Then again, truth be told, nothing really starts anew on January 1st, but we can use this date as a buoy that we sail past while we put old, unrealized goals behind us and plot out new directions for the coming year.
In 2015, you may have found yourself going off course – perhaps life sent a gentle gust your way to test your ability to navigate and stay strong and steady, or maybe it was a larger storm that caused you to land somewhere completely foreign and disorienting, leaving you with the challenge of figuring out how to get back on track OR in the position to pick a new journey instead. Whatever occurred in your 2015, January 1, 2016 can be the perfect day to take a breath, review your maps and plot a brand new course for the New Year.
While considering all of this, my best advice is to be real with yourself while you set goals. I tell this to all my patients, particularly those that are hoping to become pregnant in the coming year. Be careful about setting goals that are too lofty; hitting a bar set way too high can be overwhelming and lead to disappointment.
Conversely, if you set your sights on an attainable horizon, you have a much better shot at staying on board with your goals. Here are three simple ways to do just that:
Pick SMART goals:
SMART stands for Strategic, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. (Or that “T” can also stand for “Tangible.”) A one-year vision plan can be built on a series of accessible goals laid out in a clear timeframe. Perhaps you have a handful of goals that work well together; you can decide to get them all done is say, one month’s time. Or maybe you’d prefer to go at it one goal at a time, with the next level happening as soon as you reach each milestone.
Keep in mind goals don’t have to be lofty. For example, if your focus for the year is to get pregnant, but first you’d like to lose weight for improved health and better results first then you might start simply by clearing your fridge and pantry of unhealthy foods. Next, your goal could be to restock with fruits, vegetables and other satisfying, health-conscious fare. As your diet is improved, you can add in a 15-minute daily walk, then a 30-minute light workout, and so on. All of these goals are SMART and easy to stay on track with as you move toward a healthier you.
Share your plans with family, friends or coworkers
Accountability is key in the quest to meet deadlines or goals. And it’s even MORE effective when those holding you accountable are part of your trusted circle of intimate family and friends. A Harvard study on happiness suggests that successful relationships are a core component for those who are most content with their lot in life, above and beyond fame and riches. This then suggests that collaboration with others you trust to meet your goals can bolster your mood. And of course a positive, can-do attitude makes it much more likely that you will reach your goals. Moreover you’ll be happier when you get there since you shared the ride. Remember – life is really about the journey and not the destination.
Don’t make resolutions, choose words instead
I am always making goals and setting deadlines in order to improve things in my life (my business, ongoing education, relationships, etc.) In the past, New Years was just a day to codify them. Three years ago, a friend suggested that I pick three theme words for the New Year. I found this to be a fun and much more effective way to accomplish my goals versus making resolutions that usually would fall by the wayside almost as soon as I made them.
Here’s how the “3 Words” exercise works: Think about what you want to do, feel or be in 2018, and then choose three words that are both actionable and have meaning to you. Make these words a part of your daily routine for the coming year. For example, you can use them in morning meditation or write them down and post them on your mirror to recite every morning or evening. Use them as passwords, and uncheck the box that says “save passwords” so you have to type them in every single day. These words should help you meet your goals, or at the very least make you smile and brighten your day. They also may take on new meanings as you ponder them and as the year progresses and you have new experiences.
The bottom line is that the three words exercise can help you with a trio of little North Stars to guide your intention and ultimately, sail on to success in 2018. (For more on the three words exercise, check out Chris Brogan’s blog – he is the original source for this very effective New Year’s practice.
On that note, I have three words for you: Happy New Year!
I look forward to helping you set and realize your fertility and health goals in 2018.
Together We’ll Find A Way
To learn more about creating a path to success, please contact the West Coast Women’s Reproductive Center.