I, just like everyone else I know, and just like billions of others on the planet – have been a resolution setter in each new year. There have been a litany of Lose Weights. An onslaught of Exercise Mores. And a plethora of Pithy Promises to myself. Some years, things turned out and I “succeeded.” Other years, I forgot what the resolution was a week after I committed. Don’t judge — I know I’m not unique. We are a world of half-assers and next-best-thingers.
Tiring of resolutions without plans (and tiring of life in general), I vowed to do something different last year (January 2011). Last year was going to be more about actionable, measurable goals and less about dreams and wishes. It was also going to be more of a group-oriented, family exercise as opposed to a solo mission that I embarked on by myself. For the first year ever, the four of us sat down as a family and talked about what we wanted to achieve in the coming year. We talked about goals, we talked about dreams, and we were honest about things that needed improvement. I still remember how I was feeling at the end of 2010 — overweight, disconnected from my husband, disheartened about the progression of my business, and unhappy with the division of labor at home. I was feeling frustrated and like a failure and I knew I needed to really reign that in and turn that energy around if I wanted things to be different in 2011. Bob and I agreed to bring our kids in on the exercise; not because we think they are in dire need of improvement, but because we think it is critically important to teach this generation the skills of goal-setting, visioning, and setting up an actionable, measurable plan of attack in a go-go-go world where Google is both a noun and a verb.
So, we did something really kooky — we took a technology break and spent a day talking. We talked about academics and athletics, coaching and championships, business and bicycles. We talked about where we were vs. where we wanted to be and the steps we could take to get there. We talked about family goals and individual goals. We celebrated things that were currently making us happy and lamented about things that were not. I would be lying if I told you that this exercise went 100% smoothly; it did not. The kids were initially not interested, then spent a lot of the day answering our questions with “I don’t knows” and “I don’t cares” and “When can we be done with this?” Bobby and I bickered a little. I cried. But, it was an exercise in accountability, and accountability can be really, really painful stuff. So, we persevered. And, in the end, we all had a plan of attack for how we wanted our own personal 2011s to take shape. I then volunteered to type everything up and leave our goals in places where we could all see them. I left the girls’ copies in their rooms, Bob’s next to his spot on the couch, and mine in my day-planner. I also kept a copy of everyones on file.
As I was going through some paperwork this morning, I came across the pristine file copies of the goals and couldn’t help but look them over. Bobby and the girls are not here, so I am able to spend some quiet time reflecting. At initial glance, we had some monumental wins. We also had some losses. We had some did-not-achieves. We had some weren’t-actually-that-importants. And, my husband and I, in particular, had our own staggering losses (in girth) that were complete and total wins!
Goals and dreams are really personal things, and I don’t think it would be fair for me to comment on how my husband or each of my daughters fared in their collective missions. I will wait until they get home and then ask them what they think. They can then think about it as both a framework and a launching pad for how they will approach 2012. However, in reviewing mine, quite a few things come to mind:
The first thing I noticed was that my word for 2011 was going to be “discipline.” You can see it right there in BIG BOLD letters at the tippety top of my list. How do I feel about that? Hmmm. I have to explore this more, but I know that I focused my discipline on some areas much more than others. Is that good? Is that bad? I don’t know yet. I don’t think discipline is an inherent gift, I think it takes practice and dedication. What I do know is that I am still working towards it and making strides to get better each day.
You will also notice that my first priority on my goals sheet was my Nu Skin business. In my head, I saw massive escalation, forward progression, and tons of income in my pocket. I have all of the gifts — a desire to help people, an amazing company, unparalleled products, incredible market trends and support from Wall Street and all the big players — I just needed to execute and be, you guessed it, DISCIPLINED! In reality, what I had was a year of ups and downs, fits and starts of momentum, and confidence highs and confidence lows. I fell short of my goal to be an “Emerald Executive” (a term that means nothing unless you are in the business) who was making $75,000+ a year. The reason for that wasn’t the company, it wasn’t the comp plan, it wasn’t the products. It was what was going on between my own two ears. I started out 2011 thinking I was going to be a direct sales rock star, but in all honesty, I needed to work on myself a lot first. I own my results in this one and I am not looking at it as failure. I am looking at it as growth. I am looking at it as an item that should never have been at the TOP of 2011’s list, an item that will definitely remain on 2012’s list, and an item I WILL master! I will achieve success by helping others to achieve success. I will operate with integrity. I will continue to grow and learn and stretch. I will continue to aspire towards discipline and leadership. And, in doing all of that, I will get to the top one of these days.
One of the things I am MASSIVELY proud of is that I did reach my goal of losing 40 pounds by the time I turned 40. I set this goal in January and did absolutely NOTHING about it until July 1. Sure, I thought about it. Sure, I was unhappy with my weight for the 1st six months of the year. But, just not unhappy enough about it to make it a priority. But, I hit my breaking point, found a structured program focused on whole food and nutrition that my husband and I could follow, and then took the plunge. It was the best thing I ever did for myself and has enhanced my life in ways I never even gave much thought. One of the things I can commend myself on is that I had a deadline, a plan, and a purpose. Those three things, combined with accountability, helped me to achieve my goal. I did not need a gym membership, a personal trainer, or a nutritionist — I had a program outline and I set my own goals and pushed myself harder and harder. And, mainly, I was accountable on all levels. Accountability breeds success. And, through this journey, I have come to believe unequivocally that if you are using food as a comfort device or as the source of your enjoyment and happiness, you will never, ever reach your goals of better health and wellness. Please keep that in mind as you set your own goals for 2012.
Sure, I could focus on the “negative” if I allowed myself and I could beat myself up over the things that didn’t get done or escaped my focus. But, what good would that accomplish (besides none)? Sometimes, goals don’t get reached because they aren’t meant to at that specific moment in time. I accomplished many, many things that will certainly help get me closer to my goals, and I truly believe that it is imperative to celebrate the little things as much as possible because they turn into big things. Here are some small things I had the opportunity to celebrate in 2011:
Business and Technology Wins —
- Dedicating a home office space
- Ditching the PC and upgrading to a Mac
- Launching the Self Esteem Through Art program locally
- Implementing the use of Google calendar + iCal
- Attending Jack Canfield’s monthly coaching
Personal Development Wins —
- I read multiple books geared towards personal development
- I took charge of my health
- I have become less of a talker and more of a listener
- I have distanced myself from toxic people and eliminated a lot of drama from my life
- I have cleared my house of ample clutter and donated to multiple charities in the process
- I have partnered with local food pantries to help end hunger in MA
Winning By Letting Go —
- I decided to let my athletic training certification go. I have not been actively using it for years and it was often a source of personal and financial stress to keep the certification active. Removing that stressor from my life lets me focus on my current priorities.
Critics might say I failed in many aspects of my life, but in a year of losses and challenges, I am really incredibly happy with who I have become and that is the biggest win of all! Looking back, one of the things I did in my ambitious state of mind last year was set too many goals. I had almost 2 pages of things I would do better, be better at, etc. I am paring down this year. I still love the idea of the yearly word, so I will reinstate that. But, I am going to structure my list differently in that I will separate it into areas (personal, business, home, and volunteer, for example) and then pick one or two goals in those areas with measurement criteria for success.
I’m curious to know from my readers: do you make resolutions/set yearly goals? Is it a solo exercise or a family exercise? Do you celebrate success along the way? Do you set goals based on what you think you “should” do as opposed to aligning them with your core values and beliefs? Do you take a no-excuses-I-accept-100%-of-the-accountability approach? Or are you a blamer when things don’t turn out as envisioned? How do you think you can do things differently in 2012 to live the life you desire?
One final piece of advice before I sign off for the day: don’t lose sight of what you want in the future by getting distracted from the things you want today. Think about it…