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  • Dr. Katie O'Connor

New Year No Goals! Getting more, grinding less.

Here we are again. That time of year when we reflect on the year past, and look ahead to the coming year. A time when many people will be setting goals for 2020 and then looking to forage ahead. Setting resolutions. But did you know that by February 80% of people will have given up on these resolutions and that only 8% will complete them by years end?

Setting goals and resolutions is not inherently a bad thing, after all, it you have nothing to aim for you aren't likely to hit the target right? That being said, it's often in how we set these goals that causes us to "fail" at achieving them. The big culprits that keep us from success are most commonly:

1. Setting too many goals

2. Creating too large a goal

3. Picking a goal outside of our real values

4. Making a resolution just to create "hustle"

So let's break these pitfalls down one by one.

Setting too many goals. We often feel that there are a lot of areas in our life that we could make improvements in, which is probably true. However, the more we spread our resources, the more likely we are to fall short as we cannot focus our energy everywhere at one time. The solution? Try listing out five to ten things that you might want to accomplish in the coming year. Take some time to really reflect on which matters most. Would achieving one or two of these goals actually impact the others? For example, a goal of earning 10% more income would certainly help you achieve another goal like going on a real vacation.

Setting unrealistic goals. If we consistently set goals that we fail at, we create a repeat pattern of failure in our brain. That leads us to often set goals while already subconsciously assuming we won't reach them. Creating a goal that sounds like something you really want and also feels achievable is extremely important. Sometimes setting smaller weekly or monthly goals is much easier on the brain than setting a big target for the entire year.

Making resolutions that aren't in line with our values. If there is anything to be learned in this life it might be that it is far more important to be happy than to be perfect. Let's say that you decide you want to lose 50lbs in 2020. You rock in January, getting back to the gym, eating clean and losing 9 lbs, only to drop 2lbs in February and gain a pound in March. Why does this keep happening?! If you look at what really makes you happy, you'll find your answer, and it's usually not food. Perhaps your highest values are family and social connections. A large majority of getting your fill of these highest values will likely revolve around food. Family dinners, date night outings, wine nights with the girls, treats with the kids after a sports event, it all comes down to eating something most of the time. So what to do? If you truly find that weight loss is important to you, but it still isn't your highest value, then set a goal that can help you be successful while honoring yourself. For instance make yourself a weekly plan of following the 80/20 rule. Eat 80% healthy and let the remaining 20% just be, guilt free. Be sure that you plan your 20% during those high value events with friends and family. Also, consider what types of things you could do with friends and family that doesn't revolve around food. Each week you make your 80/20 mark it off with a big check mark in your calendar and give yourself a high five!

Adding check boxes to the to-do list. If you're like me you might be a recovering to-do list junkie. I would always add more things to my list so that I could feel like I really had some important stuff to do! But doing that never really helped me get more done. In fact, it made me feel like I was constantly falling short. So I quit. Mostly. I started writing down only the tasks that were truly the most important few things that had to be done that week and one thing that I really wanted to do that week as well. In a culture that worships constant hustle and busyness, we find that we are happier, healthier, wealthier and more well rounded when we stick with the things that bring us joy and accomplish only the tasks that get us the results we want.

Let's resolve to make less goals and more memories. Take this reflection time to ask yourself what you really want, what you're really passion about and then resolve to do nothing more this year than give that to yourself. Because you deserve it. The world doesn't need more miserable people grinding it out at work or the gym. It needs more people with their lights on, laughing, loving and sharing their joyous passions with the world!

Dr. Katie O'Connor is the expert prenatal chiropractor at Life Naturally Chiropractic, an Orland Park, Illinois based chiropractic office specializing in the care of women before during and after pregnancy. Contact Dr. Katie O’Connor at Life Naturally Chiropractic for more information today.

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