By Guest Blogger Kelly Hines
Ah, the New Year. The time when everyone scrambles around trying to find something meaningful and life changing to commit themselves to. This year, I’m going to run a marathon! This year, I’m going to lose 50 pounds! This year, I’m going to volunteer once a week! Or keep my house clean. Or not cuss my children. Or learn how to play piano, speak Spanish, or finally finish all the kids’ baby books.
Spoiler alert: You are going to do none of these things.
You are going to going to eat too many cookies and not exercise enough and your house is going to be a disaster at least 70% of the time. You are never going to master anything more than Hot Cross Buns on the piano, you can barely order a burrito at La Carreta, and there is absolutely no printed photographic evidence that your third child exists.
You are going to vacillate between extreme enthusiasm and crippling self-doubt. You are going to stretch the limits of that third bra hook and then say screw it and finish off the bag of M&Ms. You are going to take that chunky knit blanket workshop, spend $500 on yarn from Michael’s, make two dozen blankets, think – yes, maybe I can start selling these! – then never knit another thing again.
Or, maybe not.
Maybe you’ll go back to school and finish – or start – your degree. Maybe you’ll open up that business that you’ve always dreamed about. Maybe you will run a marathon, or learn how to bake bread, or remember everyone’s birthday.
You are never going to finish that baby book, though.
If you are determined to set goals for yourself, start small. Breaking up larger goals into small, attainable, measurable steps is scientifically proven to be more effective than setting one large goal.* For instance, say you just watched Brittany Runs a Marathon on Amazon and you’re feeling all inspired. You decide that you, like Brittany, are going to take control of your life and run a marathon. Your goal list could look something like this:
- Run a marathon.
Which seems pretty daunting. Or it could look something like this:
- Watch a movie about a woman running a marathon.
- Inspired, decide that sounds like a good idea.
- Buy some new running clothes. And shoes. And chafe stick.
- Decide to start next week. On Monday, because that’s when all terrible things start.
- Start by walking 2 miles which is much, much further than you thought it was.
- Graduate to walking, then running for like 30 seconds (which makes you want to puke), then walking again.
- Get a blister. Come home, throw your shoes in the trash and scream “*(@$ it! This is STUPID!”
- Decide that a better goal would be learning how to bake bread.
- Bake bread. Eat bread.
- Goal met.
Listen, I am not going to tell you that you can not achieve your dreams. I am just telling you that you probably can not achieve your dreams. Maybe you need to lower your expectations a little; set the bar down where it requires less of a leap and more of a hop.
One year, I resolved to learn how to make a new cocktail. Another year, I resolved to go to more parties. Yet another year, I decided that I would buy all new socks. Check, check, and check. Nothing makes you feel like a winner like doing what you say you’re going to do. Am I out there running marathons? No. Am I just as committed to achieving my personal goals as someone who is? Absolutely.
As you consider your resolutions for the New Year, just remember this: No one cares. We are all entirely too self absorbed to worry about what you are or aren’t achieving in your life. The better you are at life, the less people like you. Be successful – just not too successful. Dream big, aim low, and keep your friends.
*I don’t know if this is actually scientifically proven, but it seems logical. Also, this blog is due in an hour and I don’t have time to research.
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