As we enter a new year, many of us have embraced the age-old tradition of setting New Year’s Resolutions. The exercise is always rooted in the best of intentions, but in my experience, has invariably led to disappointment. Likely, because I’ve approached it from a place of judgment and “not good enough”. You see, when I’ve set resolutions in the past, it was to remove some unwanted behaviour, but I never back-filled the void I was creating with something better, healthier, more fun, more… hopeful. I’ve since learned that nature abhors a vacuum, so the hole I was creating would get plugged up with more “judgey junk - junkment?”.
In the past, I also hadn’t taken stock of the previous year’s wins so as to establish what my new baseline was for the upcoming year. We all want a Mulligan, or do-over come January 1st, but we often fail to see that we are now at a new starting point - one that’s pre-filled with 365 days of experiences and lessons, and tons of small successes - if we take the time to see them. To ignore, dismiss or downplay what’s happened is missing out on a very important piece to go forward in our personal growth.
My hindsight also often focused primarily on the month of December (since it’s freshest in our memory) where I’ve just stressed out over the “short month” that has either derailed my business goals or had me working long hours to meet orders, prepping for the Holidays and then smack into the common finale of “I can’t believe I’m sick again at Christmas!”
This year, I wanted to do things differently. I decided to acknowledge some things in an authentic light so I could look forward with a better sense of myself, my potential and get clarity on my vision for 2024. Here’s my new approach.
I fully realized this year that, for me anyway, December had a sense of melancholy attached to it. I lost my sister this past September and the 20th anniversary of my father’s passing was on December 8th.
In the past, I would have gone through the motions of feeling blue without any further reflection - just give it time and let it pass. This year, however, I decided to take a deeper dive. It was a simple thing, really. I gave myself permission: the grief I was feeling was real, it was ok not to be ok and I deserved to give myself grace. My grief didn’t know what day it was. I felt it, acknowledged it, then blessed and released it for now - fully realizing that it would return on other occasions, and that was ok.
I also went back through the year by reviewing 3 sources: my calendar, my journals (I have a hard cover and digital version I use every day), and my photos. As I reviewed these three areas, I decided to look at it as though I were looking at someone else’s life, or conversely if a complete stranger were to look at these 3 areas, what might they see? That enabled me to release myself from judgment and see the wins for what they were and send blessings and gratitude to the not-so-great moments for the beautiful gifts and lessons that were embedded in them. I embraced that exercise with childlike curiosity and wonder.
I would highly encourage you to delve into your own calendars, journals, and photos to identify common threads. Recognize what lights you up and what drains you. Armed with this insight, you gain control over saying yes or no to activities in the future. Follow the "bliss threads" – those activities that bring you joy. Reflect on past habits, decide what worked, and initiate the stacking of small, manageable, and sustainable habits that align with your goals.
I know I’m splitting semantic hairs here, but hear me out. If, for you, the word “resolution” doesn’t have a heavy, negative weight to it, then have at it - set as many resolutions as you like.
I, on the other hand, see resolutions as having a focus on immediate change with a strict, binary win-lose scenario. When I’ve set them in the past, I would last six weeks on average, then drop off, and slip away hoping no one noticed what a loser I was for still doing / eating… fill in the blank. Clearly, merely "quitting" something wasn’t cutting it. I had to replace the habit in question with activities that were pleasant, enjoyable, and empowering.
Goals, on the other hand, are about sustained growth. Having a big audacious goal, like climbing Everest, can be transformative and terrifying at the same time. However, much like climbing Everest, setting smaller, achievable “basecamp” goals along the way can provide you with a roadmap for personal evolution, growing and stretching that much more at every junction.
This past year, I learned a couple of things about goals. One is, I had to have a vision first - what was it I really wanted? Creating a vision board in May 2023 was one of the most transformative experiences of my life. By November 2023, I had manifested not one, not two, but THREE of the images from my board. To say that vision boards are powerful tools is a serious under-statement.
Tip #1: Give Yourself Permission
When I created my vision board, my biggest challenge was admitting what I actually wanted. I know that sounds trite, but my alter-ego (that nagging voice in my head. I call her Madge. She’s the worst) would wag the guilt finger at me anytime I started entertaining ANY idea of fun, wealth, abundance, success.
If any of this sounds familiar, the fix for this can be simple pen and paper:
Get in a relaxed state - a few long, deep breaths
Set a timer for five minutes
During that time, write everything that crosses your mind that you would like - no matter how big or small.
That’s it. No judgment, just fun. See how many things you can write in that time frame. You don’t even have to do anything with this list, the purpose is to get it all out of your body and onto that page and to experience what it’s like to express all your wants.
Tip #2: Get in the Habit
Next, I learned that the real power in achieving goals lies in the compounding effect of constant, spaced repetition. Repetition of learning, absorbing and integrating stacked habits - habits that are energetically aligned with my main goal, and all the basecamp goals leading to it. You see, wishing for something gets you nowhere, you have to take inspired action at every turn. Stacked habits pave the way for that action since they’re impacting your overall behaviour.
Tip #3: Cast Yourself in the Lead
Lastly, and most importantly, I have come to SEE myself as this new version of me that embodies these new habits, see myself having achieved the goal (and, Baby, I look goooooood). That, right there, has been far more empowering than the reverse effect of setting a resolution.
When you’re setting goals for yourself, imprint that image of YOU having achieved those goals. This is where the power of vision boards comes in. With a picture of yourself in a happy time taking center stage on your board, this helps put you in the lead role of the beautiful life you’re envisioning through your very own curated images. Write a stunning self-image script that describes you in this fabulous end game you’ve imagined. Then, following Tip #2, look at that vision board and read that script every day so as to create this indelible image on your subconscious.
So for 2024, I have reviewed, re-adjusted and rewritten my goals. I’ve also opened myself up to invite others in - both people I can serve and people whom I trust that can support me. I continue to immerse myself in study (part of my stacked habits) and continue to ask how I can better serve the world around me with the gifts I’ve been given. I am finding that in gaining clarity around my vision, giving myself permission, integrating stacked habits and tuning up my self-image, the Universe is responding and letting me know it truly does have my back.
Oh - and not a small point here - I have also decided to infuse 2024 with FUN! Yes, I’m focused on business, my health, my relationships, and my overall growth, but I plan on having fun at every turn while I execute and manifest.
Let’s face it, none of us know how long we’ll be bouncing around on this big blue marble, so why not skip, play hopscotch, make snow angels, sing at top volume, hug the stuffing out of those awesome peeps around us, try a new recipe, take out the china for weekday meals, and say “Hiya Gorgeous” every time you walk by a mirror?
In the script that is your life, make yours Oscar-worthy…. I can’t wait to see who you’ll be wearing.
Carole Filion is an author, speaker and mindset coach who helps women in or approaching their 60’s rediscover their magnificent selves and helps them map out their third act with excitement, grace and a whole lot of fun!
Book a complimentary coaching call with her
Check out her website
Follow her on Instagram @carolejfilion
Follow her on Facebook (personal page) - Carole Filion
Follow her on Facebook (business page) - Carole Filion, Mindset Coach
Join her Facebook group Badass Revolution - Kicking Ass while Staying Heart-Centered
Check out her YouTube Channel - Badass Banter
Comments will be approved before showing up.