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“Get busy. Be more productive. Accomplish more. Work hard. You gotta do this to succeed”. Do you hear these messages ringing in your ears? Me too. Most of the time it works to my advantage; it motives me. I like getting things done and feeling like I’m doing good things with my time. But lately, I just want to tell that voice to shut the hell up. 

The holidays bring about a different kind of chaos. Our to-do lists grow longer as we squeeze in extra deadlines to meet and places to be. Parties, shopping, wrapping, writing out Christmas Cards, seeing Santa at the mall, making travel plans, decorating the tree, the cookie exchange…we find ourselves with endless ways to spend our precious, little time. All the while, there’s an unspoken nagging to ALSO plan and prepare for the new year. “Set intentions. Make new goals. Create your resolutions”. The pressure builds.

Shawn and I both felt this weight press down on us. For weeks, we’ve been intending to brainstorm next year’s plans for the wellness center. We just couldn’t find any room in our schedules to get working on it. And neither one of us was all that excited about it either. It felt overwhelming and exhausting to be simultaneously wrapping up 2016, trying to enjoy the holiday season, and prepping for the new year. 

One day at the office, we both stopped, looked at each other, and let out long sighs. In that moment, I turned to her and said, “Let’s not do it right now. Let’s pace ourselves. Take our time”. Right then, we agreed we weren’t going to force ourselves to devote attention to 2017 until we reflected on the past year and felt in a good place, free from pressure and overwhelm, to envision what is yet to come. There was almost instant relief. 

Now, 2017 is upon us…and we still haven’t started planning for the year. And we’re totally ok with that. It will come. It will all get done. It will be good…but only when we’re ready to take it on. You can’t force or push good ideas to the surface. You can’t squeeze motivation from your veins. When we feel pulled and pressured it’s time to stop and breathe. The moments when we feel we have to keep going are the very moments to pause. 

Can you feel it? Is there a voice inside of you pressuring you to hurry up and get to the gym? Hurry up and take down the decorations? Hurry up and submit that proposal, draw up those plans, make the decision, book the reservations? “You should be losing weight, eating better, sleeping more, spending more time with friends, spending less time on Facebook. You should ____________ (fill in the blank with all the things you wish you were better at and will probably set as New Year’s Resolutions).”

Before you get all caught up in this rhetoric and launch into 2017, slow down and take a minute. Here’s why and how you should PACE YOURSELF:

  1. LIFE ISN’T A RACE TO THE FINISH LINE. 

It’s a journey to be experienced and savored. There is no “there”. You’ll never arrive at a destination. The meaning of life is to give life meaning. Every moment, every minute, every breath contains a precious gift, but if you’re flying through it, you’ll miss the beauty of it all. With each step you take, immerse yourself in that moment rather than thinking ahead to what is yet to come. Slow, gradual, consistent growth is ALWAYS better than sharp, rapid (and often fleeting) changes. You’re in this life for the long haul. Build your life on a strong foundation, brick by brick, block by block, one step at a time. Pay attention to every detail and love what you’re creating as you’re making it. 

2. REFLECTION ON THE PAST CAN MAKE FOR A STUNNING FUTURE.

Our experiences are designed to teach us valuable lessons; to guide and direct us toward the path we’re meant to travel. The road we’ve already walked down serves as a compass. If we’re so caught up in looking forward, we’ll never learn from what’s behind us. Before setting intentions for 2017 and setting a new course, reflect on 2016 and see how far you’ve come. 

Ask yourself: “What am I proud of from 2016? What goals did I achieve?  What mistakes did I make? What lessons did I learn?” Gleaning insight into yourself, where you’ve been, and where you want to go next is sure to awaken your soul voice. The best way to gain clarity and bring forth vision for a prosperous future is to remember who you are and what you’re truly capable of. Our past crusades show us how strong we are. 

3. LETTING GO NEEDS TO HAPPEN BEFORE ADDING MORE.

This applies to SO. MANY. THINGS. What old, un-useful stories do you need to let go of? I’ll tell you, 2016 did a great job of helping me to let go of my fear of failure. What I once viewed as failure, I now simply view as learning and adjusting.

Letting go of my old definition of failure has helped me learn not to judge myself by other people’s expectations and to focus more on my own opinion of what I’m doing and why. This simple shift makes me feel curious, excited, and eager to see what 2017 has to offer, rather than feeling anxious, fearful, and intimidated. 

Let go of the unhappy relationship. Let go of drama. Let go of the closet full of clothes you don’t wear anymore. Let go of the number on the scale. Let go of all the “shoulds” you apply to yourself and others (“I should be further along at this point in my life”). Throw em’ all out. Gone. 

There’s no room for wonderful if it’s all filled up with mediocre (at best). 

4. TAKE THE REINS FROM YOUR EGO AND HAND EM’ OVER TO YOUR SOUL.

Your ego is going to attempt to convince you the most important thing is that promotion, impressing people, the perfectly picked up home, the ripped abs, the BMW in the driveway, the honor roll kids. Your ego is going to tell you to press on, keep going, push harder, overextend, overspend. Your soul knows better.

Your soul knows you’re fueled by love, kindness, and generosity. Your soul knows seeing the sunrise, smelling the fresh pressed coffee brew, and hearing laughter in the next room is what makes you come alive. Your soul holds the key to your biggest dreams and desires. It knows what makes your heart beat, what lights you up, what ignites the fire that sets everything in motion. 

Before setting your intentions for 2017, make sure your intentions are good. Make sure your listening to your soul voice and not your ego message. Allowing your ego to guide your future will leave you feeling empty. Tune in closely to your heart’s desires and let that voice guide you through the new year. 

The start of a new year seems like a natural time to take off on new goals and aspirations, and in all honesty, it is. But if you aren’t feeling inspired or driven to create an action plan yet, don’t worry. Pace yourself. It will come. It will all get done. It will be beautiful and challenging and messy and surprising because that’s how life is. So, to prepare yourself (your soul) for the journey ahead and to set a new life course, slow it all down, take it all in, steep in this very moment and then set a slow and steady pace as you take your first steps into 2017. 

Happy New Year!

Nicole Iacovoni is a psychotherapist, author, wealth building coach, and personal empowerment fanatic dedicated to helping you create a life of happiness & prosperity. Her work is centered around personal growth and holistic health and wealth building. Nicole takes an honest, straight-forward approach to helping clients identify where they currently are in their life’s journey. With expertise in how our DESIRES, EMOTIONS, THOUGHTS, and BELIEFS influence our success, Nicole helps clients create a concrete action plan for living the life of their dreams. Contact Nicole for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION. 

 

 

I LOVE ringing in the New Year. It always feels like a fresh start, a clean slate, and the perfect opportunity to change directions and get on the right course. This is the time of year when I typically set a ton of goals for myself about what I’m going to accomplish throughout the year.

 

I’m a big dreamer, so my goals are always many and very lofty. Historically, in January and February, I’d be on fire, tackling to-do’s left and right. But come March, April, May, things would slow down, I would slack off, and by the end of the year, I’d look at my goals and wonder what the hell happened. Can you relate?

 

I had so much motivation and desire, so it took me awhile to figure out why I wasn’t accomplishing what I set out to. Then I had an A-ha! moment where it became clear what stands in the way of achieving our desires and how to maneuver around those obstacles and get shit done. I’m about to share that with you now. There are 4 reasons why we don’t reach our goals:

  1. We don’t prioritize in writing.

Ideas are just ideas unless you feed them with your attention and action. We often have a mind full of good intentions, but if we aren’t writing them down and putting in order what is the most and least important, we don’t really have a clue about where to start or what to invest our energy in. The result is not investing our energy in anything, or wasting time and effort on crap that isn’t that important to us. 

 

2. If it ain’t scheduled, it ain’t happenin’. 

So, let’s say you have a master to-do list. Let’s even say you kicked reason #1 in the ass and you’ve prioritized your goals. The chances of marking everything off your list is slim if you haven’t put each task in a planner or calendar. If it isn’t scheduled, it’s incredibly difficult to hold ourselves accountable for making progress on our goals and we tend to forget what we wanted to do and when we wanted to have it done by. 

 

3. We put off what we’re least excited about.

Ever notice how you don’t mind springing out of bed first thing in the morning for a cup of coffee but you can’t seem to keep that same bounce in your step when going to the gym? Our brains are always seeking pleasure and trying to avoid pain, so if any of your goals aren’t necessarily pleasant, you’re going to avoid them like the plague…and you’re going to put them off until the last minute or not do them at all. 

 

4. We lose motivation when we don’t see instant results.

We are immediate gratification creatures. We want what we want and we want it NOW! When we start to feel like a project is taking us too long to finish, we get discouraged, lose confidence, and our motivation goes in the toilet. When it comes to really big, worthwhile goals, the key to success is usually consistency and hard work, which in many ways, contradicts our desire for immediate results. Our lack of motivation can get us to stop what we’re working before we even really get started. 

 

So, the bad news is that failure to reach our goals is fairly common, but the good news is there are 4 things you can start doing RIGHT NOW to start getting shit done and finally accomplish your dreams. 

  1. Write out your WEEKLY priorities.

Identify the step-by-step tasks you need to work on to reach your overall goal. This will help you breakdown the big outcome into smaller, more realistic bits. Pick out the order in which the tasks need completed and schedule them at various times during your week. This helps you to always be mindful of what’s most important to you and keeps you accountable for making time in your week to get it done. 

 

2. Front-load your day.

Because we are naturally inclined to avoid jobs that aren’t that exciting to us, it’s important to schedule those “not so great” jobs at the beginning of the day. Just get them over and done right from the start so you aren’t wasting energy on worrying about them all day. When you tackle a shitty job right out of the gate, you instantly feel a sense of accomplishment, which can propel you into the other items on your agenda. 

 

3. Overestimate how long it will take to complete a goal.

People often underestimate how long it will take to finish a project or complete a job. Call it wishful thinking or inaccurate estimating, the truth is that this glitch in our minds leads us to get easily frustrated, discouraged, and simply give up because it’s too much work or it’s taking too damn long. But if you set your mind, right from the start, that it’s going to take longer than you expect, you’re more likely to feel like you finish quicker. You’re also more likely to stick with it until the job is done. 

 

4. Celebrate (small) successes.

The trouble with goals is that when we reach them, we set new goals to work on, so it can feel like we never really get to the place we want to be. We just keep working and pushing forward to achieve and accomplish more. This isn’t all bad, but if we do this without celebrating the successes along the way, no matter how small they may seem, we will lose motivation and throw in the towel. By giving yourself even a little pat on the back for taking another step in the direction of your dreams, you’ll be honoring your hard work and dedication while sparking your motivation to keep at it. 

 

I hope this insight inspires you to reach for the stars in 2016 by setting goals in alignment with your heart’s desires and that these tips will help you to be successful in achieving all of them.

 

You have the power to create a magical life-claim your power and put these four simple principles into practice! 

 

If you found this helpful, please share with a friend so they too can have the life of their dreams!

 

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