Are you ready to welcome in 2019 with open arms? Michael and I have created a New Years tradition over the last 2 years that will help you do just that! I want to share it with you in case you’re tired of the typical New Year’s Resolutions that, while perhaps made with good intentions, rarely stick! Ours is a 4 step process that actually works, and doing it together helps keep us accountable. If you don’t have a significant other, you can also do this with a friend or family member!
Step 1 - We start by reflecting on the past year (you can also do this quarterly, which we are planning to do this year). What were our biggest lessons? What were our biggest challenges? What experiences are we most grateful for? What might we do differently given what we know now? We take stock of where we started, and where we are now. This is important, because it gives some perspective on how far we’ve come, and roots us in the lessons that will help us as we move forward.
Step 2 - Next we take turns setting intentions & goals in 5 areas of our lives: Personal, Professional, Relationship, Family & Community. We get specific with each goal or intention by asking three questions: 1) How would you know if that intention was being fulfilled? 2) What actions can you take that will lead to that result? 3) Can you realistically take those actions? (I’m all for thinking big, while also setting myself up for wins).
So for example, I have a tendency to be serious, and have a fondness for control, so one of my personal intentions is to “loosen up.” That is kind of vague, but with the first two questions I was able to get more specific. I would know I was loosening up if I was laughing a lot, delegating more in my business, not panicking every time I watch Michael do the dishes, and my posts and videos got funnier (give me time...).
When I asked myself what my biggest obstruction to loosening up is, it was obvious. I spend a lot of time in my head thinking, and analyzing. Last I checked, analysis isn’t terribly funny. It’s also an easy way to get stuck thinking about worst-case-scenarios in my business, which usually leads to me doing everything myself rather than risking hiring someone. As I learned over the last year, that’s not scalable or sustainable, and it generally sucks.
So what’s the quickest way out of my head? Easy. Getting into my body. Dancing (the sillier and more terrible the dancing, the better), stretching & singing are incredibly effective means for getting me out of analysis mode. Stretching loosens me up quite literally, and I feel like that probably has some kind of carry-over effect. All of these actions are tangible, measurable and clear. I now know what to do to fulfill that intention, and it’s definitely realistic as long as I do steps 3 & 4.
Step 3 - After every intention is laid out and clear, we take out our calendars and start putting in reminders. A daily reminder to dance as badly as possible for 3 minutes, a weekly date night for Michael & me, deadlines for work projects and dates for major milestones...we get it ALL into our calendars.
Of course things happen, and a few things will inevitably get shuffled around at some point. It’s still better to lay everything out from the beginning and adjust as needed. Otherwise time flies by, and before we know it our 2 month goal turns into a 2 year goal. Scheduling it gives us a better shot of getting it done.
Step 4 - Monthly check-ins. The first of every month we have a calendar reminder to go back to our intentions and take stock of how we’re doing. At that point we can see what actions are working and actually leading us toward our goal, and which ones aren’t. This monthly check-in is critical, because it’s very easy to forget what we said we intended for the year in the first place. It also gives us an opportunity to ask how we can support each other in honoring our commitments, or help the other person get something done. It allows both of us to feel connected, supported and loved, and it’s something I really look forward to!
We also do shorter, more informal weekly check-ins on Sunday evenings to take stock of the past week, and let each other know what we want to accomplish in the next week. This is, again, so we can support each other, but also keep us in the loop on what the other person has on their plate. It’s much easier to feel like you’re truly on a team when you know what your teammate is up to!
Even though New Years Day has passed, it’s never too late to start this practice. Bringing this heightened level of intentionality to my life has made everything better, and I hope it will do the same for you!
Happy New Year!