“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You
First off, HOW ARE YOU, Neighbor? I’ve thought about you EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. during my absence from the virtual world(s) we live in.
It’s been a long time, far too long…since I last wrote. Oh, I’ve thought practically every day about putting my fingers to the keyboard for something other than note-taking and data entry…but I haven’t done it.
What have I done in those long months? Well…if I’m being honest…Life is what I’ve been doing. Seemingly a whole lot of nothing and a whole lot of lamenting and resenting myself for what I believed to be apparent apathy. In reality–I recently realized–I’ve been doing a whole lot of grieving, resting, struggling internally, and ruminating about what I need to do to heal some physical issues and to find solutions to a most trying ordeal I’ve been battling for some time now. And here goes. A divorce that I never in a million years thought I would undertake. That, Neighbor, is another conversation for yet another day, for today I want to talk about love and resolutions.
You see, I could have made Writing and You a New Years’ resolution, but I didn’t. Why, because as I already said, I thought about It and You EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Each night I went to bed, each morning I woke, and each time I realized I was chastising my “failures,” I kept moving with one underlying belief: Every minute/hour/day is a new start and opportunity to live my life to the fullest.
Some days that fullest looked like this: me sitting on the sofa watching Hallmark Holiday movies on a loop and playing endless rounds of Candy Crush and Words with Friends. Oh, yes, lest I not forget showering, dressing, eating, sleeping, peeing, and pooping. (Yes. She just said that.)
Some would say that if you love yourself enough, if you consider your dreams important enough, you will master the steps below.
1) Set goals
2) Create lists of how you can achieve those goals
3) Make action plans
4) Set said plans into motion, and then…
5) Stick to them.
Sounds pretty easy, right?
Yes, those steps are a necessary part of your personal growth, yet they aren’t always linear, and the details that comprise each are ultimately a unique tapestry for each individual.
For some, the mindset of beginning to build a Brand New Me with the dawning of a Brand New Year not only works, it propels us into the best and brightest version of ourselves. For others, New Years’ type resolutions may not be effective. What works best for me is to set many and/or mini resolutions throughout the year. And sometimes we find ourselves dissatisfied or stuck because our resolution goals and plans are not compatible with our Five Facets hierarchy, our needs, our underlying beliefs, or our lifestyles.
If you, Neighbor, on this 18th day of January, are feeling stuck or beating yourself up because you:
- Feel like a loser for not getting around to making a resolution
- Haven’t even begun to put your action plan into place
- Fizzled out after the first two weeks (or maybe the first two hours)
- Feel your enthusiasm waning
- Have realized you loathe each step of the new resolution journey you created…
I have fabulous news!
You are STILL a ROCK STAR.
You STILL deserve to be LOVED.
You STILL deserve to LOVE yourself.
You CAN STILL be SUCCESSFUL in your goals.
Your setbacks/struggles/grief may STILL exist, but they DO NOT DEFINE YOU.
That’s right, Neighbor! SUCCESS is STILL POSSIBLE. Below are three areas to help you determine how your resolution approach might be part of the problem, and a few love-based leads to help you get unstuck and moving again toward living your best personal, professional, and philanthropic life–the life you so totally deserve!
Does your resolution goal(s) or plan(s) need a little more love?
Maybe you spent months dreaming up a plan that was sure to take you to new heights or maybe you thought the exciting energy surrounding the trending new diet, exercise or self-help regimen sounded like the next best thing for you, too. Now, for whatever reason, your in-it-to-win-it spirit has turned into God-how-I-hate-this-I-just-might-puke-if…or a You-suck-you-quitter/loser/faker/despicable/[insert your whatever]-You.
Regardless of how you came to setting your resolution, it is obvious that this is more than a little slump; it is just not working for you. In fact, it could be all wrong for you. A few simple questions will help you isolate where the breakdown(s) might be and help you redirect.
- Why did you choose the resolution you did? Because YOU truly wanted it, because someone else wanted it for you (or vice versa), because it sounded good at the time, or [insert your whatever]?
- Why did you pick January 1/The Day as your date?
- What is not working? Scheduling? Interest? Cost? Atmosphere?
- What IS working?
- Again, what do you want to achieve? Does your goal address one objective or more? Focusing on one issue at a time has a greater chance for success.
Each of your decisions has a direct impact on your desired outcome, Neighbor. After my firstborn, Gavin, died from unexpected delivery complications, I quit smoking during my next pregnancy because I felt pressure from other people, my doctor, and the research that showed smoking during pregnancy was not good. Did I stay smoke-free? Not on your life. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get home so I could have a cigarette. Yes, I quit for good reasons, but not good enough reasons to make it a life-long habit. I wasn’t clear about my objective. I didn’t want to quit smoking; I wanted a healthy baby and kicking the habit increased those odds. It wasn’t until I decided I loved the idea of quitting because I didn’t like how nicotine was impacting my physical and social facets (not to mention my wallet) that I could achieve ongoing success.
Is your resolution approach sustainable within your Five Facets hierarchy?
Let’s say you want to lose weight and the current hype is all about The Electric Kick Your Ass in High Gear and Lose Weight Cardio Workout. In the ads, people are energized, healthy, and smiling, even as sweat glistens on their beautiful upper lips and their equally luscious, lithe muscles. This program clearly gives participants everything you desire! They are fit, happy, and sassy, so you decide to go all in, only to to discover the program is anything but those things for you. You are achy, perpetually exhausted, hate sweating, feel like a disheveled mess, and you dread each minute leading up to and during every workout. Before you know it, that love-at-first-sight feeling has flitted away, you have labeled yourself a failure and now you are feeling worse than you did before you began the process of trying to feel better. What you cannot see in those images are the scowl-faced and fading enthusiasts whom the cameraman has conveniently left out, nor can you see each person’s Five Facets hierarchy.
If your Physical Facet is at the bottom of your hierarchy, Neighbor, the chances that such an intense and rigorous program will be sustainable for you is slim, unless it fosters the needs of another Facet(s) at or near the top of your hierarchy and it fits into your overall lifestyle. People often think they are joining gyms or programs for their platforms, when in reality what they are really seeking are social connections. Understanding your objectives, as mentioned above, will help you evaluate your current state and status. Additionally, here are a few questions to help you determine if what you are doing is in alignment with your Five Facets make-up.
- Are you adequately prepared for your established plan? Annual physical? Sufficient, quality sleep? Well hydrated? Good nutrition? Sound mental health state? Solid knowledge base? Financial and material resources? Support system? Turning any ‘No’s’ into ‘Yes’s is a key part of your current assessment and future success.
- Are you familiar with your Five Facets hierarchy?
- Are you clear about which Facet you intend(ed) to heal?
- On a scale of 1-10 (1 being lowest, 10 highest), how important is this goal to your overall Five Facets wellness?
- Is the expected output (time, energy, money…) greater than the projected gains (conflict resolution, fulfillment)?
Is your resolution approach viable within your limitations, likes, and lifestyle?
I have a friend whose Physical Facet is at the top of her Facets hierarchy. A marathon runner, she discovered that this type of physical activity not only keeps her feeling fit, it helps her release emotional tension and problem solve some of her greatest challenges, be they personal, work or home related. What she also learned about her needs is that running inside or on a treadmill is dissatisfying, so she equipped herself with everything needed to run outdoors as much as possible, even in the cold, northeast winters.
Understanding what life elements drive you forward and those that drag you down is crucial to your long-term success. Here are a few questions to help you assess overall sustainability.
- Is your resolution plan adding stress in other areas? Wellness? Financial? Family? [Insert your whatever]
- Are there financial, time, physical, [insert your whatever] limitations you had not factored in?
- At the end of the day, do you love the methods you are using to reach your goals?
- Do you have a good support system in place?
- How can you modify your plan to make your goals more attainable?
One thing I know for sure, Neighbor, is that awareness is more than half the battle. Answering these questions and any of your own will provide the insight you need to re-evaluate and revamp your resolutions regimen so that it better suits and supports success across all of your Five Facets needs.
Neighbors supporting Neighbors is what we’re all about, so please share your struggles and successes in a comment below. You never know how your story might give another person what He/She needs to keep going.
Until next time, Neighbor, keep on keepin’ on.
Yours in hope, healing, and happiness,
Annah Elizabeth xo