It’s January, and you know what happens now. January means it’s time to implement those New Year’s resolutions.
If you’re rolling your eyes as you read this, I get it. How many resolution stories/tips/ideas can you read before vomiting more green juice??? How many years do you have to endure a life overhaul?? Look, you know you’ll try to exercise, eat healthier, or sleep more with the best of intentions, but let’s face it. LIFE GETS IN THE WAY.
So then what do you do?
Here’s where resolutions get tricky, because we all fall back into old patterns.
It’s human nature to gravitate to what makes us feel comfortable, even if we know it’s not healthy. Even if we know our time can be better spent.
Instead of beating yourself up for this, it’s time to take a different approach to change your life in the New Year. To wipe the slate clean and start fresh.
Here are 4 ways I’ve gathered over the years to help you stay focused and keep your New Year’s resolutions:
1. Assess your true priorities.
I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we could exercise more, juice every morning, do yoga, meditate, keep a bullet journal, organize our desks, meet our future partner, work to get that promotion, dedicate more time to our kids, and get more sleep in 2018?? Alas, there are only 24 hours in the day, and I don’t care what Beyonce can get done. Most of us don’t have a staff, we scrub our own counters and open our own mail. So, think about what you REALLY want, not just the obligatory “get healthy” goals. I’m talking about passion.
What excites you, gets you up in the morning no matter how tired you are? THAT is what you need to focus on for your resolution. You need to feed that energy, that drive, because it will benefit all other parts of your life.
If you don’t have a particular passion, think about what you really want to change. Not what you think you should change. Do you want to lead a healthier lifestyle? Create more art? Or (once and for all) clean out your garage? Do you want to learn to say NO?
So often, we create resolutions out of fear. We want other to approve of how we look, how we live, and what we do, instead of asking ourselves: “What do I want for my life?”
Instead of feeling guilty, how about you make time for what you want and stick to it? Again, when you accomplish things that YOU want (instead of trying to please others), you will have more energy to do all of those things you normally don’t have time for.
Take baby steps.
Here’s how you do it. Break down your goal into the smallest elements possible. Let’s say you want to lose weight and be more fit. Instead of keeping it generic, think about specifics. How much weight do you want to lose? How fit do you want to be? Do you want to strengthen your core, to alleviate back pain, to have more energy? What are your true goals?
Once you know specifically what you want, you can set up attainable goals. For instance, you want to lose twenty pounds to take stress off your knees. Break it down to losing one pound per week for the first 4 weeks. See how you do, assess what food items or alcohol you can cut out, and begin again for another 4 weeks. See if you’re able to walk a little longer each day with less pain. It’s all about forward movement, no matter how slow.
Don’t let interruptions sidetrack you.
I heard the best phrase for this. It’s time to change “the infrastructure of your life.” This means we actually, physically make time for those things that are important and schedule it into our days. Set aside two hours a day for writing your novel. Or one Saturday a month to learn photography. Save one Sunday a week to train for that hike.
Laundry can wait. Organizing your notes can wait. Trying out a new recipe can wait. Remember, you can always find excuses for not doing something important for yourself. We do it all the time: you don’t have time to write that novel, go on that hike, learn photography…and yet every year, you resolve to try again. Instead of trying to do everything, try to do THIS ONE THING you want to do. Let your house be messy. Disappoint your friends or church or volunteer group if it means you get that extra time to pursue something you love. Everyone else will be fine, and you’ll be more fulfilled.
Give yourself props for progress.
Acknowledge what you are able to do. What motivates us in continuing our resolutions is positive reinforcement. If we see we are making progress, then we will continue. So it’s important to take the time to notice any improvements along the way.
Good luck. Now get out there and pursue your passions, learn a new hobby, or make time for the things that make you happy. You’ll be surprised at how this can change you.