Without fail, New Year’s Eve always feels a bit like my birthday. There’s always a big to-do: I reflect on my accomplishments and goals for the upcoming year, committing to changing basically everything in my life. Then I expect that at the stroke of midnight I’ll magically feel different, perhaps a bit older, wiser and more mature – and surprise – I never do! My goals aren’t magically met, I’m not 10 pounds lighter, and no wrinkle or grey hairs appear to remind me of the passing of time (I usually discover those while sitting in D.C. traffic when the sun is hitting my face and hair at just the right angle).
The truth is, on Jan. 1, I always feel exactly the same as I did on the previous day. This year I’m switching it up. I’m measuring my success by my growth and how my reactions to life’s inevitably rocky events have improved. I’ve learned the power of boundaries and saying no, and without feeling guilty about it. My slightly fiery personality has cooled from 110 degrees to a nice and comfortable 80 degrees. I’m giving myself time to process before acting, and finding that I’m generally a happier and better-rounded person.
It’s hard to accomplish these improvements from a once-a-year resolution list. Instead, my life improvements this year came from daily affirmations, counting to 10 when I’m angry (literally), working out, therapy (yes, I said it!), traveling, actively seeking out opportunities to learn and grow, trying to listen more and talk less, constantly revisiting and updating my goals, seeking purpose and giving thanks. Last but not least, I’ve been kinder to myself.
Late last year, I combined my love of cooking, traveling and writing, and created a website and brand called Tall Hungry Girl. It’s a creative outlet for me that gives me joy, and hopefully it will make a small impact on someone – whether through good food recipes or tips on mental health. So many things happened last year that it’s hard for me to even remember everything, but I do know I’m proud of both my successes and failures in 2018.
Instead of making a New Year’s resolution on Dec. 31 that may or may not fail, I created a revised version – a list of achievements from 2018 and a vision board for 2019, which I’m displaying prominently in my house. This way, the vision board helps me remember every day what my goals are, and provides me with a silent, yet over-present and slightly nagging reminder of what I still need to accomplish.
Here are some tips for working to accomplish your personal and professional goals in the New Year:
First things first, make a list of your 2018 accomplishments – one of your professional accomplishments to hang up at work, and one of your personal accomplishments to hang up at home. This will provide you with a good spring board to move forward from.
Make a list of your personal and professional goals – again placing one at home and one at work.
Announce your goals to friends and family. Not only is this a way to get support and ideas for your goals, it also creates a gentle source of accountability. It’s easy to quit when no one knows you started to begin with.
Don’t look at someone’s social media highlight reel and think it’s a 360-degree reality, because it’s not. Comparison is the absolute thief of joy. Your journey is your own, and unique to you. I saw a photo of my friend’s huge accomplishment today on social media. She’s was hired to do communications for a newly-elected congresswoman. Because we talk frequently, I know all about the hard work she’s put into her career that got her to this point of starting her own business. By just seeing the image on social media, without knowing the context of her journey or being fully aware of the many long nights and hard work it took her to get there, it would be easy to grow envious of the accomplishment. Again – a lesson that we’re all on our own journey.
Get a hobby! If you have an outlet in your personal life that makes you happy, that generally bleeds over to your professional life and breeds creativity in the workplace too.
Happy 2019, and hopefully you accomplish everything you set out to do!
A version of this article appeared in the Credit Union Times.