Six Steps to Stop Squirreling

Do you know what yesterday was? Quitters Day! Yep, that is the term coined for January 19th, as it is the day most people give up on their New Years resolutions. While I have my own thoughts about the word “quit,” to be shared in a later post, I’m just sitting here, typing away, wondering, “How you doin?”

Did you set any resolutions? Goals? Did you pick a word to define your year? What’s your official New Year’s MO? Really, a person could go crazy with all the suggestions out there.

“Make resolutions and set goals,” they say.

“No, resolutions suggest you are lacking something and you are perfect and worthy just the way you are!”

“Pick a word that will guide your thoughts, actions and decisions,” others profess. “Living by this word will eventually lead you to all you desire.”

“You don’t need a word! Set an intention,” comes the response.

For a while I had been like a crazy squirrel who runs out into the street, dashing this way to follow this idea, and that way to follow that suggestion, and running back to the center to embrace yet another notion, when smack! I wind up getting annihilated by the car that’s just cruising along. Sheesh, all I had was the best of intentions.

Does that sound like you? Or do you have your groove on?

I managed to get myself out of crazy squirrel mode years ago, and I embrace the new year with the same joy that squirrel feels when in the depths of winter, she finds the biggest nut she had so carefully and thoughtfully hidden. Damn, even that little squirrel is a planner. My thoughts about the new year and goal setting is that it should be whatever makes your heart sing and your feet skip. Here are six steps I took to stop my squirrelly demise.

1 – I do love the idea of turning a new leaf on January first, closing that last page of the calendar, having a clean slate and a fresh new start to go with it. That being said, I am also a huge proponent of being able to start over any time I choose. Visualize a “page a day calendar” and you can see that you can rip that sheet of paper off, and have a new beginning any time you choose. A clean slate is always at your fingertips.

2- Next, I review my year. I peruse my journal, go inward and think about what did not serve me for the past 365 days. That is what I release from my life, letting it go, no longer allowing it to darken my doorstep. I do have to work at it, but then, nothing ever really changes on a dime, does it? This year I let go of, “Fear of not getting things right.” I have to tell myself, just do the darn thing, Jen, whatever that thing may be. If you ‘eff it up, then ‘eff it up. It’s the best way to learn life’s lessons.

3- Alright, poof! one thing released but I can’t leave a gaping hole where something once was. I then start to think about what is it that I am going to embrace in the upcoming year. What is something that will serve me? This year I am embracing authentically being myself. You know, letting my freak flag fly if need be, without a care in the world for what others may think. And yes, this too is a process that doesn’t happen overnight, but I’ll keep on truckin’.

Okay, now if you notice, these last nuggets refer to ways I want TO BE in the world, which is really lovely. It’s nice just to be, especially when it’s free from fear and full of authenticity. The next step however, encompasses what I want TO DO in the world. 

There are so many things to do and be in the world before my time here is up, I better make a plan so I can experience them all!

4 – So finally, I set my goals! These are things I work towards throughout the year, some easy, some hard, some thrilling and others not so much. But I set these goals so that I can map out how I’m going to get things done. Let’s just say that by the end of the year, this yogi is going to nail crow pose and if not, well, proceed to step five.

5 – This next part is crucial for making sure I stay steady and true. The underlying theme here is… 

Progress not Perfection!

January 19th is known as quitters day because for some crazy reason, people think that when we turn that calendar to January 1st, we are suddenly going to be able to do all the things we’ve always wanted to do, do them perfectly, and sustain said perfection. What a load of squirrel poo! There is no way in hell we are going to be perfect…just look at your track record, cough, cough, okay my track record. If we hold ourselves to some crazy form of perfection, when the January 19th arrives and we are all but exhausted from trying to be perfect, we’ll just let all our goals and dreams be hit by that darn car.

But, if we keep taking steps, moving towards our goals, ‘effing up and then assessing what the hell happened when we did, shaking it off and putting our best foot forward, chances are by the end of the year we will more than likely be at least 20% closer to our goals than we had been. Think about it. Would you rather be down 7 pounds in a year as opposed to no pounds? Would you rather have 5 pages of your novel written instead of none? Just keep moving forward.

6- Last but not least, we must engage in self compassion and self love. Mistakes and failure are a given. Love yourself through them, think about why they happened, learn from them and keep going. I still struggle with this, but my life is a whole lot better since I started being as kind to myself as I am to others.

So, think about how you want to map out your year and do what works for you. Just remember, during this year, you may be like that frantic squirrel at times. However, if you follow your plan and you’re kind to yourself, when December 31, 2023 arrives I assure you, you will have made it to the other side of the street with your dreams (and your nuts) in tact. 

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