We are four days in to 2018 and some of us (me me me!) are having a fantastic year so far (yes, all four magical days) and are focused on getting everything we can out of this year – and evolving and changing along with the inevitable seasons to come.
For some of you, the start to the year was a little more difficult. Perhaps you didn’t spend enough time at the end of 2017 thinking about your goals and ambitions for 2018 to set your goals or resolutions – or perhaps your New Years Eve party has had you recovering for the majority of this year – and you found yourself catapulted back into work the moment you felt half-normal.
I’m here to tell you that none of that matters. 2018 technically stated 4 days ago, but new beginnings, goals and resolutions can start ANY day and at ANY time. You can quit smoking tomorrow – or you can quit right now. You can decide you want to spend more time exercising this year – and you can plan which gym or yoga class or park run you will attend now – and setting that plan and intention is that goal in successful motion – right now.
If this all sounds a little foreign to you, if you are new to meditating or goal setting, I want you to grab a piece of paper and a pencil and find some cushions to help you sit upright but be comfortable. You might like to try sitting cross legged on the floor, and place a cushion under each knee to take the pressure off your hips.
Close your eyes and try to sit up straight and breathe deeply and slowly. Count slowly as you inhale, right down into the base of your stomach and all the way up through your chest, and count slowly as you exhale, squeezing the air out of your stomach. Inhale deeply again, imagining the air passing up through your straight spine and continue to count as you exhale. (start back at 1 at the start of each inhale or exhale.) When you feel calm and comfortable, start to imagine that you are breathing in good energy and that it is flowing through you. Imagine it passing through the base of your body right up into the crowd of your head and flowing around you like a sphere or bubble around your body. In this beautiful calm space, sit for a few moments and then allow your thoughts to wander to the most loved version you have of yourself – not love from others but love for yourself, for your potential, for what you dare to believe you can be.
Slowly bring your palms together and rub them against one another until they are warm. Place them over your closed eyes and slowly blink your eyes open into your warm palms, allowing light to enter from the cracks in your fingers. Pull your hands away and reach for your pen and paper.
Write down all of the sensations you felt during that exercise – fear, discomfort, joy, hesitation, excitement – observe it all.
Now write down all of the hopes and dreams you had for yourself, the observations about that “ideal you” that you imagined, what kind of person that person was, what they were doing or wearing or eating, where they were in the world or what they were capable of.
These things are you big goals – and big goals are powerful and emotional things. It takes courage to face our biggest goals or deepest desires, mostly because we are afraid of failure. Afraid of failing at achieving those goals and proving that we are not that person that we so badly want to be.
So the secret is – to understand the steps you need to take to be able to reach those goals. If you want to be a marathon runner but have never run before, you need to focus on having the goal of running 5km first. To be able to run 5km you will need to first walk 5km, then walk/run 5km (jog for two minutes, walk for one minute repeat until you’ve moved 5km) and then eventually if you can do this 3 times a week, you may be able to run 5km, and then shift that goal to 10km, to a half marathon and eventually to a half marathon.
These steps towards the “big dream” have been dubbed “microgoals” – but I urge you to resist that term, because if you’ve never run before and you have a very sedentary lifestyle, aiming to run/walk 5km at least 3 times per week is no “micro” task. Its a change – a big one – but but allowing yourself to make manageable goals and aim for attainable changes in your life right now, you can reward yourself with the satisfaction of knowing you are walking towards your goals, and all of the self love that comes with that.
So, if you haven’t already, go back to those “big dreams” and find the small dream first step that leads to each of those dreams.
Those are your goals.
Write them down, put them somewhere you can see them (if you want them to be private you can paste them in the front page of your diary rather than on. wall – but you should feel PROUD of your goals and share them with your friends and family.)
Reward yourself with some self love for setting those intentions, and take the baby steps towards those initial goals.
Happy New Goals, Happy New Day, Happy New Year.