I’ve been thinking recently what a strange month January is. As it’s the New Year, many of us feel called to start something afresh – we arm ourselves with New Year Resolutions and good intentions for the coming year. These often start off well, and some even make it through to completion (or at least February!). Yet it also seems to me that in other ways January is the worst month possible to begin new ventures. It’s dark, cold and often wet. The natural instinct is to hibernate, rather than be adventurous.
I’ve written before on how progress doesn’t have to be linear, but can come in many shapes (see January 2014’s blog). However, if you’re wanting to see linear progress, I suggest the following :
1. Be clear on what you’re trying to do (something vague like “be happier” might lead you into some interesting avenues, but you’re more likely to see some tangible progress if you’re specific).
2. If you’d like to, set yourself a realistic but stretching goal, which is measureable and with a date attached. You might need smaller milestones along the way.
3. Be prepared to alter both these to some extent, if you find you’ve set yourself something impossible! There’s no point in feeling guilty, or like you’ve failed.
4. Be clear on your motivation – why are you doing this? What are the benefits?
5. Expect it to be difficult at times – if was easy you’d have done it before now.
6. Encourage and reward yourself along the way, as you reach your smaller targets.
7. Get some support (tell someone else who can encourage you when things get hard).
The other possibility is to accept yourself for who you are now, and not have a new year resolution. When you think about it, each day, each hour and even each minute is a chance to start something afresh, isn’t it?
However you approach 2015, I hope it’s rewarding for you.