Well, well, well. It would seem we’ve found ourselves in another year. Happy New Year everyone! Here’s hoping your celebrations were anything but dull. If you follow my Instagram, you’ll know I made it back to Auckland for family Christmas. I shoulder-hopped my way into the New Year once again thanks to Rhythm and Vines. And as we speak, I’m crossing clouds back to Wellington for the remainder of the Summer. One could say it’s been busy.
What’s important is I’m back and I’m writing. The champagne glasses are finally clean and in turn, I’m dirtying a mug and a good ol’ fashioned notepad with thoughts of the New Year.
I ought to put it out there: I have a good feeling about 2017. If it’s anything like the last, there will be no shortage of surprises, new places to explore, and people to uncover. A lover of change, I’m sure I’ll find much to enjoy.
For these days, there is no certainty that I will be in one place in a month, never mind a year, goal-setting (god forbid) has become extremely important. Just the other day it hit me that two clicks of a button – “delete this blog”, and “un-enrol from this course” – and I too could find myself talking to trees like Lindsay Lohan circa October 2014. It’s not all that far away.
I would dread to reach the end of the year to discover I lived day-by-day, and that such mundane activities which characterised them, meant squat to acquiring what I truly want. So yes, I’m making resolutions. But more importantly, I’m tackling how I’ll stick to them.
As much as teachers were darn annoying about it, they were quite right too. Goal-setting is hard. It takes knowing yourself, then, knowing what’s okay to accept about him or her, and otherwise. There’s the argument too: simply because someone else believes we should work on something, is this enough to say we should?
A lot of us wind up jumping on the more universal of resolutions: “I’m going to finally lose those extra few pounds”, or “I should really be more organised.” Personalised or not, these goals we struggle to achieve. We reach the following year and set the same resolution. We hold repeated goals for we never quite reach the point of achievement.
And so I asked myself – in the way that I do when I find myself on long solo walks along the beach – why? Why aren’t we achieving those huge goals we set ourselves? While cases can be entirely specific, there are a few reasons which find themselves recurring for many of us.
1. You never set any in the first place.
This one sounds completely obvious, but it’s worth paying a thought. Although I promise to get around to it, often I find myself so caught between the rush of Christmas into New Year, New Year into the holidays, work and study, that I can miss the whole resolution window entirely. Oh sure, we can make goals at any time of the year. But do we? Very rarely. Until things turn stagnant, or completely upside down, we may not find ourselves pushed towards evaluation, never-mind towards setting new goals.
However, we shouldn’t wait for our life to turn to shit before we decide to make progression. Simply because 2016 was a great year, and you did some amazing things, doesn’t mean there’s not room in 2017 to do more, see more, and to be more. We ought to make the goals that will encourage us to do so.
Set time aside. Go for a walk, and start asking yourself some poignant questions. What made you disappointed in yourself, even for a moment, this past year? What would have made you more proud of yourself? Write it down if you have to. Buy one of those Kikki.K diaries and complete even just the first page. Whatever you do, make a start.
2. You stated what but never battled with how.
The problem with goal-setting is it’s painfully easy to state what we want. I’d love to write for TIME magazine. Ask me how I’m planning to get there and I’ll tell you the answer: fuck knows. “I’m hoping to land myself a couple good opportunities?”
Wake up, McKenzie. 2016 was the year of realising things (thanks, Kylie). 2017 is the year of fucking opportunities. Okay, not the entire concept, but indeed, the idea that they are something we should wait for. MAKE your opportunities. If your name ain’t in every damn mailbox, how is the owl supposed to know to fly back to you?
Make a plan. Don’t sit around with some big goal and have no idea of how to get there. I’ll tell you this now, you won’t. I once said I’d become a teen pop sensation. You know what happened? I didn’t. Why? Because I didn’t lay out the plans for my stardom (Of course this was the only flaw. Why do you ask?)
The point is, your what means shit if you don’t have a how to follow it up.
Big leaps of faith are awfully romanticised. Break your goal down into steps. One can’t expect to take a big leap across the river if they haven’t even stepped onto the path yet.
I should stop with these metaphors. Is this a 2017 thing? I’m not sure if I like where it’s going. Let’s move on.
3. You lost motivation.
You know how people begin January 1st with all these weight loss goals and they probably run for all of nine mornings – and then by February they forget that they ever committed to such a routine? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. You god damn done it, haven’t you? Don’t worry – me too, me too.
Motivation is a damn powerful thing. In fact, I’ve been reading about it in this book called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth. It’s totally change-your-life stuff. If Duckworth’s research doesn’t first make you inclined to study human behaviour, it sure does influence the study of your own self.
Ever thought where your motivation comes from? Probably not. We simply take it as it is. If we’re lazy, we hardly ever ask ourselves why. We either bask in it or by all means, try to be less so. To successfully change our habits though, we have to understand why they are the way they are in the first place.
Published 1 July 2016 – Random House NZ (RRP $40.00)
Duckworth says it is grit and passion which outshines talent almost always. If you can pinpoint what drives you – this can be absolutely anything which makes you passionate – then already you are competition to the most talented of individuals.
To maintain progression towards a goal, it’s pertinent to remember that which is driving us towards it. Often, we forget to remind ourselves. Do so of more than just the bigger goal. It’s difficult to be motivated by something we’ll attain a year from now. So make little deadlines, and keep checking in with yourself. Reward yourself when you meet them. Remember the reward doesn’t have to be in line with the goal itself. It can be completely different… anything you enjoy!
Oh, and while you’re at it with your Kikki.K journal, write a list. Write down all the reasons you want to reach the goal. Be honest with yourself. Make it as long or as short as you want. Refer to this list whenever you lose motivation, or even, when it’s at an all-time peak. Keep it up, and keep going.
4. You didn’t want to achieve them enough.
There are two occasions on which we lose motivation: when we forget what is driving us, and when we fail to recognise the strength of the drive itself. Often we don’t achieve our goals for we never truly wanted the end result enough.
Again, it comes back to questioning ourselves (we may indeed get tired of doing so). One has to ask themselves anyway, why didn’t I want it? Or did I, but were my reasons for wanting it not truthful to myself? Were they not driving factors for me personally?
I’ve been reading another book (look at me, I finally got into reading and I is just learning so much every damn day). It’s called Bloom by Estée Lalonde (so granted this is probably why I picked it up). She’s got some excellent things to say re moulding your life-style in a way that’s good for you.
Like seriously, why hasn’t someone said this before? We’re all searching for this perfect lifestyle – we’re watching youtubers for what they say, do and eat – completely unbeknownst to the fact that their idea of perfect probably isn’t in line with ours anyway. Even if it were, one exact life-style is typically only realistic for one individual.
Published 6 October 2016 – Random House NZ (RRP $45.00)
In terms of goals, we ought to realise that just because someone else seeks a goal for one reason, doesn’t mean we do for the same. Or, perhaps we seek a different goal altogether. If you don’t truly want to lose weight, start being more organised or more social, then don’t set it as your goal. Don’t do it because others are doing it and it seems right. Make a different goal. Make sure it’s something you truly want. Think of the rewards and the benefits, and if those fit who you want to be and what you want to do, then by all means, go for it. But if they don’t, then also, feel free to change it.
5. Your goals changed.
Last but not least, the reason you didn’t meet your New Year’s resolution? It’s because it changed. And THIS IS OKAY! Our wants, desires, goals and dreams change all the damn time. It’s bloody human nature and it’s good for us. It keeps us going, and ensures we’re consistently true to ourselves.
Be open to this kind of change. If you came to love your body instead of lose the weight, don’t attack yourself for not completing your goal. You did exactly what you needed to, simply in another way. Often, life takes you down an unexpected path. Don’t be afraid of going with the flow.
Maybe you didn’t get the job you wanted – but you got another one which turned out to be completely great. To save yourself feeling unnecessarily unaccomplished, give your goals leg room. If you restrict them, you’ll never grow with yourself. You’ll deny yourself the opportunity to reach other things.
Be aware that you’re a changing person. What you wanted and who you wanted to be are not and will not necessarily be parallel ideas in 2016 and 2017. This is a good thing. We’re expected to grow from this.
Whether you let them alter or vow to stay focused, make passionate goals this year. Fight for the end of the rainbow just to see that it continues. It’s a great thing about humanity: we’re always seeking something.
So don’t be too hard on yourself, and remember as much as the end result will bring happiness, so too will the journey right now. Bask in it.
Love you all. Best wishes for the year ahead. It should be a goodie.
Wearing: Glassons jumpsuit
Photos by Darina Mohammed