INSIGHT OUT By Adina Morris
Have you ever gotten one of those wake up calls that remind you that you can be a better you? Well I did this weekend. It’s times like these that I remember that I need to work on myself and the things that are important to me. It’s the kind of reminder that tells you, “eh.. I could be better, I could try harder, I could do a little more stretching of myself for others.”
Sometimes we go through periods in our lives where we are very much self and family focused. We are overwhelmed and swamped with our own day to day that we do not have the mental capacity to look outside our own windows.
And then there are the times that we wake up and feel like a cloud has lifted and we have a new energy to do more.
Maybe it is because it is that time of year as we approach the New Year that makes me introspective, or maybe it’s just that I feel I can do this right now in my life. I’m not really sure, but what took me by surprise is that I thought back to last year at this same time period before Rosh HaShana during the month of Elul.
Last year as I prepared for the High Holidays with lots of cooking, baking and list making, I managed to squeeze in a few learning opportunities for myself, along with a few inspirational Drashos from my husband, Shabbos morning:) during the weeks leading up to Rosh HaShana. As I pondered the words of wisdom and insights that I gained, I came up with the following thought.
Here I am about to ask Hashem for forgiveness and plead for a brand new chance at a healthy and successful year for me, my husband, our children, our family, our community and the entire Jewish People. What am I offering to Hashem? Now I know this isn’t supposed to be a barter, however, I felt that I should be offering something to show my good intentions (just in case all of my good deeds don’t amount to as much as a hill of beans…). But what could I offer? What would Hashem want from me? So I did some soul searching and came up with a spiritual commitment for the coming year. It was no trifle but not insurmountable either. Yesterday, I remembered that it was this time last year that I had committed to stretch myself a little bit further in my spiritual pursuits. A whole year had passed. As I look back on my year, I realize that I did pretty well. I would say that I would give myself a 90% success rate on my commitment. 90%! Quite impressive, thank you very much! I was really proud of myself.
Upon reflection I realized that there were small things that I had to do in order to make the commitment a reality and not just lip service.
So out comes the following:
The 4 Keys to Success with Any New Year’s Resolution!
- Start by creating a SMART goal. What is a smart goal? Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Timely
- Specific: Pick something specific, it doesn’t have to be something large, rather something whole
- Measurable: Pick something you can measure to see success in
- Achievable: Pick something that is doable for you right now in your life circumstance
- Relevant: Pick something you are passionate about changing that is relevant to you. If it’s not really your goal, but someone else’s, it won’t stick.
- Timely: Pick a time frame in which to complete the goal, a time period within to measure success and the time of day, week or month that you intend to work on your commitment
2) Then pick an Accountability Partner to help keep you on track and stay motivated
So this year I have come up with my new offering for Hashem, or Resolution so to speak, in addition to the one that I created last year. My intention is to continue with my routine from last year, as it has become just that, routine.
And that is the next key to success!
3) Routine: When you make time for something and put it in your calendar and on your schedule, each day, week or month, it becomes part of your routine. If you can keep it up for more than a month, it has a higher rate of long term success. Keep it up for over 6 months and you’re pretty much as good as gold.
And the last key to success:
4) Have Regular Check Ins to see how you’re doing. Make necessary tweaks if you’re falling off the wagon. Don’t give up if you start slacking off. Notice and get back on!
And don’t get discouraged if you need to change things up! Life does throw up curve balls every now and then. So try to remain flexible and create a new plan to continue making your commitment doable for you in your new life circumstance.
As I came up with my plan for the coming year, I discussed with my husband, how I could make it a reality and ensure that it sticks. This offering is a bit trickier than last year’s, so we are still in the process of ironing out all of the details of my plan of action and of course a list to go with it;)
And then I took it one step further this year. On the way to school today, I shared with our kids how I had decided to pick something spiritual to work on last year to show my good intentions to Hashem to be a good Jew, and that I had done pretty well with my commitment and offering for Hashem last year so that I have decided to add a new one for this year. I then challenged each of our children to come up with their own offering to Hashem to work on this coming year.
It was nice to be able to suggest an idea of spiritual growth to my children, but even nicer to know that I have and continue to practice what I preach.
I challenge each of you to create your own offering to Hashem for the coming year! Need help creating a plan for success? You know where to find me:)