The ball dropping at midnight to mark January 1 is often perceived as a new beginning or the starting line-up to accomplish and redefine goals. As we enter the last few weeks of 2021, some people are gearing up to shift their focus towards defining a new year that looks different from the previous one. Whether that’s focusing on changing old habits, creating something new, or starting a new venture, society is no stranger to the idea of setting New Year’s resolutions.
However, Courtney Matthews, life coach and founder of iAMCOURTNEYMATT Life Coaching, doesn’t recommend getting caught up in the New Year’s resolutions hype. Instead, she suggests taking a more practical approach to life and setting attainable goals that can help you live in the moment while walking towards your purpose.
“I’m not a goal-setting person, per se,” Matthews says. “I just know what I want my life to look like. Every day I’m walking and being intentional about what I’m doing to get there, taking things step-by-step and allowing room for growth.”
We picked Matthews’ brain about all aspects of resolutions, including the best practices, ways to avoid pitfalls and how to actually achieve set resolutions.
Fray Team: Should we be setting goals and, if so, how could someone set more intentional and purposeful goals?
Courtney Matthews: Setting goals is important, but what I think is more important than that is setting intentions. Asking questions like “What do I want out of my life, and what do I want my life to look like and then work towards [achieving those answers].” It’s important to be intentional about achieving your goals. Take time to get know yourself so you can always stay connected to the source (yourself). Once you get to know yourself, you discover your talents and gifts and align your goals with them. If you’re operating using your gifts and talents and taking actions to make an impact, you’re going to be purposeful.
What are four self-evaluations questions to consider when starting an action plan?
Write them down and create your overall vision based on your answers:
- What do I want your life to look like?
- What is my purpose?
- Who do I want to be?
- What do I want to be in life?
The idea of setting goals for the New Year usually gets a bad reputation. Why is that?
Honestly, you shouldn’t set New Year’s Resolutions. They get a bad rep because people create them at the beginning of the year with good intentions but once they aren’t completed, they feel like they’ve failed or wasted time. When instead of creating New Year’s based goals, you should create new habits focusing on how you want your life to look like. You don’t have to wait until January 1 to start. Also, people don’t set their goals correctly. They don’t define their action steps. They don’t do what’s necessary to be disciplined to follow through with their intentions for the new year.
What do you think is someone’s biggest downfall with goal setting?
Don’t get stuck on the goal, instead focus on the journey. People get so focused on the timelines that they create burnout, discouragement, and disappointment when they don’t accomplish their goals by that intended date. If you’re focused on impacting and achieving what you want to achieve and remove the timeline, life will go a lot smoother. You’ll learn to appreciate the journey more so than just trying to get to the finish line. Focus on where you want to be and wake up every day and work towards that.
Are there certain times of the year when we should reevaluate our initial goals?
Whenever you get to a point in your life where you feel like something isn’t working or allowing you to work towards your purpose, reevaluate your action plan. Always keep an open mind and be ready to pivot when things aren’t working or going the way that you expected. And most importantly, be accepting of the change and keep a positive attitude.
Why is it important to give ourselves grace if a goal isn’t accomplished by an intended date or time?
It’s important to leave room for grace because you are on a journey. If you’re trying to accomplish a goal or you have something that you want to fulfill then more times than not it’s something new that you’re trying. So, if it’s a new experience, you’re in a learning process, so you’re going to make mistakes and you’re not going to always do something right. You’re not perfect. You’re learning. Give yourself grace. Take it as a learning opportunity. “Okay, this didn’t work, but how can I make it better?”
Remember to start whenever. Don’t wait until the new year to start. If you want something for your life, do it. Don’t wait for any time to get started. Just do it.
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