Below find this article by the creator of Know Your Why Recovery which was featured by our friends at Social and Relevant. The original publication link is https://socialandrelevant.wordpress.com/2020/01/01/guest-writer-chris-dorian/
The focus of this article is creating change in the new year but is relevant at any time change is needed.
Preparing for Success and Growth in the New Year
Chris Dorian, Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Founder of Know Your Why Recovery
I am not a writer. Well, I am more of a free form poet, articles and blogs are not my forte. I wrote this article as a way to begin a long term goal of mine- blogging. Join me on this journey and together we will learn something.
If you are looking to change a behavior, an outlook, or you want to start making progress toward some new goals- the best time to do that is right now. I mean it. Not tomorrow, not in a week, not a month. If something needs to be changed start now. Start moving, go. Make the change.
However, human beings like to attach meaning to dates. And why not? They create significance out of just another day. Dates give us a starting point and hopefully time to prepare for whatever it is that we are doing.
Dates give us a point to look from. They give us a time to celebrate. Dates give both value and meaning to our accomplishments. So, every year around December and January, we go through the process of identifying “New Year’s Resolutions.” We then prepare for that change that we want to make.
Many of these resolutions go unmet or quickly forgotten. With some tips that you’ll find below, you can prepare yourself for greater self-growth and increase your chances of being more successful with your resolutions for the New Year. If “New Year’s Resolutions” are not your style, these tips can be helpful for anytime that you choose to want to start the process of change.
This three step pattern is a great way to approach the New Year and prepare for growth. Keep in mind, these steps are not as simple as identifying your goals and making a plan. These steps involve some deeper examination inward, so that the goals for change that we set are meaningful and relevant.
This stage is critical for new growth. Often we neglect it and we create goals or seek change that doesn’t always match with where we are and where we really want to be.
Take a look at the past year think back to your successes and shortcomings. What worked for you and what did not? What did you contribute to your successes, but how did you also contribute to your shortcomings? This will allow you to reflect on what comes next, where to “steer your ship.” Reflecting and reviewing will give you some tips on what to repeat and what not to repeat.
Next explore your thoughts and feelings towards your successes and shortcomings. What are your thoughts and feelings about what was accomplished or not accomplished? Thoughts and feelings drive our behavior, so this is an important step that can not be missed.
Is there anything outstanding, missed, or left on the table? This includes any outstanding rewards for your successes and correction plans for shortcomings. Acknowledge both the good and bad. Give yourself a pat on the back when deserved but also learn from what did not go your way. A negative experience without a lesson learned is not beneficial to us or our time.
Finally, ask yourself these questions:
What can I change? What do I need to change? What do I want to change? What are at the roots of the issues which have led me to seek growth and change? We are not defining our new goals yet, but we are starting to bring on ideas.
The repair phase has many difficult components, but it allows us to heal in preparation for our journey. Apologies, amends, and forgiveness all happen here. If we neglect these components, we leave behind loose ends and obligations. These can come back and be barriers that hinder growth and success.
Do you owe anyone (yourself included) an apology? Do you have a need to “make it right?”
Ask yourself, “How can I forgive myself and others for misgivings?” This is not as easily answered, especially when it comes to forgiving the self, but it is necessary.
Think of the setbacks or shortcomings from your reflection and review phase. How do you truly see them? Refine what they mean to you. If necessary, change your mindset towards them. This is similar to pulling the lesson out of a negative experience. If you view these setbacks as just temporary or as a bump in the road that you learned from as opposed to a failing, you will be in a better mindset to grow.
This is where we truly prepare and set the stage for our future growth. The other phases were important, but if we don’t adequately energize ourselves we will stagnate. You don’t leave for a road trip with the fuel gauge on “E,” do you?
Find your “Why?” What motivates and drives you? Why do you need this growth, this change? What meaning does it have for you personally? How do I matter and fit into the bigger picture? The answers to these questions will not only push you and keep you on the track of self-growth but will give you a compass to guide you on your journey.
Take care of any small tasks to help you get your plate as clean as you can for the New Year. Accomplishing even the small tasks in preparation for your bigger change will make you feel great.
Make your plans for change and enlist in help. Take all of the self-examination you have done thus far and set your goals. Combine your goals with your desired growth, change, and “why.” When setting formal goals, be sure to make them SMART goals (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based). Then identify where you can use the help and who can support and assist you in your growth plan. You are not alone. We increase our success when we utilize our help and support.\
Define your milestones and how you are going to reward yourself along the way. We do not always get recognition or reward from others, so we need to plan on doing it ourselves.
Visualize yourself implementing your plan and what it will be like to meet your milestones. Even visualize shortcomings. This will help prepare you for any unexpected situations that impact your plan.
There you have it. The three-step plan to ensure your success and growth in the New Year. Though change is a daunting task, approaching it in an organized manner and preparing appropriately will ease some of the stress we put ourselves through.