It seems that since mid-december, almost every other blog post or article that I read is about New Year’s resolutions, how to achieve your dream life and finally be happy. I have read so many of these articles that I am currently on resolution overload – ironic considering I stopped making resolutions a few years ago.
New Year’s resolutions are a funny thing – it’s as if we use them as an excuse to enjoy ourselves during the holidays. They give us hope that we can indulge and yet still become the best version of ourselves, all with the help of a few doable tweeks to our lifestyle. By January 31 though, most peoples New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside discarded and forgotten.
The past few years though, rather then making New Year’s resolutions I have made a goal list that I would refer to throughout the year to remind myself of the goals I had set for myself and to see how far I had come to reaching them. This past November when I reviewed the goal list that I had made for myself at the beginning of the year I was dismayed to discover that I had failed miserably in a few of my goals – in particular the personal goals that I had set for myself. Rather then beat myself up over it for a few days and feel like a complete failure I decided to try a different approach, one that I had developed for my coaching practice. I have built a questionnaire that I have my clients fill out at the beginning and end of my coaching program in order to gain a better understanding of their personalities, their lives, goals, personalities, etc. I decided to complete the questionnaire myself as if I were my own client, to see where it was that I was blocked and to break down what areas I could work on in order to achieve my goals in the future. This type of exercise is not easy for anyone to complete. It requires complete honesty with oneself about what is and what is not working for them in their lives, and what changes must be made if they have any hope of achieving their goals in all areas of their lives.
For the most part the questionnaire was simple for me to complete as I was so familiar with it, and I have been working of self awareness and reflection for quite some time. It wasn’t until I reached the section on self and identity that I began to feel uneasy. Self confidence and self worth are two areas that I have struggled with my entire life, I have been working on building both over the past few years but the questionnaire revealed that clearly there was still work to be done. A sample of the questions in that part of the questionnaire are:
How do you treat yourself?
Do you value yourself?
How do you treat others?
How do others treat you?
Do others properly value you?
How do you react when you feel valued by others?
How do you react when you don’t feel properly valued by others? Do you communicate this to them? Do you keep it inside?
Treating myself well is something that I continuously work on as I develop a healthy respect for myself as a flawed and unique human being, but upon reflection I realized that I hadn’t been feeling valued by others. By continuing to participate in certain relationships, I was unconsciously letting others behaviour and treatment affect my self worth. And rather then communicating this to them and setting boundaries, I was stewing in silence frustrated by their behaviour. Just to be clear, when I talk about being properly valued by others I don’t mean being showered with praise, gratitude and gifts or being treated like royalty. I mean the so called “little things” – do people say please and thank you when you have done something for them or demonstrated kindness and respect towards them? Do they respond to you within a timely manner? Do they demonstrate the same level of respect to you as you show to them? If you have answered “no” to these questions it may be time to review your relationship. These things may be considered “little” by many but they are incredibly important, the little things do matter in life.
Now that I had identified my primary issue within some of my personal relationships I reviewed what changes I could implement. Lucky for me I am able to walk away or distance myself from these relationships. For the relationship that I have chosen to walk away from, I didn’t make my decision lightly and I have tried in the past to improve things. But this individual had caused me to cry too many tears over the years, trigger panic attacks with a simple text message and the slightest thought of them causes my entire body to tense – clearly not a heathy relationship. I had obligingly allowed this one sided relationship to continue on for to long, but I am no longer willing to participate in relationships where I don’t feel valued or respected- it was time to walk away. I, like everyone else on the planet deserve to be treated better then that.
Others may not be in such a fortunate position to just walk away and may need to implement different changes. These changes could include pausing for self reflection and awareness, learning how to effectively communicate with others so they understand that you deserve to be valued just like everyone else and setting boundaries that reflect your own self worth. Completing this type of self review also allows you to reflect on your own behaviour – do you treat others with the respect that they deserve as human beings? Do you say please and thank you when someone demonstrates kindness and compassion towards you? Do you respond to others in a timely manner? Are you respectful towards them? If you have answered no to any of these questions you may want review your relationships and why you treat others this way.
By completing this exercise I am now more aware of areas that I need to work on to help me achieve my goals for 2017 and beyond. I strongly suggest that if there are areas in your life that you feel that you need to work on, take the time for some self reflection and develop steps that will help you to achieve your goals. This will help you to achieve any resolutions that you may have made. If you would like to receive a copy of my questionnaire or have any questions about coaching feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a message in the comments section below. Whatever your goals are for 2017, I wish you the best of luck as you work to achieve your dreams. Each day is a new opportunity for a fresh start and I encourage you to make the most of it!
See you in 2017! XXS