The Best Year Yet – Routines and Rituals Make Goals Work
“I wish…” We do it all the time, don’t we? We learned about how to make wishes from fairy tales. Magically, what you desire appears, without any effort. That’s not how real life happens. Yet so many New Year’s Resolutions or goals are wishes. “I want to lose weight.” “I want to write a book.” “I want to start a new career.” These are only wants or wishes. And that’s why so many resolutions go unfulfilled.
Wishing, wanting and dreaming are actually quite important to our human experience. They are the genesis from which we create a desire to do something different, to be more.
We urge you to be a Dreamer and dream big. But don’t stop there. Being a Dreamer won’t make your dreams come true. They’ll eventually languish in a drawer and will never see the light of day. So what’s next?
After dreaming, people usually become Goal Setters. We’ve been taught to write out the specifics of our dream — lose 2 pounds every week so I can look good at my school reunion; write 1,000 words every morning so I’ll have a book ready for publishing by the end of the year. While that’s a good start, it’s also where many goals die within a week or two.
So people next become SMART Goal Setters. They break goals into baby steps, so they can be measured, analyzed, and tracked. We do believe goals have their place, if they’re Quick, Easy, and Enjoyable. However, the trouble with only using goals is that when you fail, you always feel like you’re starting over. That’s a motivation drain.
Something is still missing…especially since our lives have been so radically changed by 2020.
To achieve your Big Dream requires you to have a planned strategy that keeps you accountable, plus an environment that reduces distractions, plus a support system that keeps you motivated. Yet it actually goes deeper than that. It takes Routines and Rituals. These are the things that change who you are at your core, so you become your Big Dream!
Goals seldom work unless you have healthy, sustainable routines that make that goal the easiest, most logical thing to do. Routines create automaticity so that goals become effortless.
Let’s run through how this works…
Wish: I wish I had a practice of meditation.
Big Dream: If I had a daily practice of meditation, I could start each day calmly, with clarity and focus. I would get more done. I’d be kinder to my family. I’d handle stress better.
Goal: Meditate every day.
SMART Goal: Get up 15 minutes earlier than normal, before anyone else gets up, so I have quiet to meditate every morning for 10 minutes.
System & Strategy: I tell my family that I’m going to be getting up at 6 A.M. to practice meditation because I’m feeling stressed and I’d appreciate no one interrupting me. I will be available to them after 6:30. To get up earlier, I need to wind down and be ready for sleep by 9:30 P.M each night. At the end of the day, I review my day, especially reflecting on how a meditation practice would make the rough spots better. I set out my comfy meditation outfit and set my alarm. I go to sleep easily, because I’ve processed the day’s stressors and I’m free to relax.
Routine & Ritual: I slip out of bed well before my alarm goes off because I’m looking forward to my special me time. I put on my meditation outfit, visit the bathroom, drink some water and then go to my quiet place. I spread my mat. I spritz the air with my favorite essential oil. If the sun is rising, I watch it as I do my yoga stretches and breathing exercises. I’m careful to be mindful of and savor how my body responds to each move. I count to my special number. (If the sun isn’t up, I imagine it rising.) As I complete my meditation routine, I set my intention for the day by speaking it out loud and recording it in my journal. I put my mat away and get ready for the day. I do this again and again until it becomes part of my routine for personal wellness.
Do you think this process will work for you? If you’d like some help establishing a new routine and ritual for your morning, make sure to download our free Daily Start to Gratitude & Empowerment.
Even with the challenges we face, we believe you can make 2021 Your Best Yet. We invite you to join our Great Circle Conversation tomorrow, Thursday, December 3rd at 8 am PST/11 am EST. We’re going to be discussing what our 2021 focus will be. We’ll design our “Best Year Yet”. If you haven’t signed up to be a part of our Great Circle Community yet, simply click here to join us and we’ll send you the link.