Setting intentions for a new year. Be careful about allowing insecurity, fear, or apprehension to discourage you from working towards your aspirations.
BY BRENT HEINZE
At this time of year, many of us start thinking about those pesky new resolutions that we will thoughtfully plan out and then often leave twitching by the side of the road around March or April.
It’s not usually difficult to identify aspects of ourselves or our lives that we want to change, but it can be challenging to develop solid ways to achieve these desires and keep the motivation to work towards them. There are so many personal and professional goals that we can set, but with limitless possibilities also has the pitfall of endless solutions. We can get stuck in thinking about the best ways to achieve something and never actually work towards accomplishing them.
Make sure your goals are realistic and attainable, but also give yourself opportunities to identify when you have made some progress instead of just focusing on successfully reaching the finish line.
In our culture of pool parties, shirtless dancing, and other social engagements, we can struggle to feel confident with our image and achievements, especially when we compare ourselves to others. It can also be difficult to face challenges relating to our own concerns about self-worth, confidence, relationships, and self-esteem. It’s important to get in the mindset to get excited and poised for personal change with some fantastic new adventures. Be careful about allowing insecurity, fear, or apprehension to discourage you from working towards your aspirations. Consider working on parts of your life that will benefit you. You don’t have to chase a perfect body or a fancy car. Instead of focusing on strictly physical changes and material possessions, you may want to embrace goals relating to having fun, creating strong support circles, and building a life worth living. You can continue to work on improving your appearance and overall health, but don’t feel that you must run out for Botox treatments or emergency liposuction. You don’t need to drink fresh squeezed organic juice, eat kale chips, sign up for yoga, or have perfect tan lines. Try not to forget that most people care more about an engaging personality and a big smile than some version of perfection.
Make sure your goals are realistic and attainable, but also give yourself opportunities to identify when you have made some progress instead of just focusing on successfully reaching the finish line. Change takes time and success does not just need to be measured when you complete a task. Feel proud of sticking to your plan while cutting yourself some slack when you don’t live up to your own expectations. If you fall off the wagon, it’s okay. Just pick yourself up, dust off, and start working again. Things rarely go according to plan and unexpected challenges tend to pop up sometimes.
Try to determine if your goals have been created because you truly want to achieve them or if you have convinced yourself that you need them to gain acceptance from others. The idea that we need to look or act in certain ways to be accepted should remind us about our early days of growing up queer. Most of us wanted to fit in with the rest of the crowd despite the fact that most of us knew there was something significantly different about us. In our culture, we have worked hard to get accepted by the rest the world, but we still struggle with gaining acceptance of ourselves within our own community. It’s part of the human condition to struggle to find our self-worth, feeling fulfilled, and developing pride in who we are and what we have accomplished.
Finally, evaluate if you are getting the results you expected. Thankfully, there is rarely only one solution to solve any problem and you can get to where you’re going in many ways. Stay on your course but be open to changing directions or methods for achieving your goals. Work on feeling proud of your efforts and celebrate your successes. Your New Year’s resolutions will thank you for it.
Brent Heinze has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and works as a life coach in Southern California (Brent@BeginTheShift.org).