As we transition into the New Year, we enter the common talk about resolutions and goal setting. As with our holiday season, this talk of setting New Year’s resolutions, making massive changes, and becoming better versions of ourselves can cause anxiety and set us up for failure before we get started.
If you are anything like me, then you have set goals to lose weight, write a best-selling novel, land a better-paying job, find the partner of your dreams, and organize all your closets as New Year’s resolutions at some point. And if you are anything like me, you then proceeded to fail at achieving your resolutions.
What makes resolutions so difficult is that we do not always have our tools prepared for the journey of self-transformation. We want to achieve our goals. We are excited about the possibilities of realizing new versions of ourselves. But we do not necessarily prepare as well as we need to achieve those goals.
So, are there steps that we could take to achieve the goals we set for a new year? Is there any hope for creating more polished versions of ourselves as we drive into the sunset of tomorrow? Absolutely. If we pack our bags before we set out on our journeys, we are more likely to reach our destinations, and we can use mindfulness techniques to achieve our personal goals.
Reflections on the Year
Before I get ready for a trip, I take inventory of what I already have. I take stock on where I am presently and focus on the now before filling a backpack with the things I assume I might need. We can do the same thing with our goal setting as we journal for mindfulness.
Take stock of where you are now by reflecting back over the past year. Choose three of the following questions to guide your reflection over the last year. Try to include as much depth and detail as you can. The better we do at taking stock of our past year, the better prepared we are to move into the New Year with a clear sense of self while being mindful of our needs.
In the last year:
Slowing Down for Self-Care
One of the reasons that people fail to meet their goals, include goals in writing, creativity, reading, and learning, is because they race into the new year without being thoughtful. If we slow ourselves down, focus on the present moment, and set our goals and plans with mindfulness, we are more likely to reach those goals.
If you have used the journaling questions above to reflect back on the past year, then you are now ready to evaluate the present.
Take a look at what is happening with your life right now and what areas you might like to work on. Again, I included guiding questions to help you evaluate where you are. Try to stay in the present tense, think about what is going on right now, and avoid the temptation to look into the past for old details or glance into the future for new possibilities. Just focus on the now as much as possible.
Choose three questions to journal on; include as much depth and detail as you can on each question
In your current situation:
When we look at where we are in the present moment, we force time to slow down. We create a bubble around the personal universe that stops the hustle and bustle of the workaday world and lets us breathe long enough to take a close look at where we are right now.
If you have completed both of the journaling activities so far, then you have looked back over the last year to reflect on what you worked on last year, then you took time to evaluate where you are in the present. This process does not have to be done in one setting.
Some people might like to look at the past and the present in an afternoon spent at the café with a cup of tea and a writing journal. And others may want to break up the process into multiple sessions, so that reflecting on the past is done on one day and evaluating the present in another day. Whatever works best for you is what works best.
Setting Goals and Planning with Mindfulness
Now that we have looked at where we came from and where we are now, we should look into where we are headed. Finally, it is time to start packing for the upcoming trip. Just like when we prepare to travel, we follow a logical order of procedures. By doing this, we control the process of setting goals and are more likely to meet our aspirations.
We have looked back and looked at the present, now look to the future. As before, I include a list of guiding questions to help you journal about goal setting for the upcoming year. Try to respond to three of the questions and include as much depth and detail as possible.
In the coming year:
Your journal now contains a thorough reflection of where you came from, where you are, and where you are going. This is a great time to set goals for the upcoming year. Now that you have looked at your process from a distance, you have more detailed information on how to set those goals in a way that you are more likely to achieve them. The foundation is laid. You are ready for your journey.
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