I came across this quote and wrote it on one of my infamous index cards. (It's kind of fitting as we set goals for the New Year.)
"Focusing on the positive and expressing gratitude is an integral part of being happy."
- Daniel Levine
The days following the New Year's Holiday are like a balloon that gets popped. Literally. Suddenly all the treats are off limits, you have to go back to work, take down Christmas decorations and even do some dreaded returns. The whole world goes on a diet and you bitterly get sucked in to all of it. You end up creating big ambitions for yourself this year, whether you want to or not.
The goals I hear most often are: lose weight, quit smoking, and get out of debt. Then, there are some personal ones that most people don't advertise. Quit drinking (or control my drinking), get closer to God, or put my family first (just to name a few.) These are all great goals, but why do we wait until January 1 to be empowered enough to carry them out, and why do we only go public with some of them?
It is a well known fact that there is a much greater chance of success in achieving goals, if you have accountability. If we join forces with someone else going through the same thing, our chances for success are greatly improved. They're even greater if you partner with God as well.
The simple truth is, we are not meant to do anything in our own power. So, why do we keep trying? I could totally bore with you about eight years of journal entries from January one's with my lofty goals of quitting drinking, losing weight, blah blah blah. I was going to do this all simply because I said so. I didn't have a plan and I wasn't addressing any of the deeper issues that were causing all these problems in the first place.
The other pattern was, it all was so secretive. I was positive there wasn't anyone else drinking like I was. As it became clearer and clearer that this problem was my own, I felt more isolated in it than ever. It wasn't until I walked into a support meeting that I realized I was not that special (shocker.) Thus the whole accountability and partnering up with someone else to achieve your goal thing really does work.
I recently came across this list from the site, “The Power of Positivity.” It really got me thinking. Read it through and see what comes to mind for you.
Ten Things to Let Go of to Be Happy:
Let go of toxic people in your life.
Let go of regretting past mistakes.
Let go of the need to be right.
Let go of feeling sorry for yourself.
Let go of negative self talk.
Let go of the need to impress others.
Let go of limiting beliefs.
Let go of the need to please everyone.
Let go of gossip and complaining.
Let go of worrying about the future.
I could certainly give you a few examples of what came to mind when I read this list. My first thought was, "What if if this list became my 2017 goals?" What if I needed to let go of some of these self imposed expectations I keep putting on myself instead of what I THOUGHT I needed to do to better myself in 2017? Letting go instead of giving up.
For example, if your problem is drinking, would letting go of those toxic people help you in that goal? I am guessing those toxic people are also your drinking buddies.
What about negative self talk and feeling sorry for yourself? You know that dialogue in your brain that says, “I will never lose weight, I suck, I am so fat why would anyone love me.” Sorry, but that work has to start with you.
When you let go of that negativity and tell yourself the beautiful truths about you, it is a great start to loving yourself. If you honestly can’t come up with any, (bet I could if you asked) you always have an absolute truth: “God loves me and I know he doesn't make mistakes.”
Those are just a few examples, but I would challenge you to take your goal and see which one of these ten things could help it along.
For the new year, I am taking this list and writing out something I need to work on that relates to each and every one of them. I advise you to try it. I was astounded at what I came up with. It looks nothing like my previous New Years' resolutions. They were literally a bunch of rules, not goals.
It's no wonder I did not carry them out; following rules is not my strongest trait. Then, I would like to encourage you to take out that list often and see how you are doing with it. I hope to have some insight to share with you as to how my year is going, according to this list, throughout 2017.
Below is the verse at the top of the page from last year called Goals 2016. This is the only part I am willing to share. The rest is a little embarrassing. While I did meet a few of them, most of them were a total fail (less shopping and sugar.) But this verse is empowering, so the Goal for 2017 page in my journal will start again with this verse, that list of ten things I mentioned before, and what I am going to work on to carry out each one of them.
"So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others.
With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books." - 2 Peter 1: 5-7
So often our News Years' Goals are dead in the water by February, so I want to keep talking about this. Also, I usually do a word for the year. I am still narrowing it down for the 2017 word, so stay tuned for that next week.
In the meantime, Happy New Year to you and your family. I pray for God's richest blessings for all of us, for your family, and for our nation. Make your goals and ambitions bigger than ever this year. Think about how those goals can embrace and empower those around you. As I always say, "It starts with you." Do the work and all the rest will fall into place.
That whole surrender thing works pretty well too.