By Sandy Olene
WGU Student Success Specialist
Does the very idea of declaring a New Year’s resolution make you cringe, or does it bring a sense of hope for change in the upcoming year?
January can be a time of reflection. Think about the past year: You can learn from your experiences and renew your priorities and goals.
Are you a part of the 40% who create New Year’s resolutions for yourself, or do you avoid creating resolutions because past resolutions went unfulfilled? It might be easiest to give up, or not even start writing goals due to past “failures.” Maybe you have convinced yourself that you just can’t change, so what’s the point in trying?
How do you let go of the past to create space for possibilities in your future?
Many people are stuck in a cycle of self-defeating behavior that can paralyze them from making any forward movement in their lives, from achieving the things that are important. Make this time of year work for you by creating an environment that supports positive change and forward movement towards goal or resolutions.
10 Ways to Cultivate an Environment for Success:
- Be aware of self-defeating thoughts. When a negative thought enters your mind, visualize yourself setting it aside and not giving it any energy. Letting negative thoughts swirl in your mind may be a habit. It takes energy to continue that negative thought swirl. Think about the possibilities that could happen if you free up your energy by stopping the negative thought swirl. Try writing your thoughts out on paper. Create two columns. In the left column, write those ever-present negative thoughts. Then in the right column, write down its opposite—a positive self-statement. Once you have finished, read and reread the positive thoughts list. Spend your energy focusing on the positive. Change your mind; change your life.
- Spend your energy on things you can control and less (or no) energy on things you cannot control. You cannot control other people or that which has occurred in the past. You can control your reactions to people, and you can control what you do in the present moment. Allow yourself the space to create possibilities for the future by focusing on what you can do at this very moment. The future begins right now.
- Write things down. Write out a weekly schedule. Try to get your daily activities into somewhat of a routine. Let that routine do the heavy lifting for you. Make copies of your weekly schedule, and place it in the high-traffic areas of your house.
- Communicate with your inner support network. Schedule a weekly family meeting. Share your weekly schedule with them. Have an expectations conversation. It can be a two-way street. Talk about what your family can expect from you during the week and what you can expect from your family.
- Build from your successes, no matter how small. Create the foundation with small increments of change. Be happy with your progress, reward yourself, and make it fun!
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Know that your environment affects you, which can be positive or negative. Your family and friends help shape your values and behaviors, so surround yourself with people who can give you a boost, not drag you down.
- Implement radical self-care. Being a student at WGU and juggling all the other priorities in your life can take a lot of energy. Make yourself the priority, so that you can work at your optimal level in all areas of your life. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Schedule the recommended 150 minutes of exercise into your weeks. Eat healthily. Go in for those yearly checkups.
- Learn how to say “no.” No is not a bad word. Learning to say “no” to requests of your time can free up the space you need to can take better care of yourself and avoid burnout.
- When something does not go according to plan or a mistake has been made, dust yourself off and jump back on the horse. It does you no good to beat yourself up over past mistakes. Make a point to learn from your mistakes and move on, move forward.
If you are looking for goal-setting ideas and motivation techniques, or if you are interested in a coaching conversation, please request an appointment with a Student Success Specialist.
Start today to make 2014 the best year ever!
Sandy is a certified coach who works with students in the areas of time management and life balance.