New Year’s Resolutions
I always have this sense of expectation whenever a new year rolls around. I have this idea that “This time, I’ll do it right.” I feel all kinds of motivation to do things differently. And that’s never true. Deep down, I know it’s not true, but I cling to that lie anyway. There’s just something about new year resolutions that make us lie to ourselves.
Do you make a new year’s resolution? Some call it “goal-setting”, some call it “habit changing”, but really, it’s all the same stuff. It’s this lie we all want to believe, that the new year can and will be different than the old, just based on us wanting it to be different.
The truth is, unless you change your inspiration, your motivation and your expectations, nothing really will change. Your resolutions may last for a few days or weeks, but by middle February, most of us are slogging through our days, like we always have. And we’re still wondering why it seems so hard for us.
Expectation is not comparison
The biggest reason we think our lives are harder than they should be is because we’re comparing. I’m always comparing my life to others. I compare my housekeeping to my friends. I compare my blog traffic to my blogger network groups. I compare my business income to other businesses. And for some reason, it always seems like I’m worse off than everybody else.
That’s because my information is incomplete. I’m trying to compare my real life to someone else’s highlight reel. Whether that’s on social media, or in the few hours I spend in the company of my friends and neighbours, I’m not living their life. I’m living mine. My expectations need to be in line with my history, not my comparisons.
Know yourself to know what to expect
That’s not to say that you can’t expect more or set bigger goals. Absolutely stretch yourself. But if you want to set a goal, keep it in line with what you’ve already done. Don’t try to set goals that are completely unrealistic for your life season, your values and priorities, and your own habits and choices. Stay in your lane.
This month we are doing a New Year’s Get Organized Challenge (sign up here if you haven’t already!) I’m expecting to go through this challenge ready and prepared for my best year yet, in my business at least. But in setting my goals, I can’t expect myself to suddenly up my blogging to daily, when I know I still have six children at home to educate! So that’s not going to be one of my goals. I can however set a goal that I want to write three new ebooks this year. That’s realistic for both my life season and my ultimate goals of growing my business and blogs.
Motivate yourself to win
When you keep your expectations realistic, it’s a lot easier to get excited. And stay excited! Managing your expectations will make your motivation internal. And then you’re more likely to stick with your resolutions and goals.
It works like this: suppose you want to lose weight. Most of us do, and it’s a common new year’s resolution. So you sign up for a gym membership, you buy the exercise clothes, and you lace on your running shoes. At first, you’re excited and determined. But it’s hard work to workout, it isn’t always fun, and soon, there’s always an excuse to skip the gym. Tired, late, sick, whatever. And within a matter of weeks, your membership is going unused.
But what if a doctor told you that you had to lose weight, or you would develop a serious, possibly life-threatening, condition. All of a sudden, it isn’t just a resolution, but now it’s a do-or-die situation, literally. Not only would you be at the gym every day, but you’d be looking for a dietitian, nutritionist, and personal trainer to help you in your goal. Your motivation isn’t about losing weight, but about changing and saving your own life.
Save yourself to motivate yourself
Sheer willpower is not enough to accomplish anything. In order to motivate yourself, you have to connect it to your passion. Your passion is what makes life worth living. And everyone has something they are passionate about. Because if you lose your passion, you lose your will to live (and then you should be seeing a doctor!)
When figuring out what it is you will organize and how you will get more organized, you need motivation to make the changes. The only way you’ll motivate yourself to make changes that stick is if you connect the change to a life passion. So what are you passionate about?
Inspiration is about passion
I am passionate about two things: homeschooling and working from home. Both of those are connected to my deepest value: my family. So for me to make changes in my housekeeping, my calendar, my planning and my routines, I need to internally connect to my family values. Do I have CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) and my children are wilting from lack of social connection? My motivation to clean house just got a kick in the butt! It’s going to be better for my kids if we’re all more comfortable in our own home, and able to be more hospitable.
In order to manage my expectation and kickstart my motivation, I need inspiration. My passion is my inspiration. And there are small things I can do to remind me about my passions. These small things energize my senses and invigorate my imagination, which is where passion comes from anyway.
Find your inspiration in hearing music that reminds you of your passions. Since my passion is my family, music that speaks to forgiveness, happiness, security, love and acceptance inspire me to move and grow. If I really want to get motivated to get organized, then I will put on my personal playlist that lets me dance while I’m cleaning, calms while I’m planning, and relaxes while I’m going through the routines of my day.
Science has shown that there’s nothing like smell to cement a memory. Wood smoke smells remind me of campfires of years past, while sugar cookie baking gives me happy memories of times spent with my grandma. These days, I evoke my own associations by using aromas to help with my motivations.
Aromatherapy is often used to stimulate emotions. So if I’m expecting big changes, I need to manage my feelings! Whether you use a diffuser, a wax warmer, an oil warmer or burner, or just spray fragrances in your home, the scents of your surroundings will impact your moods and your motivation.
Try peppermint when you need to focus, citrus smells when you need to be alert, and mellower, earthier smells when you need to relax.
3. Snacks and meals
Sometimes we have a lack of motivation because we are lacking fuel and energy. If you’re anything like me, it can be easy to forget about regular meals. But eating regularly and having healthy, energizing snacks can help with those motivational low points and unrealistic expectations. We can think a lot clearer when our brains are properly fueled.
And don’t neglect your thirst. I often find myself mistaking thirst for hunger, and then I’m grabbing sugary snacks instead of the water my body is craving. (Speaking of which, time to grab a drink. Be right back..) And of course, those unhealthy habits just lead to sluggish bodies, slow minds and unmotivated, absurd expectations.
4. Move it!
If you want to feel it, move it. Taking that first step is sometimes the hardest one to do. But motivation often comes after you’ve already started. Start your day with physical movement. It’ll get the heart pumping and help you become more alert for the rest of your day.
Then take those first steps in the big projects you’ve been procrastinating on. What’s one thing you need to do to move it forward? As you do that one thing, your excitement – and motivation – will increase.
5. Read, watch, and look for inspiration
I want to suggest this cautiously, because too often we can be so focused on getting inspired that we forget to actually do anything with the inspiration. Remember that inspiration is supposed to kickstart motivation, which then fuels expectation to achieve! And the only way anything happens is if you actually get up off your butt and do something.
But sometimes we need to take a step back and catch our breath. That’s when you can look for inspiration. Whether it’s reading that inspirational book first thing in the morning, or watching an inspiring speaker or success story video, look for it. These moments will ground and centre you, and help you launch into the next level of personal achievement.
If you want to get organized for the new year, get inspired. Get motivated. Expect great things.
It’s not too late to join the challenge! Sign up here.