by Madeleine Arnold
Happy 2017 to you very distinguished people! I hope your year is off to a fabulous start! Signs of the new year seem to be everywhere! For me, some include a miraculous newfound motivation I thought was long lost over Christmas break, new classes, lots of scribbled out 2016s, and a super crowded gym!! One of the reasons I love the new year is because it gives me a chance for a fresh start. I always seem to begin all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with the optimism of achieving new goals and reaching new heights. It’s wonderful! But that optimism can all too easily become frustration when I fail to stick to my resolutions (that I swore this year I would actually keep). At least that’s how it tends to go for me. Maybe you can relate? Hopefully your goals are already set and written, but if you need help with this, go check out some of my amazing DYW sisters’ recent blog posts. They can totally help you out! But since we’re now well into January, I’m here to talk about sticking to your resolutions.
If you know me, you know I am an AVID list-maker, so naturally, I made a list. These are the things I’m doing to stick to my resolutions this year! I’m far from perfect in this, but definitely making progress. That’s what it’s all about (see number 6)!!!!
- First, EVALUATE your goals. Are they realistic and within your control? Are they simple, yet specific? Are you setting yourself up to be challenged, but still successful? Good goals are within reach, but not without a bit of stretching.
- Be able to ADAPT. As you know, things don’t always go as planned, so be willing to make some adjustments along the way. It is possible to be firm and determined without being rigid and unreasonable.
- BE DELIBERATE. Every choice matters. At one point in the very famous book Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Alice comes to a fork in the road. She wonders which way to go and decides to inquire of the Cheshire Cat. “Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, ‘What road do I take?’ The cat asked, ‘Where do you want to go?’ ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it really doesn’t matter, does it?’” Unlike Alice, we know where we want to go, so it does matter what choices we make. Decide where you want to be, then recognize that every step you take is either getting you closer to or further from where you want to be.
- Realize that MOTIVATION OFTEN FOLLOWS ACTION. In a workshop during Utah’s DYW state week for the class of 2017, a wonderful speaker taught this principle, and it really stuck with me. Don’t wait to do your homework or organize your room or start exercising when you feel motivated. If I waited until I felt motivated to study for chemistry, I would probably never study. Just do it! Results and (eventually) motivation will follow.
- Recognize that IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE JANUARY 1st OR MONDAY to commit. The best time is NOW.
- Last, but certainly not least, please remember that it’s all about PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION. That is a lesson I have learned over and over again— in fact it’s one I’m still learning. This became especially important for me to recognize as I participated in the DYW program, because as much as I tried, it just wasn’t possible to give the “perfect” interview or perform my talent “perfectly.” But what I could do was improve. That is one of the primary messages of the Be Your Best Self program. We strive for progress in the right direction so that we can constantly be evolving into a better version of ourselves. Remember that progress is the ultimate goal here.
There you have it! You and I both know quite well that these things are much easier read/said than done, but you can do it! I believe in you! And when you miss a day working out or you just slip up, remember that it is okay. Forming good habits and making good changes are not like flipping a switch, so just keep trekking. You’re ABSOLUTELY doing better than you think!
Here’s to you & 2017 and a whole lot of work, change, learning, growth, and happiness for you both!
Lot’s of love,