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How to sustain New Year's goals: a mindful approach

It doesn't surprise me that the majority of people don't keep their New Year's resolutions. And I don't say so from a cynical or disparaging perspective.

"New Year, new you" makes for a great marketing slogan. But it matters, perhaps more than we realise, that we set goals at a time that's genuinely right for us, and that we're intentional about setting goals that truly support us.

Timing is everything

For many, early January is not the best time to fly out of the gate with a new start, especially for those of us in parts of the Northern Hemisphere where it's colder and darker at this time of the year. It's quite natural if you find that you aren't brimming with motivation these days.

The winter months are naturally conducive to rest, reflection and replenishment. This is an ideal time for introspection and self-care. To restore your energy, reassess and consider your plans and goals with deeper intention.

The word "lull" is often used as quite a negative way of referring to inactivity. But don't forget that it also means calming and soothing. It's very ok if you feel the need to slow down and go within each January. You can harness this constructively.

Instead of trying to force yourself during an energetic dip, pay attention to your natural rhythms and try allowing yourself to flow with them intuitively. You'll likely find that you're much more capable of seeing your goals through to completion from a sustainable energetic flow.

If you do feel motivated, take this opportunity to check in. Be mindful of whether this motivation feels organic, or whether it's driven by an unnecessary pressure or fear.

Intentional goals

Digging deep into the intention underpinning your goals will help to ensure that you're setting goals stemming from a purpose that's truly right for you. Be honest about why you want your desired result, and dig even deeper into challenging this answer.

Let's take a health or fitness resolution as an example. Is the intention beneath this about giving yourself the nutrition and movement your body deserves, and about caring for yourself? Or is it stemming from a place of self-judgement or ego-driven desire?

There are no right or wrong answers here. This is about asking yourself deeper, more purposeful questions, to get clear on what is most supportive and sustainable for you.

A helpful rule of thumb here is to consider the "end goal" you desire deep-down. Best-selling author of The Code of The Extraordinary Mind, Vishen Lakhiani, writes that most of us are setting "means goals" and not looking closely enough at the ultimate end goal.

In other words, we're setting specific, measurable goals without looking deeply enough into the meaning of the experience and quality of life we want as a result of achieving them.

Digging into the end goal helps us move in a more supportive and authentically-aligned direction. Which will ultimately help us set goals that are more sustainable.

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