2019 is here and many of us have set our resolutions and goals for the next 12 months.  I have grown to not like the term resolution because it seems they are done out of tradition, along with eating black-eyed peas and greens.  In fact, did YOU know that research has shown that 80% of all resolutions are broken by February?!?!  Although every day is a new day and one can easily start over again at any time, the new year is representative of a clean slate and new start. A time to look back on the previous year to reflect upon both one’s successes and lessons learned. In doing that, it makes sense that one would want to establish an expectation for the coming year in a way that I like to describe more as goal setting.  Personally, I do best when establishing short term goals that can be accomplished in a fairly short period of time.  Celebrating the reward from that smaller goal motivates me to want to accomplish the next.

When thinking about my goals for 2019, I came across this picture that reminded me that it all starts with me – Jan-YOU-ary!  How befitting that there is a message right in the name of the very month that starts off every year!  Indeed, when setting goals, they should begin and end with YOU.  How can YOU better YOURSELF, give of YOURSELF to others, move forward in YOUR career, be there for YOUR family, etc.  The central entity in all these areas is YOU.  So, if YOU don’t take care of YOU, then who will?  Here are three steps that I personally follow to help me to stay on track…

Commit.  Such a simple word, but easier said than done in many cases, right?  It’s one thing to say that YOU are YOU going to do something but to do the work is when the actual challenge really begins.  It may seem easy to set a goal of going to the gym 3 – 4 times a week until three days in, YOU are not feeling well, or YOU get out of work late or better yet, YOU left YOUR gym clothes at home.  For me, the work begins before I set foot in the gym, rather it starts in my head.  I find that once I mentally commit to something, not just say it or going through the motions aimlessly, but truly make a mental commitment towards a goal, I am more determined to get it done. If YOU are mentally locked and committed to the process, YOU will figure out a way to get to that gym, no holds barred. Commit to the goal and YOU are halfway there!

Find an Accountability Partner. Or three!  Yes, YOU are mentally committed to going to the gym three to four times a week, but sometimes it helps to have someone to help to motivate YOU when YOU are not in the mood and would rather go home and get in YOUR bed. Identify someone in YOUR circle that will push YOU to remain consistent in accomplishing YOUR goal!  Maybe establish a group text (I have one with a few of my girlfriends we are constantly encouraging and sharing and motivating one another all the time!  It works!) or weekly conference call to check in on one another to stay on track.  Although only YOU can do the work, it is helpful to have an encouraging voice in the background cheering YOU on.

Letter to Self.  At the end of my last Accountability Workshop session in November on Letting Go and Embracing Change, I asked that everyone write a letter to themselves about what they were going to change and how they were going to commit to moving forward in their personal journey.  As I’ve been told many times over the years, write it down and make it plain. I asked that they seal the envelope and not open it until the first of the year.  At that time, they were to open the envelope, read their letter and ask…did they honor their personal commitment?  Were they still on the path towards positive change?  I also did the same and found it very self-revealing. It was different reading my own words. Words that I had written that I have honestly forgotten since penning them.  It was me, then, only a short 45 days before, but to see myself through those eyes again was quite cool!  Yes, I was still on the path, and although I hadn’t quite accomplished the goal, I was making progress (I will share what I wrote in my next article!).  I encourage YOU to do the same.  Think about YOUR goal(s) for the year.  Take the one on the top of YOUR list and write a letter to YOURSELF about what YOU are going to do to accomplish it.  Seal it and do not open until April 30th.  Give YOURSELF three months to do the work to accomplish YOUR goal.  When the time comes, open the envelope and re-read YOUR letter.  I hope it will have the same effect on YOU as it did me!

Remember, it’s all about YOU.  No one can accomplish YOUR goals but YOU!  No one can do the work but YOU.  However, in the end, no one will be prouder when that goal is accomplished than YOU.  I’m already looking forward to celebrating with and for YOU.  YOU’VE GOT THIS!  I believe in YOU!