Happy New Year!
As we all already know this is the time of year where people make resolutions for all sorts of things. Whether it is breaking bad habits, losing weight or achieving new personal goals the New Year signifies an opportunity to start afresh with a clean slate. Personally, I have never been one to do resolutions because I find by midyear I have not kept up with what I set out to achieve and that always left me feeling like I failed in some way. Instead for the last decade, I have chosen to continue to build or improve on things from the previous year. I have found doing this in practice empowering and positive to my overall confidence and well-being.
It is good to have goals to work towards but I believe the goals you set yourself should be realistic and achievable so that a sense of accomplishment can be felt when reached. As a survivor who has thrived in many areas of my life in the aftermath of abuse, I understand it may seem hard to believe this is achievable. I understand how difficult it can be to believe your goals and dreams can become reality when most days you battle with anxiety, depression or confidence issues on some level. To reach where you have never been before may require sacrifice, will demand that you focus on the path ahead and definitely requires perseverance and strength, but the good news is it is achievable if you have a plan. Having a plan may involve getting support and guidance from someone who has been on the same journey that you are about to embark on. If you do not have access to that kind of support this organisation, Daughter Arise offers a mentoring and befriending service that helps with issues exactly like this so please visit the ‘our services’ page on this website for more details. In the meantime I have put together some tips I hope you find useful in helping you work towards getting the best out of 2017.
In my previous blog post ‘Reflection’ I mentioned how important it is to have times by yourself to reflect upon the direction your life is taking. This can be done in various ways-journaling, writing goal lists or even writing a vision letter. This is a pro-active exercise where you write a letter to yourself with a brief summary of where you are now but the emphasis is on where you hope to be by end of year. You could put letter into two sections and even name specific areas you hope to have a breakthrough on, then place letter in an envelope and open it back up at the end of year to see if those areas have improved or been achieved. I strongly recommend in a way that suits you best, that you keep a record of your reflection time because it is a great tool to encourage, challenge and help you keep in mind where you want to be. Last year I identified several key areas in my life where I have seen growth and personal change and areas that are still a major challenge. I am not where I want to be yet but I have taken encouragement from my successes and use this as continued building blocks towards my bigger goals and aims.
Ready, Set, Goal!
What do you want to achieve in 2017? As mentioned for me it is to continue to build upon what I achieved in 2016. How about you? Is there something you want to start but keep putting off? Or is there a particular issue you want to seek support in to overcome? If you have not thought about this question before but have something on your heart or mind that you would like to do, maybe this is the year to do it! Remember it is not about how big your list is you can just have one or two goals. It is important to note that whatever the goal- big or small, your determination will be required and your mind must be focused.
Okay so you may not have achieved what you set out to do in 2016. You had good intentions but an issue stood in the way of you and your goal. Do you know what that issue is? I know a lady who is really passionate about flower arranging. She had done the college course, completed the coursework and had a vision and plan of what she needed to do in order to get to her overall goal of starting her own business. There was just one problem that stood between her and the first step of the journey towards her vision; fear of the unknown as she had not done this before. At first the fear seemed overwhelming to find a job in her area of interest so that she could gain practical experience and lots of questions crossed her mind about her ability to go for a job, but once she identified fear was the cause of her hesitancy she sought practical support to deal with it. If it is money, personal support, lack of confidence or any other issue that is standing between you and your goal, with a plan no matter the obstacle help is often available to overcome it.
In order to reach big goals small steps are the strategy needed in order to get there. I am big on lists, vision boards and planners to help me plan short, medium and long term goals. I like to plan the foundation and small steps needed to achieve my aim and I revise where necessary. Planning small steps makes your goals achievable and help ensure your goal does not become overwhelming therefore cause you to give up.
So it could be filling in a form for a course and finally sending it! That is a small step worth celebrating because for you it may have been hard to fill in that form because of anxiety, dyslexia, depression or because you have not done anything for a long while but still that is a small successive step worth celebrating! Those next steps- getting accepted on the course, starting the course are all small steps in the bigger picture! This is just an example but the implementation of small steps and celebrating them will help you in whatever you have set out to do. I celebrate every accomplishment I have achieved; writing blogs posts every month, starting Daughter Arise and other things. I never use to celebrate until a couple of years ago when I looked back at all I had been through and realised it is a God given miracle I am still here! I like to go for lunches, facials, manicures or walks in nice places to somewhere special as a pat on the back for any achievements I have done. It is a great confidence booster!
Setbacks are not failure – Try Again!
If I had a pound… as the saying goes… I would be a rich woman!!! Yes, I have had more setbacks than I care to remember!
Challenges, setbacks and issues are part of the course in doing things you have never done before, that is why I said perseverance and strength is needed! Beware because if you have low self-esteem or confidence issues setbacks will have you feeling that giving up is the best option and that it was better not to try in the first place! From experience I know staying in this mind-set is a very inviting place to be but I am encouraging you to keep going and push through! Evaluate what cause the setback and then find a way around it! You do not have to do it alone and having support when these times come, because they do will make setbacks easier to recover from. As long as you are living you have another opportunity to try again and courage will take you far. Press ahead! I had people tell me I would amount to nothing, they prayed for my downfall but look who is here now as a Leader, Author and Visionary, ME! I doubted my abilities, did not believe I could achieve my dreams but God never doubted me! I give glory to God Most High because left to me my setbacks and other negativity would have caused me to give up and sit in the ashes of the aftermath of abuse. Setbacks have allowed me to learn and grow, given me more experience and made me a resilient and determined woman. You are not a failure because of any setbacks you have had and do not let other people (or yourself!) tell you otherwise! You will only fail if you give up completely. The key is to keep focused! Where there is life there is hope.
Carpe diem! Seize the day! Choose life! Do not let your past, other peoples negative words or the fear of the unknown stop you from making the best of your life this year. Aim for your goals, reach for your dreams you have nothing to lose!