2020 – Managing New Year’s Expectations
By Rebecca Besser
Today is New Year’s Day, the first day of 2020. On social media people are sharing their resolutions and plans for the upcoming year. That’s all well and good…if you can keep to them. But most people don’t. By the third week to the end of January, the likeliness is that most people will become depressed because they’re failing to meet the lofty goals they’ve set for themselves. Why? Because most of the goals are unrealistic or too big to accomplish easily or in a short time period, which people need to stay motivated. Most people will give up on what they want when they realize it’s going to take time and work.
So, what’s the point? I don’t get it. I’ve set goals at the beginning of the year before. I’ve also set goals mid-year and random other arbitrary points on the calendar. I try to make changes in my life when I see the need for that change. The day, the time, the year doesn’t matter…and it shouldn’t. And that’s why I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions (and that’s completely a personal choice).
Making one point in the year so important people put weight on all the value of change causes undo pressure. And when they fail, the depression arrives. So…why not set goals at your speed, on your schedule? It’s healthier. Not everyone is ready to make big choices for their lives at the same time. Human existence, experience, and need doesn’t match those of other people. And therefore you shouldn’t feel pressured to make those choices and changes on a calendar schedule.
But if the calendar schedule and peer pressure, or just the excitement of the possibility of something fresh and new like New Year’s, spurs you to make changes, make your choices and decisions wisely.
What do I mean by wisely? I mean be smart about the size of your goals and what it will take to reach them. Break down your big goals into small goals.
For example: If you want to lose 50 lbs., don’t expect it to happen in one month by starving yourself or doing some kind of fad dieting. Make small plans for each month that ultimately lead up to all the changes necessary for you to lose the weight. The smaller, slower changes will actually help you change your lifestyle and give you a better chance of keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it (however long it takes to get there).
And guess what happens when you break big goals down into smaller goals? You reach them faster and don’t get depressed because you aren’t seeing any change. You’re making changes. You’re accomplishing something. You’re doing what you need to. You’re changing you and your life.
Another example: If you haven’t been able to write as much as you’d like, and your goal is to write a minimum of 100K for the year, don’t set some crazy unrealistic goal of finding 3 hours a day to write. You’ve been struggling to find time in your day to write at all, so jumping to some big lofty goal you know you can’t meet without major stress isn’t going to help you reach your end goal. Challenge yourself to 100 words a day. Or 500 words a week. Chances are, once you sit down to do those minimum goals, you’ll start writing more than 100 per day or 500 per week. Pretty soon, once you start finding where you can work writing into your schedule, you’ll start finding more time to write, and you’ll start flowing with more word count than you’d originally planned. And once you find those times, once you’re into the flow of your project, you’ll reach your big goal easier because you feel accomplished slaying the smaller ones and going above and beyond your own expectations.
Keeping up a positive attitude and momentum is the hardest part of any goal, no matter the size. And a positive attitude and momentum are the things that are going to get you to the change you want.
I hope all of you that have made New Year’s Resolutions have great success. And I hope my suggestion of managing your goals and expectations inspires you to look at your big goals in a manageable way that will help you get there happily.
Happy New Year!