I wrote in January about one process I use to set—and follow through with—personal goals. I didn’t call them New Year’s Resolutions, so perhaps that’s why I haven’t given them up yet.
The internet says 80% of people drop New Year’s resolutions by February, and a 1988 article in the Journal of Substance Abuse showed 77% of resolution makers stuck it out for all of one full week while only 19% remained committed to their goals two years later.
2021 is approaching its halfway point as I write this. My not-too-ambitious printed list of goals for the year still hangs behind my computer screen. It’s been lightly annotated as I’ve gone along. I look at it—reminded of what I promised myself and why—every day.
So here’s an update on how well I’ve done at putting my energy into actions that affirm my values. I’ve printed out a clean new copy to hang for the second half of the year.
Green lines blur personal financial goals; the pink line relates to a personal relationship goal.
Here’s a refresher of the New Year’s list for those who didn’t read the first post:
You’ll notice that my list has grown since I penned it in January. This is intentional. I take care to craft a set of goals that serve my long-term interests without undermining my short-term sense of accomplishment.
I know myself! I can be overwhelmed by a large task that presents as monolithic.
On the other hand, almost every job can be dismantled into manageable component parts. I’m pretty good† at methodically working my way through a list of concrete action items.
Can I regain all the strength I enjoyed due to regular vigorous exercise before I developed an autoimmune condition? The idea of trying makes me want to crawl back into bed. Maybe forever!
Moving every day in an intentional way, however? For just a few minutes? Yes, I can definitely do that. And, usually, I do, because the gentle suggestion on my list doesn’t feel like something that will decimate my limited stores of energy.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to emphasize that it isn’t so much the details of your personal goals that matter, but the fact that you assess them—then actively work toward what you want—that produces the efficacy of this technique.
My humble ambitions might easily be mocked by a high powered striver. That’s okay. I live comfortably with my choices because they are based upon my core values. The list I’ve shared helps me to recognize my own accomplishments for precisely that reason.
There aren’t many awards ceremonies—or any merit-based pay raises—for stay-at-home parents. One hears more often about Mommy Wars than Mommy Awards. But just because a parent opts to take on child-rearing as a full time role doesn’t mean personal growth and self-validation should be abandoned.
Self-improvement and self-care aren’t mutually exclusive. I see investing in myself, if only with time set aside for making and keeping short- to long-term goals—including those unrelated to my offspring!—as a vital part of staying sane and being prepared for the day when the last fledgling leaves the nest.
If you didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions, perhaps Mid-Year Resolutions will suit you better? There’s no better time to commit yourself to goals you care about than right now.
† Why, yes, I did work in Quality Assurance. How did you guess?