Here it is, already January again.  For those of us who set New Year goals, it’s the time when we compare what we said we were going to do with what actually happened.  “I didn’t lose 100 lbs, I didn’t retire early, I didn’t do this or that like I said I would. Epic Fail.” WARNING: some of what I say next may be harsh, but my job isn’t to coddle you and blow smoke. I am sure you have enough people in your life that are uncomfortable with getting real with you as it might hurt your feelings.

First and foremost, we get things done that are a priority to us.  If we are passionate about something, we find a way to make it happen. “But Danna, you don’t understand.” Yes, I do. I understand that life happens. I understand that illness, finances, family situations, etc. sometimes cause road blocks.  I have been there. I am still there. So is every other person in this world. As Walt Longmire says, “We all have problems.” When you see other people’s success, it’s because they took the steps necessary to achieve it.  They didn’t just wake up after a day of binge-watching Netflix and were magically set.

Stop making resolutions. You need to make goals. Goals need to be measurable, have a time frame, a plan of action, and be attainable.  For instance: If your goal is to lose 100 lbs and you don’t eat right, exercise, or take care of yourself, chances are that number may be a little too daunting to start out with.  Instead, change your thought process and say “I want to become a healthier person.  I would like to lose 20 lbs in 4 months.”  That bite is a little easier to chew, especially if you haven’t done anything in a long time. You can’t be stagnant for a long period of time and expect to just hit the ground running at jet speed.  Baby steps on that one. Diet and exercise is a whole other blog….

Stop making excuses.  We all have them. It also seems that we all have enablers that help us justify the excuses. Excuses are probably your biggest reason for not getting what you set out to do. At the end of the day, you are right where you started. And each excuse gets easier to make once you have made just 1.  They are lies you tell yourself. Benjamin Franklin said “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Don’t be one of these people. If you are, own up to it and make some life changes.

Start being honest with yourself. If you intended on building up your retirement fund substantially and you didn’t, take a hard look at why.  Did you have a budget? Did you stick to it? Did you do some irresponsible spending? How many times a week did you eat out?  You can throw a pity party and feel sorry for yourself for not attaining this resolution, but get honest with yourself and take responsibility. Stop blaming others, your situation, your speed bumps, the fact that you had a cold for 3 days, or that your in-laws were in town.  You are 100% responsible for your own successes or failures.

There is an awesome book that I am going to recommend everyone, including myself, to read called The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield, who is also the author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.  In this book he details a simple life equation:

Event (E) + Response (R) = Outcome (O)

He states that if you don’t like the outcomes you are getting, you have 2 choices you can make:

“1. You can blame the Event (E) for your lack of Results (O), or 2. you can instead simply change your responses (R) to the events (E) — The way things are–until you get the outcomes (O) you want.”   

I know that some of this sounds preachy, harsh, and cold.  Some people don’t like accepting responsibility and like excuses instead. But for me, it’s what I needed to make some positive changes in my own life. I used to blame anything for my lack of successes, and then one day I woke up and took a good look in the mirror and at my life. No one could make the changes except me. Not my mom, brother, friends, or boss. I am guilty of excuses just like anyone else. I am a terrible procrastinator. Because I know this about myself and accept it, I have put some things into practice.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, let me give you a quick run-down of my life.  I work a full time job doing four 10-hour shifts a week. I also have a side party business in which I work 1-2 parties a week, depending on my availability. We live outside of town, so my daily commute is 1.25 hours per day so long as there are no accidents.  I have a husband and 2 fur kids who also need my time and attention.  I work out, cook, and try to work in some relaxation.

Last year I had 6 things that I wanted to accomplish in my personal life.

  1. Zero Balance Credit Cards
  2. Good Reliable Friends
  3. Bi-lingual
  4. Zero Balance Car Loan
  5. $100,000 Salary
  6. Organized House

In 2015 I paid off 2 credit cards with over $1,000 balances on each.  Yes, I still have some credit cards that have high balances, but I did accomplish my first goal! I just still have  more work to do. Just because I didn’t wipe them all off the slate doesn’t mean that I failed. I means that I worked towards a goal and succeeded!

I know that number 2 sounds silly, but it seems that as we get older, more and more friends stray away.  Especially as more of my friends have kids and families.  I don’t have kids, yet.  It seems that people that used to be present are now somewhat distant. I realize that is a part of growing up. It’s lonely sometimes though. And yes, I love my husband and he is my best friend, but I wanted to add some positive girlfriends in my life that I could depend on.  And I did!  Friendship and nurturing relationships is a whole other blog too, so I won’t say much more on that. Stay tuned though…

Out of that list of 6, I only accomplished 2.  Why? Because I didn’t take the steps necessary to achieve the others. I am owning up to it.  I celebrate what I did achieve though! I didn’t do as well as some, but better than a lot of others!

So, in closing, now it’s time for all of us to RESET our goals.  That list I had last year was on a post-it note taped to my computer monitor at work.  I looked at it every day.  I will probably keep the same list as last year, but this time I am going to do things different.  I have an awesome new life-planner, to-do lists, and an action plan that I am going to set into place.  I have a very busy life, so every moment counts.  With time-management, budgeting, mantras, and new thought process, I know that I can do much more.

The point of this blog was not to insult you, but rather to help you get real with yourself. Take responsibility, make some life changes, hold yourself accountable, make a plan, and stop making excuses. Set goals and celebrate every victory, no matter how big or small.  I would love to hear from you if this has helped. There are so many tangents I could have twirled out on, but will save those for different full blog posts!

Happy New Year!