And I feel
Like I’ve been here before
Like I’ve been here before
And you know it makes me wonder
What’s going on under the ground, hmmm…
Do you know? Don’t you wonder?
What’s going on down under you?
We have all been here before,

We have all been here before…

Do you agree that most of us start our New Year the same way each and every year and it feels like déjà vu?

We begin with grand self improvement promises to ourselves about positive changes and ambitions that we want to accomplish. Whether it is relative to health, wealth or relationships, we sometimes set goals that are a stretch to accomplish. We begin to feel frustrated or inadequate when we can’t make headway into or achieve these lofty goals in short order. Then the resolutions fall by the wayside altogether in disappointment. How can we avoid making the same mistakes over and over each year?

It might be an idea to take baby steps, rather than giant steps with these goals.

Last year, I vowed to resume an exercise program, something that I had abandoned 5 years ago when I had started a new and demanding job. I didn’t start out by promising myself that I’d lose a set number of pounds or inches. I simply set a goal to begin a regular exercise program 2-3 times per week. I chose to begin practicing yoga, after a trial run with a “New to Yoga” introductory lesson series. This program of exercise was suitable for my age and my abilities and most importantly, I enjoyed it. I also wisely chose a studio that was convenient for me from both home and work so that I’d have no excuse to not attend.

Guess what? The plan worked! Because the studio was convenient and I enjoyed the yoga exercise philosophy, I practiced faithfully. And without really setting a weight loss goal, it naturally happened because I was exercising faithfully after work.

There was a double bonus to this resolution too.

As mentioned in previous blogs, I had also set a goal for 2012 to finally begin my Book Quest Journey. I didn’t set a time limit for completion, just that I had to begin my writing process in the New Year. And so, with practicing yoga after a long, and often stressful, work day, it cleared my mind and allowed me to concentrate on my “second shift”, of writing as many evenings as I could. Once I began the writing, it flowed, and I enjoyed it. As a result, and again without excessive stress, I completed my manuscript in less than a year. I am now working on trying to find a literary agent or a publisher to assist me with getting the book published.

So, the point of what I want to share is this:

Be pragmatic about your goals. Break them down into a series of steps to completion and within a reasonable time frame. Write this down, tell others about it, and stay focused. Don’t set yourself up for failure with a bar too high and with a hurried time schedule.

You might surprise yourself, as I did, if you set reasonable expectations. Stop the New Year’s déjà vu cycle once and for all!

A Happy New Year to All!