Crafting Your Best Year Yet!

There are a lot of memes and blogs out there saying January is an arbitrary time for goal setting, that there’s nothing magical about it. That’s sort of true … but also, it’s not. Goals certainly don’t have to be set in January in order to stick, but it is easier to get the ball rolling on a goal when you start at the beginning of the year.

Most of the time, the true work of reaching goals is psychological. We battle against deeply ingrained habits. We struggle to create momentum where we’ve been standing still or stuck. We fight against the current and that can be mentally exhausting. Starting in January means you can take advantage of a few mental tricks that make achieving goals a little bit easier.

It’s not always possible to reset when the calendar does. I love the years when I can start fresh as soon as the clock strikes midnight, but even when I can’t, there are ways to fake the new-year fresh start, no matter what month is on the calendar.

In January, you just FEEL like you have a fresh start, a line in the sand, a new chapter (pick whatever metaphor suits you best). January is a natural turning of a calendar. The new year is a rebirth that shows both on our calendars and in the natural world, because if you battle through new goals in the winter, you’ll start to see results with the spring.

There are lots of ways to feel like you have a fresh start — January is just an easy one. Start your “year” at the beginning of February and call January a time of reflection. Or start your year on your birthday instead of the 1st January.

Being the social creatures that we are, we’re more likely to hit our goals if we know other people are doing it, too. In January, so many people are setting new goals that we don’t even have to join a class or a gym to feel like we’re not alone — we already know that a lot of people are in it together.

So join a group, join like-minded people! I generally think joining an in-person group is better for really tough goals, not only because spending time with people in person allows for interpersonal interaction, but also because I find that the physical act of driving to the meeting helps to stay committed. It’s pretty easy to find online groups, too, or even to join an online challenge to help reach a goal.

Using some kind of measurement is important for goal setting. Without a solid measurement, you’re likely to lose focus and even move the goal posts farther out. It’s also a lot harder to see what’s working and what isn’t if you’re not measuring.

For most goals, starting your measurements in January makes things easy. When you start any goal at the beginning of the year, it’s very easy to mentally keep track of how long you’ve been working toward it because our minds are already geared for a reset on the first of January.

You can start keeping records any time, of course!! Try making a paper chain and tearing off a link every day to show your progress. Keep a checklist or mark days on a calendar, on your phone. Start at the beginning of a month, the beginning of a quarter or the beginning of a new season.

If you’ve set a resolution this January and want a pep talk designed for exactly where you are with your goals, I’ve got you covered!!