Ok. Take a breath. 2016 was pretty bad. In a year that saw the death of David Bowie, the election of Donald Trump and the news that Great British Bake Off is moving to Channel 4 (sans Mary Berry, Mel, and Sue *gasp*), it’s hard to reflect on it with any kind of gratitude.
With a plethora of articles, memes and social media postings declaring 2016 to be THE WORST YEAR EVER, I decided to take a look back on my own year. I rifled through my drawers and found the notebook I had bought way back in January. On the first page of the notebook I had written down my goals for 2016.
On the list: Complete a 10k, climb Ben Nevis, go running twice a week, cook more, eat more vegetables, read one book a month..
The list went on. Out of the 16 goals I had set myself for 2016, how many had I completed? Four. Maybe five if I was kind to myself.
So, I probably should have felt like a failure, right? Except, I didn’t. I just laughed. I laughed at the naivete of my year-younger self. Yes, they were achievable goals but did I really believe after not running for 23 years of my life, that the 24th would be the year I would discover my passion for it?
I had heaps of optimism for becoming this ‘better’ person in 2016, but ultimately I am ‘better’; just in different ways than I could have planned.
How do you measure a year?
Although I am disappointed to see that I didn’t achieve some of the bigger goals I had set for myself this year, I did achieve some of the minor ones: I got to visit four new counties, made new friends and picked up new hobbies.
The list of goals are definitely things I want to achieve, but I think that when I made them, I thought that ticking them off would result in a “good year”, that I could somehow measure how successful the year was this way.
Time is arbitrary. I could ‘achieve’ more between February and May next year than I have in the last year. There are some weeks or months where you just get stuff done, and some weeks and months where you just have fun.
Don’t get me wrong, I really wish I had climbed Ben Nevis this year. I wish I had completed a 10k and I wish I could have found my dream job.
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? I HAD AN AMAZING YEAR WITHOUT ANY OF THESE THINGS HAPPENING. And I’m not going to feel bad about it.
You can’t measure your year based on what are sometimes frivolous, trivial and idealised goals. You have to look at what you did achieve, not what you didn’t.
#Goals are for life, not just for New Year
New Years Resolutions aren’t a good idea because they are time constrained. If you don’t start your diet by January 7th, you’re probably going to think ‘Oh sod it, yet another resolution failed’.
Everyone loves the idea of a fresh start, but when December 31st turns into January 1st, you don’t magically turn into a yoga-loving, kale eating philanthropist. You’re still the same old you.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t set goals. Goals drive us and give us purpose, but don’t beat yourself up for not achieving them immediately. This year, we got so caught up mourning a Gorilla through the endless medium of memes that we forgot the shining beacon of hope that was Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first ever Academy Award.
Leo didn’t win his Oscar the first year he was nominated. In fact, between 1994 and 2016, Leo was nominated 6 times before eventually winning. It’s a convulated metaphor, I know, but greatness takes time. It takes more than a year to become who you want to be. It takes a lifetime of aspiration and determination.
Unfortunately, we’re a society that wants everything now. We want to be skinny tomorrow, we want to go travelling but we don’t want to spend two years saving, we want to pick up a new hobby but we don’t want to work at it, we want to immediately be the BEST!
Ultimately, this is why many of us fail at our resolutions: either we don’t want them hard enough or we just don’t have enough dedication to see them through past February.
How can coaching help you achieve your goals?
For me, the best thing about coaching is it helps bring your goals to life. If you share your goals with someone else, not only can they help motivate you, but they provide you with certain deadlines and short term goals that can help push you to get where you need to be. They can talk you through options and help you work on aspects of yourself that might be holding you back.
In High School, you had teachers and guidance counsellors to push you to be the best you. At University, you have tutors who you can e-mail or consult at any time to talk through your work. But once you’re out in the real world, you don’t have the same level of support.
If there’s something you want to make happen in 2017 but need help getting your feet off the ground, then considering trying out Know You More. Your first introductory session is completely free. There are no ties. Your own personal coach will help you get to grips with what exactly it is that you want, before helping you create the steps and plans to get there. And if it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. There is literally nothing to lose, so what are you waiting for?