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Take a Step Back to Put Your Best Foot Forward

Man Overlooking Mountain

Here are the two opinions you often see at the beginning of the year -

1. New Year’s provides an opportunity to reset. You can tap into the excitement and inspiration to pursue new goals.

2. New Year’s is an arbitrary, meaningless date. You can start new goals at any point.

Both opinions have merit and value. If you are encouraged to tackle your goals at the start of the new year, that’s fantastic. If you do not need a marker in the ground to tackle your pursuits, that’s great as well. Regardless of the philosophy which you find most appealing, there is one approach we can all benefit from. Utilizing time away to gain perspective about our goals and deciding how they will fit into our schedule is a key step many often miss.

Taking time to step back and look at the overall picture will allow you to assess how engaged you are with your goals, as well as, how those goals will fit into your schedule. Trying to prioritize your time or more difficult yet, find more of it, can be all but impossible while you’re in the middle of your day-to-day hustle. However, something special happens when you give yourself the time to let your thoughts, ideas, and emotions mature.

Setting Your Schedule

Show me your calendar and I’ll tell you your priorities. Your schedule is what you will do consistently over time. Not everyone has detailed daily entries that account for every hour of the day and that's not necessary for everyone. However, taking the time to map out the activities you have to complete, the time they take and the time you have is a crucial exercise. And doing so in an environment where there is no pressure to start right away allows the freedom to iterate and try multiple versions of what’s possible.

We tend to think we have more time than we do or that we will have more willpower and motivation in the future. That’s where a schedule is so valuable. Seeing the nuts and bolts of what we are planning to pursue can give us a realistic view or what we are signing up for.

Assessing Your Commitment

New goals are exciting. The idea of changing for the better is appealing and often provides us with instant gratification. The problem when goals only live in our minds is that they are detached from the work necessary to accomplish them. When there is a gap between the genesis of the goal and its execution, we have an opportunity to watch the initial excitement fade.

At that point, you can realize whether or not you are still engaged with the goal we have in mind. If the time has passed and you still feel connected with the results you want to accomplish and you are clear about the work that needs to get done in your schedule, you can use that as a measure that you are committed beyond just initial excitement.

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

New goals are often fun. Don’t misunderstand they are usually quite a bit of work as well. But, there is a reason when we all tend to pursue novelty. Learning a new skill or refining an old one can be a lot of fun especially when our approach is with a growth mindset. We are never going to be perfect, but if we measure our success in terms of the commitment to the practice and improvement over time, we are more likely to enjoy the journey.

There is a risk in focusing on the results and what we will feel like when we finally accomplish our goal. It’s a very seductive mindset because it’s where many of us derive our motivation. But, it is far more important to fall in love with the process. If you want to lose weight, fall in love with exercising. If you want to save more, fall in love with budgeting. Find the fun in what you’ll be doing every day, week, month to accomplish your goals and not just the pot of goal at the end of the rainbow.

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