It’s that time again… as I write this a new year begins in 4 days, and already I’m seeing advertisements galore for coaches who will help you work on EVERYTHING you could be insecure about: weight loss, nutrition, affirmations, waking up earlier, reading more, drinking more water, walking, ending toxic habits, making more money, etc. Suddenly our insecurities become open wounds, and moving into the New Year feels like preparing to scale a giant mountain: or else.

Maybe it’s a Millennial thing, or a mark of the times we’re living in, but I so often feel life has this insane amount of pressure to execute or fail. And failure isn’t something we actually look at as a stepping stone to success- it’s seen as shameful.

Instead of creating and sharing the goals that are deeply important to us and actually good for where we’re at in our journey, we seem to adopt all the same external goals as everyone else which, I’m just going to call it out here, is a desperate need for validation.

“I want to lose “xx” amount of lbs” (I.e. society wants this, and I’ll be validated)

“I want to earn more money” (I.e. more validation from the world)

“I want to get more likes on social media/post more/do more reels, etc.” (I.e. validation from others)

This is the point you’re probably thinking: But Felicia, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be fit, make money, or grow my business.

You’re RIGHT. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more and feeling good! But there’s such a sneaky line between the goals that are good for us and the ones that are really us just trying to mask our insecurities by saying we’re working on all the things that we feel bad about ourselves.

Where is that line?

The difference between good and bad goals really come down to our WHY.

If the answer isn’t simply: I want THIS for myself because THIS lights me up inside, or I’m interested in this, or THIS will bring so much joy into my life- then maybe that isn’t the right goal for you.

We do not need to look to others to figure out what kind of goals we should be setting going into the new year, and we do not need a new year to achieve the things we want. Part of the reason I am so passionate about this topic is because of the resounding disappointment we feel in several weeks when all the unattainable (and honestly, impersonal) goals we set drop off and we’re left with a feeling of lack, loss, and stuckness.

Here’s a few suggestions:

  1. Set be SMALL goals that come from a place of self love with a duration of 2-4 weeks max. Then, throughout your time achieving that goal pay attention to what feels good, what motivates you, what areas of your life you want to prioritize and how, and then when you achieve that goal- set another one. Do the same process with your new goal: it can be a totally different one, or a new benchmark in the area you’re already working.

2. Pick 1-2 areas you genuinely want to prioritize in your life. Keep these broad but be clear. Don’t fall victim to the societal traps- keep it personal and know without a shadow of a doubt that these priorities matter to you now and will continue to matter.

3. Do it differently. If you find yourself really wanting to work on the same things that come up every year for you- promise yourself that this year you’re going to do it differently. And I’m not talking about “actually getting serious this time” (Hell no!), I’m talking about if you want to really move your body more- pick a gateway that you’ve never tried, that’s totally attainable, and really fun for you. So instead of buying a gym membership where the route you take to get there drains the life from you and the only time you can get there is at 5am when you hate waking up early- instead just say, for the next 2 weeks, I’m going to park as far away as I can from the entrance to everywhere I have to go and that’s how I’m going to get more steps in. Or I’ve always loved hula hooping so I’m going to do that 10 minutes a day. Do. It. Differently.

My last and final thought here is the most important one: life is really hard sometimes. We’re all different. Some of us feel a lot of energy and inspiration at the start of a new year, and others of us feel drained from the dark days and the holidays. There’s nothing wrong with prioritizing rest, renewal, and healing.

In our yang focused culture (i.e. do, achieve, move, fast, express) it can be really challenging to prioritize yin qualities (calm, slow, stillness, receive, feel, flow). I’d love to see a world full of people who embrace the balance of both yin and yang- but especially in their approach to setting the goals for their well-being.

We deserve to love ourselves and to give ourselves complete permission to work on the things that genuinely matter to us and the quality of our life.

If you’d like more on this, check out the 2022 New Year Mindset: Dos and Dont’s Podcast episode below or wherever you get your podcasts:

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