Firstly, I would just like to express my best wishes for the new year to everyone reading this and I hope you had a chance to relax and catch-up with friends and loved ones during the holidays.
For many, 2020 proved to be a challenging and difficult year that tested the limits of our coping abilities through much uncertainty. We may have felt like there were many things outside of our control (and many were) and that the more pressure that was applied, the harder it was to actually deal with. Consequently, there were more than likely many waiting for the clock to strike 12am on Jan 1st, 2021 to provide some symbolic relief from the troubles of the previous year.
We may have also decided to make some resolutions for the new year, plans of action or simply just hope that the menu for 2021 is more appetizing than what was served up in 2020. So now that we are almost a week into 2021, how do we make these plans come to fruition?
Alright, So You Have Made Some Resolutions Or Some Plans...
The best thing we can do here, as mentioned in a previous blog post is start…. something. I found a great photo from the Blokes Psychology Facebook page below which sums this up perfectly and provides a bit of inspiration.
In the end, starting something towards your goals is the first step. If you said you wanted to improve your fitness, you do not have to start by punishing yourself at the gym for 2 hours. In this case, it may be best to first look at planning your diet and developing an exercise routine, then setting some monthly targets to work towards your goal.
Most importantly, try to set tasks and goals that are achievable as achieving these small goals will be a great motivator to strive further towards success. Metaphorically, we do not want to think of climbing Mt Everest in one go, that would be quite daunting and probably squash our motivation pretty quickly. Instead, we want to think about moving from basecamp to basecamp until we reach the summit.
If we are seriously committed to working towards and achieving our goals, the ‘climbing Everest’ metaphor is a perfect way to look at this. It will take some logistical planning to manage our resources and time but this is for our benefit. This will allow us to come up with a strategy that suits our lifestyle which in turn, increases our chance of success so spend some time writing this plan out. Setting incremental goals (i.e. monthly) also helps us assess the quality of the plan we have made, assess how we are going and what adjustments we may need to make for next month.
Alright, Done. Let’s Go!
Now without being a ‘downer’, we also must acknowledge other factors that may slow-down or stand in the way of us achieving our goals. This is one reason this sort of flexible planning can help us, by letting us adjust our target as needed. If there are any obstacles you can foresee (such as holiday periods where you feel you may fall out of routine etc.), try and factor them in. There will of course, be factors that you cannot predict so again, factor them into each month if they arise and adjust your target.
On the plus side, there may also be times when we are exceeding our goals and targets so again, we should look at whether we want to adjust and aim for higher next month or keep the same targets and aim for consistency. This type of interactivity and mindfulness with our goals keeps us focused on what we set out to achieve and allows us to be firm, but fair with ourselves. This brings me to the next point.
The Reality of the Current Situation
I have written before about the importance of being objective and fair when assessing our achievements and whilst it is a new year, we must also remember that there is still much uncertainty carried over from the crises that ruled much of 2020. So, this is a chance for us now with this knowledge, to set good achievable goals with the flexibility to respond to foreseeable or unforeseeable change.
Entering the new year, I think it is a good time to acknowledge and reflect on the words of renowned psychiatrist, author and holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl. This text appears in his book Man’s Search For Meaning (which I highly recommend) in which he talks about his experiences in Nazi concentration camps. Frankl reflected:
“We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life and instead think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfil the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”
In essence, we are asked to respond to a situation through choice, not simply react to it. I think this is a powerful mantra to carry with us throughout our year considering the experience gained from 2020. If you would like to know a little more about Viktor Frankl, there is a short little article here you may find interesting.
Of course, AHRLEE Counselling is now back from break so if you feel you need any additional support this year, please call me on 0481 291 132 to make an appointment. I also have some additional programs and resources coming soon that I'm looking forward to sharing with you so stay tuned here or on my Facebook page for those.
Once again, wishing you all the best for a fruitful and peaceful 2021.