entered my home after work, I probably would not have to set a “weight loss” goal in the first place.
If you had not spent endless hours on the computer playing mindless video games all year long, your goal today would not be to make “drastic repairs” to your home. The stuff would have been done in the first place, when it was needed, it would never become a goal, as it would be a done deal already! Instead, your home is falling apart and you are all embarrassed about it; So you have kept beating your own highest score at video game X, all year long, but does it really cut the shame and guilt when you look at your beat up yard?
In other words, we have to learn to tie our shoes before we start making all sorts of grandiose goals and inevitably set ourselves up for failure. It begins with implementing the most basic habits, small stuff folks, NOT 25 lbs., $5000, new DIY roof goals; SMALL, SMART and based on KNOWING THY SELF first!
Before we go about making our New Year Resolution list, how about we, to the very least, start by making a list of those things we do, habitually, and were proven to be working against us. Without eliminating these nasty habits, we cannot move forward and create new ones, never mind setting up goals. It would be like trying to be warm in a windowless home. As the snow storm rages outside, we can bundle ourselves and pile on as many blankets, chances are we will still feel cold and pretty lousy.
************* 2013 *************
This year, I will not only add on SMART goals to my list, I will also go about a process of elimination. One of MGC readers mentioned to me that very often we are “very good at staging an area of our home, not so good at keeping it up”. That is true and pretty much speaking to this idea of eliminating the bad habits first. It is nice that we can completely redo our living room area, de-clutter, rearrange and make pretty. But unless we address procrastination, not putting things back where they belong and our continued trips to Home Goods or Wal-Mart for emotional purchases, guess what? Give it another two months and your living room will end up looking just the same as before.
Again, this process of elimination needs to be specific in that you need to be very honest with yourself when assessing those areas of your life which you feel need improvement (yes, it is hard). For instance, if losing weight is your 2013 goal, instead of jumping into a diet, any diet, ask yourself how you got yourself into that overweight state in the first place. If it is emotional eating, take care of that. If it is boredom, find new ways to entertain yourself, if it is food choices, educate yourself and begin your supermarket trip with the right mindset, that of making healthier choices.
Here are two habits I am committed to eliminating this year:
1) Stop the procrastination habit: DO IT NOW. This applies to many areas of my life: billing, clutter, important appointments, and work. I am already on this path, having started alongside this blog for support. But there is always room for improvement, so for me, 2013 will be a continuation of my commitment to building efficiency in my life.
2) Interrupt negative ego states as they occur: that is a tough one and we all are guilty of this. A negative ego state is the way we beat ourselves up all the time, feeling “not good enough”, “not important enough”, “not this, not that”. I am done competing with the rest of the world, the only one to “beat” here is me, so 2013 will be the year I will continue to challenge myself in the direction of personal growth, P-E-R-S-O-N-A-L growth, not to impress, not to appear…To be real, to be me.
Here is what to expect from me in 2013:
I am committed to expanding this blog with a YouTube channel and bringing on sponsors. While this has been an incredible experience thus far, there is no doubt in my mind that I can further expand and build a community of House Management Challenged folks like me! (LOL, we're all in the same boat!)
I also have a couponing website and its accompanying blog in the works; I have procrastinated enough on this one, which is ridiculous because the website itself is 80% complete. That should come to a computer screen near you in a few months.
More how-to and efficiency building tools you can all use. If anything, I am committed to being a creature of output (giving and producing) rather than a creature of input (buying and taking).
All these goals I broke down into SMART components (no need to share that boring part with you) alongside more personal/intimate goals for self and family. To break it down simply: expect more from me in 2013.
To all, I wish you the best for the New Year. This blog would never have made it if it wasn’t for MGC faithful readers and supporters. Though it is still in its infancy stage (less than a year old), I am very grateful each time a new member joins our community and am truly excited and thankful for all the emails and comments I receive from readers. Thank you all, I am blessed!
Join us on FACEBOOK! Thank you for sharing MGC with your friends and family members. Happy New Year, may it be prosperous, healthy, filled with joy ( and a clean house).