I’m a big fan of resolutions and of celebrating New Year’s Eve. There’s something to liberating in intentionally taking time to examine your life and your direction and allowing yourself to make changes or improvements if need be.
I think a lot of people dislike the New Year’s Eve resolution bit because more often than not, the resolutions fail and it starts the year off in a negative way. I mean, you can’t feel successful and capable if 3 days in, you’re already failing, right?
I think resolutions fail because they are inherently too broad. Saying something like “I’m going to save money” or “I’m going to eat healthy” or the ever-so-famous “I’m going to lose weight” are almost guaranteed to fail because we forget to answer the most important question: HOW.
The most successful resolution I’ve ever had was one that was so specific that it was so simple to stick to. About eight years ago I resolved to never eat Taco Bell again. I remember feeling like I had been indulging in the junk food too often for my liking – and as a result, felt sluggish and sick more often than not. My resolution could have easily been “I want to be more healthful” – but by narrowing in on one thing, my focus was set. Goodbye Taco Bell, hello other better options. Becoming more healthful was a side effect of my resolution and I am thrilled to say that barring one slip up (on a particularly busy day without decent food in sight) I’ve been Taco Bell free since that very day.
Here’s a different way to re-work your resolutions so that they not only stick – you succeed at keeping them.
Instead of: “I’m going to save more money.”
Try: “I’m going to put $10 a week into a jar.”
Instead of: “I’m going to eat healthy.”
Try: “I’m going to have a Glowing Green Smoothie every Monday.”
Instead of: “I’m going to lose weight.”
Try: “I am happy with who I am, my weight does not define me. To be more healthful, I will aim to lose 1 pound per week and determine a non-food reward to celebrate my successes.”
Instead of: “I’m going to spend more time with family/get better about staying in touch with people.”
Try: “Every other Friday night is game night for our family/friend so we can spend time together.”
Instead of: “I’m going to travel more.”
Try: “In July, I’m going to go to San Francisco. “ (Picking a specific month and destination make this more real, and therefore attainable.)
Instead of: “I want to be less stressed.”
Try: “I’m going to download the Calm App and take 3-5 minutes for me every day.”
The key here is to be as specific as possible with your resolutions. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to attain your goals and start making an actionable plan.
My 2016 Resolutions
Broad: “I’m going to conquer my fears.”
Specific: I’m going to conquer my fear of boats/open water by going on a cruise with friends in the Spring. I have selected the cruise line, the length of the trip and destinations – and most importantly, I’ve told as many people as possible. There’s no way I’m backing out now.
Broad: “I’m going to lose weight”
Specific: After being in an intense car accident last year and losing two vital family members, I’ve gained more weight than I’m comfortable with. I had to be on rest for a long time and in physical therapy for an even longer time, so my muscles have atrophied. Grief consumed me and sent me into a tailspin of depression. To get back to where I was pre-accident, I’m going to be in the gym 3 days a week to start, with a focus on weight lifting and yoga. Where food is concerned, I am starting with a detox, then moving into a non-restrictive healthful eating regimen that is both manageable and enjoyable.
Broad: “I’m going to be more organized/be a better blogger.”
Specific: This means becoming BFFs with my new planner. It means getting serious about my editorial calendar, planning videos out way ahead of time and bringing you guys the best content I possibly can. Blogging 5 days a week and trying to keep up a YouTube schedule feels so unattainable and crazy right now – but I know with discipline and planning, I can make it happen without feeling like I’m in total chaos.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? How can you refine them and make them more realistic? Share with me, I’d love to hear what you’re working on!