Farewell New Year’s Resolutions; Hello, Strategic Goals (with Powerful Nature’s Deanna Litz) . . . .

Like most sentient beings on the planet (or at least in the corner of it I call home), I shun the age-old practice of making “New Year’s resolutions” (that no one ever keeps for long).

And yet, discussion about the philosophy behind goal-setting–notably what works and what doesn’t–and when the planning is individualized and specific, can help almost any entrepreneur to excel.

. . . . Or at least it can, if you discuss it with Saskatchewan’s own powerhouse coach, Deanna Litz, of “Powerful Nature.”

In a recent session with Deanna, as a part of Praxis School of Entrepreneurship’s staySMART program (funded by the enlightened folk at Can-Sask Employment Services), I mentioned how a medical practitioner in my life who follows a negative, “my way or the highway” approach, fails to motivate me to keep good self-care (be it exercise, sleep hygiene, and so on).

Anticipating meeting this practitioner early in 2021, was worrying me, as I had lost sight of how, in Deanna’s words, “negative motivation may not be as productive as positive reinforcement.” This is particularly because only the latter gives you energy to keep striving. Furthermore, “celebrating wins and successes as a part of setting goals can get us farther,” Deanna added.

When things happen and we tell ourselves stories about them, it’s much more helpful to tell constructive stories than self-condemning ones. Why? Because these stories affect how we feel about ourselves and become the basis of our identities.

If we practice healthy self-care, for instance, we find the best space from which to explore professional opportunities and to seek alignment with others who may offer them. For instance, to use a perennial example, if “Jill” shows up to a job interview, having good self-care and self-compassion, she feels herself an equal to the interviewer, open to investigating if there’s alignment between that person (or committee) and herself.

On those occasions when an unequal, unfair power dynamic appears (as sometimes happens at job interviews and at medical appointments), we

can better endure because we know our own agency in the exchange.

For me, positively framed goal-setting can make 2021 start more healthily than 2020 ended. A Covid lockdown at my local gym leads me to explore at-home exercise (e.g. online videos); I am returning to drafting “Morning Pages” (after Julia Margaret Cameron) to reduce mental rumination; and I am similarly restoring my sleep by listening to hypnotherapy recordings. When I do these things, I am more present with myself and can also better serve my clients.

Undoubtedly medically based self-care practices are good, but as Deanna says, “self-care is of the whole person,” and not just the one or two parts of one’s body, addressed piecemeal. Any negative “prescription” from a medical service provider fails to recognize the power of our minds and spirits.

As we enter 2021, amid the second wave of a global pandemic, let’s start here! Let’s use the positive (including positive self-care) to deepen our capacity for alignment and engagement with one another, which yield for both sides productivity and abundant contentment.

And now it’s your turn: As a new year begins, what goals are you planning for yourself and your business?  Please share, as I’d be delighted to hear from you. And may 2021 bring you renewed health, contentment and peace.