Updated: Mar 10
Why You Shouldn't Make New Year's Resolutions
I don’t have goals. I am entering into a New Year, a new decade and Q1 of 2020 with no goals at all. I am a small business owner. I have dreams that I want to accomplish and money that needs to be made, but goals, I don’t have them… and here’s why:
For years I would buy the planners, host the Vision Board parties and do all of the things to prepare for the clean slate that the oncoming New Year always promised. I would write the vision and make it plain. I would cut out the elaborate pictures in magazines and make my Pinterest inspiration board of the life that I wanted and I would work and work and work to make my goals happen and often I would get to the end of the year, and I would look back over the list patting my back and proud of what I had achieved for the year, but was rarely happy.
All this goal-setting and negotiating and preparing got me to my goals but didn’t always bring me joy and I often found myself setting goals that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with those around me.
Since 2017, I have taken a new approach to entering the New Year. What I like to do now is spend the month of December really thinking about my year and reflecting. I spend time asking myself a few questions:
What did I like about the year?
What needs to change?
What do I want more of in my life?
What brings me joy and what keeps my peace?
Instead of setting lofty goals, I have decided to find one word to represent what I want more of in the New Year and one scripture that supports that word. I use those two tools to guide every decision I make as I go forth into the year and make them the checks and balances that get me close to the intentions I have set for my life and then I leave room for the Lord to do His work, to speak His will and to allow life to happen.
January for the last four years has been a time of fasting and prayer. It’s where I take that reflection time from December and start to dream about what is possible for the rest of the year. January has also been key in helping me to slow down, to consecrate my heart and to hear what it is that God might have in mind for me. I find this time of year to be sacred in positioning me toward my life goals and it takes the pressure off of an upcoming year and makes it so much easier for me to function through my life and to allow room for things to take time, as they often do.
My friend Alex wrote an incredible post recently about the magic of setting intentions vs. goals and how much relief we get when we allow our goals to be shaped by the Lord. You can check out her post here.
Now if this all feels too crazy for you and if you LOVE to have a plan like I used to, my sister and best friend, Melinda wrote a post that covers six steps to goal-setting and I find her approach to be simple, applicable and full of good advice and you can check out her wisdom here.
A few other suggestions for goal-setting that I have also loved and often incorporate are:
Spend the 1st day of the year doing and manifesting things you want to see happen for your entire year and then use that as a rough draft for how you show up to your day-to-day life.
Pick a scripture that serves as a reminder of the type of year you want to have and print it out and place it everywhere you need the reminder – on the fridge, your desk at work, mirror in your bathroom, your steering wheel.
Pick a word that represents your intentions for the year. Study the word. Understand how the word fits into your life and use it as a guide for every decision you make and if things don’t line up with that word, you know whatever it is you’re considering is not for you.
Divide goals into quarters and focus on goals quarter by quarter – set small goals for winter, then spring, then summer and fall. Divide them into sections and revisit them on the first Monday of each month. A few categories to consider are below:
However you choose to enter the New Year, have some grace for 2020. The bottom line is this year, like the ones that have come before it and the ones that will come soon after, is going to do what it's going to do and at the end of the day we have little control over what happens. The best thing we can do is show up ready to take it on, be consistent and prepare ourselves to be open to wherever life might take us.
A few of my 2020 intentions:
to drink more water
to lighten and loosen up, life isn't that serious
to observe the Sabbath
to find joy in the daily routine
practice more gratitude
to make more money doing less
to celebrate the miracles the Lord has done in my life
For anyone who stopped by to read this post, I am praying blessing and increase over your life, your visions and your dreams, today and always.
It is well.
With strength, courage and wisdom,