Making Change that Lasts: Guiding Principles for any new year

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I’m feeling reflective as we wrap up 2014. As I look back on the year – how I’ve grown and changed, what I’m ready to let go of – I am letting it fuel my hopes and dreams for this new year.

I’m a die-hard planner. I just LOVE to set goals and strategize on how to achieve them. In fact, a few days into any vacation and I’m planning my new and improved life on return home. I’ve been doing this since I could write. It’s in my DNA.

And yet, goal-setting and relentless goal-achieving has a dark side.

It drives me to push harder than is healthy or realistic. It makes me crazy. It gives me fodder for accusing myself of not being good enough, successful enough, healthy enough… When goals become the stick we use to beat ourselves up rather than the inspiration that fuels us, something has gone awry.

Can you relate? Have you ever used well-intentioned goals – or your lack of achieving them – as an excuse to rake yourself over the coals?

It’s a pretty universal phenomenon. As mere humans in our accomplishment-crazed world, we’re bound to fall off the wagon, slip up on our diet, or miss a deadline en route to that almighty goal. How we handle these moments is what makes all the difference.

As I sit on the cusp of 2015 and consider what I want for this coming year, I’m paying more attention to how I want to BE, how I want to FEEL, and how I want to SHOW UP, and less to what I actually achieve.

And I gotta tell you, it feels GOOD to operate this way.

Do I have goals for 2015? Sure! I’ve got big dreams just like the rest of you and I’m certainly not putting any limits on my ambitions and aspirations. But rather than let these be the driving force, I’m giving myself a set of guidelines that will govern my days and decisions and help me get back on track when things go sideways (as they inevitably will).

 

My Guiding Principles for 2015

I will BE present. Here. Fully engaged. Life is short – I want to really live it. How I’ll do this:

  • Unplug (no screens or gadgets) when I’m with my daughter, prepping meals or eating them, creating, and an hour before bed.
  • I’ll make sure I’ve got some dedicated ME time each week for personal cup-filling.
  • My to-do lists will be shorter and more focused: I commit to doing LESS, and giving my all to what I DO choose to do.

I will FEEL healthy and alive. Rested. In my body. Strong. Vibrant. How I’ll do this:

  • I will make decisions based on how the result will feel in my body (and yes, sometimes that will mean a chocolate croissant and a latte for breakfast). This applies to what I eat as well as to how I move and how I live. I’ll not be confined by any external dogma or impulse binging in reaction to overly strict rules.
  • I’ll go to bed early more often than not.
  • I’ll remember that sometimes a nap is more productive than pushing through.

I will SHOW UP fully, but to fewer things. How I’ll achieve this:

  • I’ll remember that every “yes” necessarily involves a “no”, and that the flipside to every “no” is actually a “yes”. I will commit consciously.
  • I’ll check in with my instincts before acting – and honor them. They’re always right.

AND, most importantly:

I give myself permission to mess this all up – because these are wildly new behaviors for me, and I’m bound to fall back into old patterns as I make change.

This is how I’m reconciling my love of planning and goal-setting with my strong desire to be gentle with myself, to set myself up for success, and to continue to grow and evolve as a mother, a wife, a nutritionist, a business owner, and a human being.

What guiding principles are lighting your way into the new year?

PS – In need of a POWERFUL planning tool? Depending on your personality there are two I highly recommend.

The first is the Biz Goals Workbook by Leonie Dawson. I have used many different planning tools and processes – from those of my own creation to Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map – and all have had their strengths and purpose. Leonie’s planner is deeply feminine, practical, spiritual, and all-encompassing. If you’re an ambitious woman (especially an over-worked mom) and want both real business success AND a balanced life – oh that holy grail of beautiful balance! – I highly recommend checking out Leonie’s workbook. Her questions are powerful and her process is both deeply spiritual and wildly practical and results-focused. Here’s a link.


The other book, the one I am currently using, is the High Performance Planner by Brendon Burchard. This planner is part of my morning routine which you learn about from reading his book, High Performance Habits. It’s definitely a game changer and one that is helping me up level as a practitioner, business woman, mother and wife. His style and questions may not resonate with everyone though. One planner covers 60 days or you can get a set of 6 to cover the entire year. Brendon’s planner is very thorough and based on one of the largest research studies ever done on high performers. Here’s a link.

Check them out and see which of the two resonates with you. Either way, you’re in good hands. They’re both excellent planners that will help the new you in the new year!

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