There’s a saying that “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” If you’re separated or divorced, chances are high there was a lot of difficulty in your past. Living in denial of the past means that you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to harvest the incredible wisdom a life challenge, like divorce, has to offer you. As this year winds down, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the year and harvest those pearls of wisdom so you can create a strong, happy future for yourself. It’s also a great time to acknowledge and honor yourself for the progress you’ve made over the past year.
What are some of the benchmarks of progress that tell you whether you’re on track? There are so many different ways that we can gauge our progress. One of my favorite musicals is “Rent” by the late Jonathan Larson. The song “Seasons of Love” frames it this way: “525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife...525,600 journeys to plan. 525,600 minutes - how can you measure the life of a woman or man?” You are the best judge of the benchmarks you that would best support you in living the greatest expression of yourself.
Here are a few tips and questions to increase your chances of achieving your goals for the coming year!
Take some time to reflect honestly on this past year.
Before you rush ahead to make your “to do” list for next year, take the time to harvest your wisdom from 2007. Take a look at the year gone by and ask yourself these questions:
1. What were some of your greatest accomplishments last year?
2. What worked well for you and why?
3. What didn’t work so well for you last year?
4. What lessons can you learn or what would you do differently next time?
5. Take a mental snapshot of you on January 1st last year and take one of you today. What are the 3-5 key differences you see in your mindset, your skills and your emotional well-being?
6. Brainstorm a list of everything you’d like to acknowledge yourself for from the past year. Make sure you list at least 25-50 items. (Writing last year's acknowledgment list can be one of them!)
Set Your Goals for 2008
If you were to choose 3-5 important goals that would give you the greatest sense of satisfaction for the coming year, what would they be? Make sure your goal is clear, measurable and within your own control. Having a goal that your ex-spouse gets a personality transplant would not be a viable goal! If you feel your goal is really something you “should” do, double-check and see if it’s really your own goal or if you are importing someone else’s wishes for you. Set some clear time parameters as to when you’re going to start and when you aim to be finished. Put in place whatever structures you need to hold you accountable for action. Asking a trusted friend or a coach to hold you accountable can make all the difference.
Write Your Goals Down!
Studies have shown that the likelihood of people achieving their goals increases enormously when the goals are written down. Writing goals down will allow you to focus more clearly on them. Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles, recommends writing them down on index cards and reviewing them at least twice a day, including reading them out loud. It seems obvious, but write them down in your daytimer! It’s amazing how often people (myself included) forget to block off time towards accomplishing goals and then wonder why they are hard to attain.
Keep It Simple
It’s tempting to start a new year with all kinds of goals that address every area of your life. Taking on a comprehensive overhaul of your life - physical health, finance, relationships, home environment, career etc. -- may seem like a good idea, but it’s hard to sustain the focus and energy to tackle everything all at once. Set yourself up for success, not overwhelm. Keep it simple and focus on the one or two areas that would give you the greatest sense of accomplishment. Keep the steps to your goals bite-sized and manageable. Chip away at your goal until it’s complete and then you can re-assess and create new goals.
Author and spiritual divorce coach, Carolyn B. Ellis, founded Thrive After Divorce, Inc. to help separated and divorced individuals improve relationships, increase self-confidence and save time and heartache. She is the award-winning author of the best-selling The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive After Divorce. If you want simple life-changing tips for single parenting, visit http://www.thriveafterdivorce.com now to receive a FREE report.
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