Small Changes Yield Big Results

If you’re anything like me, I love the idea of a new year, a fresh start, and a chance to do things better. Unfortunately, this time of year simultaneously calls for a seemingly overwhelming sense of angst about ensuring I start the new year with a list of 6,000 things I need to do better at or better with in my life. Paired with these anxieties are often related unrealistic and thus, unattainable goals that admittedly would require more of a total rewiring of my brain than a vision board for me to accomplish. In the end, this leads to falling short of those goals as much a tragic part of the ritual as drafting them in the first place.

So, in an attempt to do things a little bit better (and wiser!), I’ve done my best to spend the last few weeks digging into my habits, rituals, likes, dislikes, routines, and so on to help me craft more than just pitfalls. If your goal is, as mine is, to do and be just a little bit better this year, I’ll share with you what I found in my own self-discovery and provide some tangible targets to make this year an impactful one. 

If you read last year’s blog post, Reevaluating the New Years Resolution, you’ll remember we talked about what makes a goal “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Cheesy acronym aside, every goal I didn’t achieve, especially those I bailed on mere days into their existence (RIP little buddies), didn’t fulfill these requirements. 

You don’t need all of them, but you certainly need a majority of them. I even wrote the darn blog post and then proceeded to fill my journal with painfully generic “I want to eat better” style goals. But seriously- Who could live up to that? What does that even mean? And when I get home from school or work late on a Tuesday night after a stressful commute, how could I possibly use this goal as a lighthouse on the shore when I’m surrounded by an ocean of convenience food, hunger pangs, and emotional justifications for “treating myself”? I can’t and won’t be able to live up to what I was seeking. And of course, the cycle of negative feelings towards myself continues, with feelings of inadequacy blinding me to the reality that I never even gave myself opportunity to be successful.

A bit of a disclaimer: I turned 30 this year. I’m not saying this to in anyway imply that I am “old” or “wise” or anything of the sort, but major milestones such as this provide me with yet another opportunity for self-reflection. This year, something I’m working to leave in the decade behind me is being mean to myself. Though the idea of “self-hate” is a bit extreme for my general relationship with the issue, I don’t think it was completely outside of the realm of feelings that were felt in recent memory. At the very least, I can honestly say that the underpinnings of self-doubt and anxiety showed themselves far too often in the decade before.Why do I say this? Because part of learning to love yourself is being honest with where you would like to go, but also recognizing who you are and what you have worked so hard to accomplish to date. It’s about first celebrating the successes and using the realization of those achievements to draft more forward-leaning goals. Only then can we be more vulnerable and honest in our assessment of how we can do better. I knew deep down, when I wrote those goals last year, I deserved better than those vague targets to base my daily routine on. And whatever goals you felt short on last year, you too deserve much more than what you handed yourself. Now that we know better, we can do better. Which brings me to how I’m changing my view on 2019 goals. 

Realization 1: I will never, in a million bajillion years, be able to achieve something that is personally or professionally challenging with the sole help of an annual vow of commitment. I need quarterly, monthly, weekly, and hell, DAILY focuses to tailor my year in a meaningful manner. We’ll come back to this in a bit. 

Realization 2: I can’t just write things down because society tells me I should be better at it. For example, as much as I want to care, I am not at a point in my life where I want to keep my house completely organized or keep a beautifully crafted bullet journal. I don’t want to. No, but seriously, that sounds awful to me. So, I owe it to myself to find traits that I truly want to cultivate within myself and stop battling what my brain (or social media for that matter) tells me are the “right” things to care about. Let’s be honest- I’m me, you’re you. I am weird and you are weird and everyone is a different strand of weird. So let’s just be our own weird selves and focus on the things that WE want to be weirdly great at. Because you being in pursuit of your unique weirdness is an awesome, meaningful, valuable contribution to everyone around you. Go forth and be YOU.

Realization 3: It’s not all or nothing. You don’t need a new year, a Monday, or a new journal to begin anew. The journey is an incredibly fun and awkward ride, with many notable downs and setbacks along the way. Know that, expect them, and be nice to yourself when you find yourself there. Chances are, you’re the only one who noticed yourself trip. Just smile, assess the situation, take 5 deep heavy-back-squat-style breaths, and start fresh in that very moment. You deserve it. You truly do and you have to believe that. 

Ok, now that the sappy part is over and you know where the thought process for the goal drafting came from, let’s look at some ideas you can use for your own 2019 journey. Knowing myself, I like to stick with daily and weekly goals, for (embarrassingly) even monthly goals are outside of my mental and emotional bandwidth at this point in my life (but that’s ok, because you know, the uniquely weird thing again). Find what timeline works best for you by allowing for more self check-ins during the first couple of months of the year to determine your best accomplishment strategy. Here’s an example: Are you consistently hitting those monthly goals or do you find yourself strained in week 3, just trying to keep it all from unraveling? If that’s you, weekly goals may be more your style. But if you’re on target for those longer goals, keep at it and check in with yourself again next month. Allow for some trial-and-error here: this part of the self-experimentation could be the most valuable thing you learn about yourself for a while. Don’t be embarrassed or disappointed by what you find. The implementation of the honest answer is what will ultimately help you achieve the most this year. 

So, look at the below goals and use them as inspiration. You can use them as they are or build on them to make them more personal. You shouldn’t strive to be a perfectly robotic form of yourself at the year’s end, so don’t pick all of them. Pick a few. Or choose one for each major category in your life (work, home, family, finances, personal, etc). You can tell those around you about your goals or keep them to yourself. As always, if we can help you in anyway, let us know and we’ll do our best to support you. But whatever you pick, promise me and promise yourself that these goals make sense for YOU and what YOU want 2019 to be. Not me. Not your family or friends. Not your Facebook feed. You.

Find the best way to track these goals and reassess regularly. Keep the big goals in mind, but craft smaller ones that will help keep you inspired. And, as always, base your goals in a greater sense of self-love than ever before. When you fall short of where you wanted to be, recognize and celebrate the courage it took for you to pursue it in the first place and then try a different strategy to get there. Eliminate the negative talk inside your head and be encouraging and real with yourself. 

2019 will be an awesome year for you. Really. Believe it. Now, do what you need to do to get ready and then go get after it. Make it wholeheartedly, shamelessly, and fearlessly yours. And let us know where we can help- Life is always easier with allies. 

I’ll finish with saying I think I can speak for the entire GCCF team when I say how incredibly excited we are to enjoy another awesome year as a gym community! For our members, it will undoubtedly be a period of crushing old personal records, getting stronger, building deeper friendships, and strengthening the greatness that is the GCCF family. Please know that Josh, myself, and the entire GCCF team feel incredibly privileged to be on this journey with you. 

We’re pumped to see what you all will accomplish this year. Let’s make 2019 one for the record books. We’re ready.

Annie