Stop. Look around you. So often the responsibilities and sense of obligation in our lives can have us click into cruise control. We try to readjust gears, but often times doing so leads to grinding gears and increased frustration.
We’re living, but we’re not fully living. As we enter a new year we can slap on resolutions and visions of what the next 365 days will entail only to be disillusioned and feeling defeated. Or we can take a step in a direction that will enhance our quality of living and strengthen our mental health.
In my latest book, A Higher Level of Goodness: Lessons from the Drug Lady I hone in on a few special ingredients that can lay the groundwork in jumpstarting a new year that I’d like to share with you.
How goals connect to living a full life
To live with intention will pave the road for growth and go beyond life being an obligation. To be in a state where we feel stuck or static is crazy unhealthy and unneeded. So where do we go from here? There are five great ways to begin making life happen and growth a reality:
1. Have natural high. When we have interests in life that get our endorphins pumping and excited about life it makes life less mundane. How does this play into goals? Having passions in life limits the chance of life being static and typically sparks a desire for wanting more than what is. Whether it be basketball, running, playing the guitar or baking, every single human being needs that spark that has them going forward instead of backwards. Natural highs are way underutilised, yet hold tremendous power.
2. Stagger your goals. A goal that may focus on something in five years is much more likely to fall to the wayside than one that is on a smaller timeline. Stagger your goals. Aim for 3-, 6- and 12-month clips. Write down goals for all three and then (which very few people do) come up with a few ways to bridge the gap between talk and action. When we generate ideas, opportunities will pave the road for goals to become reality.
Get stoked! Back in the day one of my goals was to learn how to surf. I was 16, totally stoked, but knew being barreled by a wave wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. Progression and skill would take time. So I staggered my learning. How? My aim was to initially tackle a ride from whitewater to the shore without falling off my board. Next, learn how to drop in on a wave. Lastly, it was the ability to pop up, drop in and ride a wave.
It was a gradual, staggered approach that made a goal a tangible reality. If the only angle I approached my dream to surf was immediately dropping in on every wave and trying to ride (or hold on) it, my frustration would have spiked quickly and the likelihood of me sticking with it would have been minimal. Goals, just like surfing, have to be gradual and taken at a pace that is suited for you.
3. Be honest with yourself. Examine your strengths and weaknesses. What can you strengthen and what areas need to be readjusted? If we do not aspire to work on who we are and areas in need of adjustment (we all have these), achieving our ‘to do’ list becomes less likely.
4. Have a wingman. It is so important to have someone to confide in who will be your accountability partner. If we roll solo there’s not motivation, accountability and fear of being called out for slacking. We all need a wingman.
5. Just keep swimming. If you fail, reevaluate your strategies to find out what worked and what didn’t. Don’t throw in the towel if it didn’t work the first time. We are bound to stumble; it’s part of life. It’s not the fall that means anything, it’s the getting back up again.
Be honest with yourself. Keep going. Press forward. Goals make life more of an experience than a chore. Life is a journey. Live it loud and know that we set the example for the next generation. How we live and the goals we achieve are so critical to inspire, motivate and encourage our kids.
Before you rock into a new year get your goal setting goodness on. It’s not too late! Peace, love and new chapters!
Erin Lawler Patterson attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for undergraduate studies. She earned her Master in Substance Abuse and Clinical Counselling from East Carolina University. Since 2004, she has worked as the Substance Abuse Coordinator at a high school in southern New Jersey. Prior to her work she went on to do trekking and learned some of the greatest life lessons. When she is not working with children, she hang out with her family or getting her feet sandy with beach life. You can connect with her on Twitter @goodnesschick
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