Ready to hit the RESET button on 2019?
DON’T WRITE OFF THE YEAR. WRITE A NEW STORY.
Are you one of the 80% who has already abandoned your New Year’s resolutions? (Research shows that most folks drop them like flaming turds by January 12). Does this sound like you?
While you wanly watch, is a gray malaise of “Another Lackluster Year” settling over the rest of 2019? (Oh well. I had a chance. I didn’t take it or gave up, and now it’s too late. Maybe 2020. Yeah, right.)
Are you digging in for another twelve months in your uncomfortable rut—believing that change is for all the Cool Kids who got the secret instruction manual that was left out of your packaging?
Does something in your heart stir at the thought of a second chance, even as your all-too-familiar doubts and questions move quickly to shut that hope down?
If that sounds familiar, then I’m talking to you. (Note: If you’ve already run your half marathon, benched 350, published your memoir about your hard-but-inspiring childhood, summitted an Alp, flipped two houses, learned to play the sitar, and/or become fluent in Esperanto, you can stop reading now. Soldier onward, Magic Being!)
This message is for the rest of us. The ones who had the best intentions and found ourselves stalled out on the side of the road pretty quickly. Or who were so disillusioned from past experience that we didn’t even have the heart to try.
Look, I get it. In spite of being a life coach and having some expertise in this arena, I am NOT by any means a black-belt goal-setter and achiever. Most of my work has focused on healing your relationship with yourself and your past. Picking and sticking to a project is not a cake walk for me, either.
On the one hand, I totally feel the attraction of the New Year. It’s a fresh start. As the wonderful Elizabeth Gilbert said (on a podcast that you really need to listen to), January 1 is the most generous day of the year—no dings and all full of New Year smell. I can feel the bright shiny energy around that. It’s time to finally Do the Thing.
And yet, let’s face it: the dead of winter is a shitty time to embark on a big change project. Seasonally, if you live in most parts of the U.S., your body and spirit are programmed to be in hibernation mode. Also, January 1 is the last gasp of the exhausting fall/winter holicraze. For many of us—depending on the previous night—just getting out of bed before 2 PM on New Year’s Day is somewhat of an achievement, and probably wouldn’t happen without football and cheese dip.
Then, there’s the grim slog through January to Valentine’s Day, which for lots of us is its own hellish circle of anxiety and depression. And if you’re lucky enough to live in Louisiana, as I do, there’s a little distraction called Mardi Gras to deal with. (You may be surprised to learn that Carnival is actually a whole season, and not just one day. Get with the program, People!)
So, yeah. Maybe winter isn’t the best time.
BUT WHAT ABOUT SPRING? The season of new life and new growth, when the world is improbably and miraculously reborn YET AGAIN. When sleepy Mother Nature stretches and shakes new flowers out of her hair, the sap flows, and we shed our Patagonia pelts to feel the sun’s warm love on our pale, clammy skin. What if we harnessed Nature’s energy and jumped on that bandwagon? What if we…
HEY, YOU DO GET A SECOND CHANCE! But a different chance, if you’re still with me. Because we’re going to do this in a different way. A big reason why so many folks lose the resolution game is due to the way we set up the board. So let’s play a different one. One that’s both committed and compassionate, with room for being human while keeping you accountable and on track. One that’s large-hearted and open-armed. I want you to spring (see what I did there?) into BIG action—bold, imperfect, and generous.
Now let’s talk about that BIGness for a moment.
I want you to be BOLD in your commitment and your vision. Whatever project or habit you undertake, I want it to be stretchy and inspiring, without being unrealistic. Something that you know you will be proud of, with a WHY behind it that will put wind in your sails and keep you on track when the going gets tough. The project might even be something you’re not exactly sure how you’re going to do (within reasonable limits, of course). Ideally, it will require you to grow and learn and forge a path for yourself during the process.
Whatever goal you set has to be achievable by the beautifully IMPERFECT being that you are. Success can’t be predicated on perfection: the one thing we know for sure about us humans is that we’re annoyingly and gloriously unfinished, and we must plan accordingly. Therefore, this program can’t be structured as a binary pass/fail operation, because that’s one of the elements that throws people off the goal track too fast. (I messed up! Game over: I’m a failure! ) Instead, we want to create a version of success that builds in realism and resilience. One that takes account of our triggers—the events and stimuli that tend to get us off track, and have strategies in place to deal with them. Along with a commitment to forgive ourselves and get back on the path ASAP when we slip up.
This may be the most important. I want us all to bring a wholehearted, GENEROUS spirit to this task. One that is arms-wide-open in its attention to all of the following:
Abundant self-compassion and self-care
Robust laughter and playfulness
Ready willingness to share our own stories and challenges
Lavish support for our friends on the journey
This is not going to be a grim communal death march. We’re going on an adventure—a Fellowship of the Spring, if you will (with apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien). And, FWIW, I’m going to be right in it with you, digging into and sharing my own progress on a big goal that is important to me.
Speaking of which, what’s a good target goal? They basically fall into two categories: habits and projects. And this is important: for this effort, I want you to pick only one to focus on. For that reason, make it a meaty, meaningful one, worthy of your investment in time and resources. One of the perennial problems in resolution- and goal-setting is trying to pull a whole handful of them out of the cookie jar at the same time, and they all crumble.
Here are some examples:
Finally build that workshop/study/studio/sanctuary that you’ve been dreaming of in the garage or spare bedroom
Awaken your inner artist and start painting/learning/sculpting/working on that novel
Begin a regular running or swimming or workout program to increase your day-to-day fitness now and your survival chances in the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse
Renovate that godawful second bathroom with the horrible wallpaper
Research, lay out, and install the garden oasis you’ve always wanted, complete with pond and bubbly fountain
At long last sort/donate/sell/toss/organize/store that HUGE pile of stuff that is the highlight reel for your “Hoarders” audition
Build your inventory and apply to the local arts market
Kick the Cheeto habit and plan, cook, and eat X number of healthy meals every week to improve your vitality and energy
Dive into learning a new language in anticipation of visiting the country
Settle on and start living on a budget to save up for that trip you’ve always wanted to take (see previous bullet)
Do the research and groundwork so you can apply to grad school next year and begin training for The Thing You’re Here To Do
Get your resume polished up and embark on the search for your dream job so that you can FINALLY turn in your resignation letter to the petty despot in the front office
You can combine a couple of them that make a natural fit into one (e.g., fitness might involve components of both eating and exercise) but not more than two of those.
And here’s a major caveat: One goal that I’m not going to allow is “Lose X pounds.” Now, I realize I probably just lost half of you with that, but I’m okay with it. Here’s why: diet culture in the U.S. is rife with and supported by all kinds of pervasive, shame-based, unhealthy, unrealistic, and f#cked-up conditioning, especially (but not exclusively) for women. And a goal that is simply to “lose X pounds” is built around an arbitrary number that is separable from lifestyle. Instead, we want to be primarily focused on developing a pleasurable, healthy, self-nurturing, and sustainable way of life, which is the key to long-term success. And if a by-product of that is shedding some pounds, well, that’s just great. But I don’t want it to be the focus.
Love yourself first, right where you are. Don’t swim in self-loathing and hold out love as a reward for conforming to some impossible “beauty standard.” I’m not saying that there aren’t effective ways to go for a weight-oriented goal like that, but it’s outside my wheelhouse and comfort zone, so I invite you to follow your bliss somewhere else on that one. There are plenty of other programs that make all kinds of promises in that arena, for better or (often) worse.
Here’s what’s included in the program:
10 weeks of support
Weekly webinar (it will be recorded in case you can’t make it)
5 bi-weekly Office Hours/Q&A sessions
Private Facebook community
Progress journal (downloadable)
Optional helpful readings and exercises
Practices and strategies for clarity and accountability
As a participant, you will also have the opportunity, if needed, to schedule a limited number of focused 1:1 laser sessions with me at a greatly reduced rate.
Here’s the kicker: the cost is only $97.00. That’s 10 weeks of support for substantially less than the cost to book a single coaching session with me. Why? Because it’s my first time offering this program, and I want to reward the intrepid souls who are willing to go on this journey with me. I guarantee the cost will never be this low again.
Now, I realize that some of you aren’t used to investing in personal development beyond a book or occasional DVD. I hope that’s a habit you will change—whether it’s with me or some other program that speaks to your heart. I believe that growing new skills, expanding our understanding, and increasing our mastery is an important and worthy focus for our time and resources. I definitely walk my talk in this arena: personal development has been one of my primary investments over the past dozen years. (In fact, I currently have not one but TWO coaches.) But if you still have any hesitation, no worries: At any point in the first 30 days, if you decide that the program is not for you, I’ll give you a full, no-hassle refund. Period. Full stop.
But ask yourself, what would it be worth to you to Finally Do The Thing? And I only want you to apply to the program if you come in whole-heartedly and have a project so important to you that your life will feel unmistakably different on the other side.
And we don’t have to wait till March 20 to get started. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be tilling the soil. On my Facebook page, I’ll be offering some thoughts, reflections, videos, goofy graphics, etc. on things that help and things that get in the way. Some exercises to help you start to get clarity on what you want and why you want it. And I’ll give you a better idea of what our journey will look like. (Pro tip: If you hit the Like button on my Facebook business page, these posts will magically show up in your regular Facebook feed.)
And then, on March 20, if you’re game to join our merry band, we’ll jump in. Together.
Questions? I’ve got answers. Here are a few of them:
Why 10 weeks? Isn’t that kind of long?
Surprisingly, I didn’t just pull that number out of the air or a select orifice. While research and opinions in this area are often sketchy, one of the more prominent studies concluded that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit—which means the action becomes automatic, second-nature. Initially, I’d planned to make this program shorter, but after some reading and reflecting, I decided to structure it so that everyone gets a level and length of support that will best ensure success. That’s how I landed on 10 weeks, or 70 days.
Can I work on more than one goal? What if I finish early?
As I said, I think that one of the reasons that many resolution/goal programs fail is that, in our eagerness, we bite off way more than one we can chew. (Seriously, aren’t we cute?) For that reason, I want you to focus on one goal, and make it a big juicy one. Again, it may have a couple of natural components to it (for instance, a health goal might include both nutrition and exercise), but nothing bigger than that. And if you finish early, my first instinct would be to find a way to go deeper or higher with that same goal instead of biting off a new one. And with a habit goal, even if you achieve it reliably at the seven-week mark, the next three weeks can be focused on maintenance and rooting in the habit for the long-term.
Will you guarantee that I’ll reach my goal?
Ah, if only—I wish that I could! Wait, actually, no I don’t, because that would rob you of your agency, which is a critical component. If you achieve your goal, I want you to be able to own that success. And, in the process, I want you to develop the skills and confidence that will allow you to be more effective in doing this work going forward on your own. (IMHO, a coach’s job is to work him/herself out of a job.) I will give you the best of my experience and expertise around goal achievement, a framework for accountability and tracking progress, a like-minded community on the path with you, and tons of encouragement, support, and celebration. And if at any point in the first 30 days you decide that the program isn’t for you, I’ll give you a full and no-hassle refund.
Will there be any 1:1 coaching included?
Because of the low price, there will be no direct one-on-one coaching sessions included as part of the main package. However, should you find that you occasionally need more personalized support, you can book a limited number of 25-minute 1:1 laser sessions with me at a greatly reduced rate ($40) during the program.
What if you’re not an expert in the thing that I want to achieve?
Actually, I can pretty much promise you that I’m not. I’m not going to have much (and maybe not any) expertise in some of the areas. This program is a container for support and accountability, and not specific subject matter expertise in all areas. So you’ll need to do your research, figure out what you do and don’t know about your subject area, and enlist the appropriate subject-specific support.
Okay, it’s decision time. Goethe famously (and fabulously) said, “Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Are you ready to take your second chance?