(Art Credit: Andrea Hernandez)
It's July. My New Year’s Resolution was to write one blog a month. This is my first one of the year.
Most New Year’s Resolutions stall or fail because the standard solution is out of tune with your natural rhythm and comfort level or there is too much pressure to jump on it all in January. In other words, the intent was good, but the method to achieve it required too much of a change to a schedule or would have you feeling “out of character.” If just thinking about doing an activity fills you with dread, odds are low that you will get around to it. Save the resolution by giving it a new spin!
Blogs, self-help books, and friends all seem to have the answer to the single greatest way to (fill in the blank here) in a surprisingly short time frame. It may be the one way that worked for the recommender, but that does not mean it will be right for you.
Your best shot at meeting your business and personal goals is to structure the related activities in a way that you may actually enjoy doing them, and that will fit into the often-unpredictable schedule and work/life balance of a freelancer. Tune into your personality. What makes you feel “In the Zone” and how can you align your resolutions with the conditions that get you there?
If you have resolved all of your resolutions, I salute you. You may relate to a woman I know who keeps a daily list and, while she is making the list, will write in items she has already done just so that she can feel the satisfaction of crossing them off! Whether it was landing a new client, upgrading a system or planning a long-awaited trip, enjoy riding the wave of your accomplishments. Since there are 6 months left in the year, consider adding new resolutions, or ones that build upon the original ones. A slower summer can help you focus on longer-term goals. If you enjoy the thrill of closure, try breaking complex goals down into tasks with short deadlines so you can still feel the satisfaction of checking the checkboxes along the way.
If you have resolved some of your resolutions, Congratulations! Give yourself a mid-year pat on the back. This is a good time to revisit the ones that didn’t make it and re-examine why. Is it no longer a goal? Did you write down too specific of a solution instead of the goal? For example, if you hate going to the gym, then writing down "go to the gym" is not going to get you there. Variety may be the key. If you can rephrase the intent to “live more health-consciously” it opens up the possibilities and even allows for creative experimenting with new activities and foods so that you achieve the goal cumulatively over the course of a year instead of “in 10 days.” Conversely, if you function better when you have a clear set of instructions, start by researching options, trying a few routines, and keeping the best parts of each one as you work towards a custom solution that you enjoy and can stick with. Either way, your journey, and plan might not be perfect in the eyes of an expert, but if it works for you “good enough” can end up being more effective than perfect.
If your list looks the same from year to year, and you make little to no progress on any of the items, its time to ask yourself if these are really your goals, or if this is a list of things you just think you are supposed to accomplish because “that’s what other people do.” No need to feel guilty; you can erase what does not ring true and make your first new resolution to work on defining what activities and personal projects will support the path that you determine will make you a better, well, YOU. You may find that you are already doing some of them, and they can bloom by being embraced and nourished.
Be creative! No one knows you better than you, so listen to yourself to find a fresh look at resolutions where you look forward to the process of resolving as much as the result.
For example, if you feel more alive around other people, you could join an accountability group or sign up a friend with a similar goal so you can work and support each other in tandem. If you feel at your best when helping the community, can you volunteer for an activity that is in alignment with your new personal goal? If you want more reading time, can you take public transportation instead of driving a few days a week? What can you shift or combine in your life to make room?
As for my blogging, I’ve learned to trust my tendency to go on a “slow brew” for a while as ideas incubate in the background and then, one day, suddenly be compelled to tunnel into a project and be massively productive. Routine, schedules, and maintenance are my nemeses. I work best by shifting priorities (and calendar “to do” entries”) continually to meet the needs of life and the requirements of clients while maintaining some type of hiccup progress in my business expansion and personal endeavors. To me, this ebb and flow feel natural. It allows me to maintain a variety of interests and keep both productive and sane within the undulating work schedule of a freelance consultant. That’s my “Zone.” I am signing off now – I’ve got more blogs to write! Good luck with the projects you take on for the rest of 2022.