The messages are everywhere on TV, the internet, magazines and in the news.. “New year new you” “Set your goals” “Get fit, lose weight!” They gyms are packed at the start of January. With such urgency we are shuffled into the new year and many feel the heaviness of all the changes society expects from us (or we expect from ourselves.) I’ve heard from many family members and friends who jump started their diet January 2nd. Many are set on a “dry January” and are giving up alcohol for the month. Others are devoted to giving up sugar or cutting carbs.
Can we just step back for a minute? Take a pause? (as I take a bite of my chocolate frosted brownie? ) We are all just transitioning from the holiday season where it is a hectic time with many expectations and not a lot of relaxation in the month of December. A lot of us are adjusting back from days off to work which is always a challenge.
Why is it so urgent? I prefer to ease into the new year and take my time with any goals I set. I like to give myself space to reflect on what went well last year, lessons learned and what do I want to work on this year (without overloading myself). And if you don’t want to set any goals? Cool! I think there is so much pressure to improve ourselves that it can be too much. Maybe taking some time off from goal setting or creating a pause for yourself is what you need this year.
Make this year about doing what’s important for you and aligns with your values. Take your time with any goals you want to set (I don’t call them resolutions since those tend to not be followed, goals can be written any time of year and rewritten as needed). It could be the year for you to set less goals and keep them more focused in the direction you want to go. Give yourself permission to find your way in your timeline. Set yourself some time in your calendar to re evaluate a goal you set and either update it if needed or ditch it for another one if after some time its not working.
Goal setting should not be so rigid and more flexibility is required in order for us to get where we want to be. Rigidity in thinking is what I see a lot of in clients they see. Often they see things in black and white which causes a lot of anxiety when things don’t go as planned. Or they get off track one day and they give up the goal altogether.
Another thing is don’t let anyone pressure you with their goals and what is important for you. Find the strength stand up for who you are and what you want most for yourself. Release others expectations of yourself including society’s. What would that feel like to truly embrace what you want for yourself? Quiet the messages from everyone else for just a moment.
Flexibility and pausing could be waiting to set any goals. What would that feel like to wait until February to set any goals ? I’m guessing a bit less stressful. It might give you a bit more perspective. It might mean setting different goals than if you rushed to start your goals January 1st.
Sure, many of us want to improve ourselves and work on something. But taking a pause to really reflect and giving yourself time to be thoughtful in your approach to your goal is a gift you can give to yourself. Its a more gentle and compassionate approach towards yourself. It sends the message to yourself that you matter. Because you do.
What about you? How are you feeling at the start of a new year? Do you want to set goals for yourself and just throw in the towel? Post in the comments, I would love to hear from you.