It’s Midnight, wherever you are, and you hear that familiar countdown begin: “Ten… nine… eight…” after ten slow seconds, the clock strikes 12:00 AM and the chorus of “Happy New Year!” fills the air. Couples kiss, friends, hug, and maybe the party continues as you welcome in a fresh start, a new year. Many people have recently commented on how they couldn’t wait for 2016 to end and 2017 to begin, whether due to all the distressing global events which have occurred this year or more personal reasons. “Next year is definitely my year” was a mantra repeated regularly among those who felt they didn’t quite achieve those goals of losing weight, saving 20% of their paycheck, or finally finishing a home improvement project just to name a few.
Afterall, “never do today what you can do tomorrow” according to Aaron Burr. His intention behind this quote was not to create a legacy supporting procrastination, but to prevent “premature action” as he called it, or make a hasty decision without all the necessary information.
We wait a lot. We wait for Monday to start getting up earlier. We wait for Black Friday to do our Christmas shopping. We wait until the timing is just right before we start on those goals we’ve always wanted to achieve. We wait until New Year’s to put them into action. We wait to do tomorrow what we can start today.
My practice as a marriage and family therapist often shows me couples who’ve waited an average of six months or longer to seek counseling and there’s always a variety of reasons. The holidays, a family vacation, things briefly got better, they thought things would get better, etc. I’d be hard pressed to find one couple who’s ever come in and said, “We’re glad we waited until the timing was just right to seek help.”
Truthfully, I’ve done my fair share of waiting; waiting for the perfect time to do something I’ve always wanted to do and taking the next big step in my life. I’m only human. And sometimes, big decisions require some time to ensure it’s the right decision. Yet there’s nothing that says we can’t take little steps along the way towards achieving our bigger goals and there’s nothing preventing us from taking these steps today instead of waiting for tomorrow.
Rather than wait for tomorrow, Monday, or New Year’s to make those resolutions or changes in your life, I encourage you to begin taking steps to make those changes today and every day hereafter.
What’s stopping you?
Take a moment to think about all the things you’d like to achieve this next year no matter how big or small the goal. Write these goals down if it helps your remember. Once you’ve got your list, look for two things: 1. Is an overarching theme occurring with your goals (ex. Most of your goals relate to weight loss, fitness, or an exercise regime?) And 2. How achievable are these goals from this present moment in time? An example I love to use is, “If you’re goal is to run a marathon, yet you’ve never run a 5K, where do you need to start in order to run that marathon.”
After you’ve done one and two, add a third part and rank your goals from most to least important. This way, you’ll be able to group together like goals (eating healthier and exercising more) and also give yourself a starting point to avoid the almost inevitable burnout that occurs every February after we’ve tried too much too soon and with little foresight.
We’ve all been there. It happens…
Now, let’s go back to my original question: what’s stopping you? What’s preventing you from starting to work on your goals? Once you’ve found your answer, you’re that much more powerful over the obstacles in your way.
Change is hard, it requires commitment, and is easy to discard when we don’t see the progress or reward. Additionally, change can be scary and it’s easier to say, “I would, if I could, but…” If we never try, we never fail.
As January quickly approaches, I’m putting out a call to action to you, my readers, to start on your goals now before New Year’s. In the days before New Year’s, and even the days after, think about one thing you can do every day to work on improving yourself, your health, your relationships, your career, whatever you’re trying to improve this year.
Now, it’s time get to work. The New Year is here and I’ll help you get ready!
I’m just a phone call (954.391.5305 ext. 1) or click away from helping you achieve your goals this year.
Kate Campbell, PhD, LMFT