Goals vs. Resolutions, part 1

I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. They always come with so much pressure, like you’re a failure if you don’t stick to them and can’t make changes if it’s not a resolution. FALSE! I’m a big fan of setting goals – they can have any timeline you need– they aren’t limited to 12 months. I’ve recently been working my way through Lara Casey’s Making Things Happen: 2013 Goal Setting .

This is a 10-step process for getting really honest with yourself and setting realistic goals to actually Make Things Happen in your life. She’s gotten me so excited to complete the process and really start DOING! Her philosophy actually is the final push I needed to start HarperHadley.

Like so many others, I attempt to start every year with the intention of improving two or three aspects of my life, yet inevitably only last for a few months. After an intense year of wedding planning last year (fun, but intense!), I decided that this year needs to be simplified and different! We have so many wonderful things happening, but I also realized that there is a lot of clutter and things I don’t need. With combining houses, limited space and wishes and dreams for OUR future, things just can get down right overwhelming. That’s when I stumbled across Lara’s blog – almost as if it just popped up for me to find when I needed clarity most.

I have to admit, being honest with yourself can be hard. Even so, it’s invaluable in order to LEARN from what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past. If we don’t learn from our mistakes, what’s the point in making them? Learning and improving is an essential part of being human.

Grab a cup of coffee, tea or whatever you prefer, because I’m going to walk you through the steps from my perspective. This may take a while… BTW- even though it’s the end of January, it’s never too late to start!

PHASE ONE- Reflection

Step 1: Gratitude in 2012

With such an eventful year last year, listing things to be thankful for that worked in my life was sure to be simple. It was a bit more difficult than I thought. It was humbling and encouraging to go back through emails, pictures and memories of all the wonderful blessings that the past year has afforded our family and myself. I realized that I don’t focus on the good as much as the “bad”, though. Some of what I listed, I had to really search for and reflect upon. Some were so small that I didn’t think of them being accomplishments, but they are! Silly things like getting AJP to learn the flash mob dance at our wedding, finally going to the State Fair after 4 years, talking to my mom more often – all things that don’t seem huge, but are absolutely things that worked!

Step 2: What didn’t work in 2012?

This step was a bit easier for me. I’ve gotten pretty good at beating myself up over the years. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and like things my way. This can make me focus on the “unfortunate” more than the good. That is, in fact, one of the biggest things that didn’t work! I’m not perfect, no one is, and the sooner I learn that and accept it, the happier I will be.  I’m not the most patient person, which can drive everyone crazy! I am more of a go get it NOW kind of person and not everything can be done now. I also can be a better listener. I find it difficult to relax and slow down. I always seem to be busy with something, which can be good, but it’s just getting ridiculous. It makes no sense to constantly be doing and not enjoying time with people I love. Doing is a wonderful thing, but not at the expense of relationships that matter most.

If you choose to go through this process, try not to be over critical, it’s not supposed to be a “Negative Nancy Party”, just an eye-opener to help you be honest and set attainable and fulfilling goals in the end.

Step 3: What fires you up?

This has been my favorite step so far!! You get to make a list of everything that makes you happy, passionate and excited about life. What’s better than that?

A few things on my list: organizing, fresh flowers on the counter, God, sweet messages from my family and friends, hugs, productive days, pretty details, helping others, crossword time with AJP, skype dates, antiquing (finding hidden gems- more on this later!), and so much more!

The second fun part of this step is to create a pinterest board to get visual about what lights your heart. Since I’m a very visual person, this was so fun to put together! Be careful though, it is addicting, like any other pinterest session. Though, that’s the most exciting part – continual encouragement, inspiration and crescendo to launch you into this journey of self-discovery!! Take a look at mine here.

Keep in mind that this is an organic process. You aren’t locked into just what you list now. These lists should continue changing and evolving as you complete the process and throughout the year. I continually change and update mine. If this isn’t something you see yourself doing, that’s ok. I do encourage you to set one goal at a time, big or small, if that is more manageable. I’ve already learned a lot about myself, as well as had a lot of great conversations with AJP and others as a result.

Next week I’ll share my notes and thoughts on Phase 2. Until then, enjoy the journey my friends. Self-discovery is a wonderful thing!



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