Many of us rang in the New Year with family and friends while others enjoyed the festivities in the comfort of their own homes. But one common thread binds us all no matter how we celebrated and that's the feeling of hope and change that the beginning of a New Year brings. We try to leave the hardships of the previous year behind us and move forward with resolutions and optimism. We set goals for ourselves that we believe will improve our health, finances, or relationships. It can almost be compared to hitting the reset button but do these aspirations set us up for failure?
Don't get me wrong, having goals is healthy - it motivates us. Some goals, however, are set too high which in turn can have a negative effect. A goal needs to be seen as a ladder with many rungs; it's time consuming and tedious but a sure fire way for achieving success. Think of it this way - a war isn't won by one massive battle but a series of smaller ones. Of course, it's easier said than done. Perseverance seems to be the #1 culprit in sabotaging our desires. I wish I had the magic answer for keeping on track but I believe that when we constantly try to keep the focus on our goals eventually we change our habits and mindset.
Now, what about the problems that have been carried over from the previous year; the ones that have been plaguing you for quite some time? Some issues just can't be fixed or if they can it takes quite a bit of time, years even. Take me for example - I have Multiple Sclerosis and I will always have MS because there isn't any cure. With this disease comes flare-ups and there's nothing I can do to avoid them. It's a hard pill to swallow, kind of gets stuck in my throat sometimes. Sure I can avoid triggers that exasperate my symptoms and follow all of my neurologist's recommendations but beyond that it's out of my hands. Another example would be my financial struggles. I can and will take steps to try to improve my current situation but it'll be a long road to travel to get my family to where we are just at least living comfortably. Sadly, my health and financial situation are things that will probably plague me my entire life. With that in mind, a New Year doesn't always mean a fresh start or that things will magically become easier. This is what sets us up for failure which in turn leaves feelings of disappointment, shame, and self-loathing.
So, does this mean we should just give up? Does this mean we shouldn't set goals for ourselves. Hell, no! Trying to attain something better gives us purpose. Just don't make unrealistic goals for yourself or your family and remember - climb one rung on the ladder at a time and celebrate your little victories.