January 1, 2020. A new day, a new year, a new decade. We all set our sights on this day as a new beginning. A chance to get things right and create the version of ourselves and our lives that we’ve only dared to dream about. We are optimistic, hopeful, and excited at all of the opportunities that lay ahead.
I have always been a fan of making New Year’s Resolutions. I believe setting goals and looking towards your future with excitement, intention, and motivation is always a positive thing. But over the years, I have learned a few things about making resolutions and setting goals that have made a big impact in allowing me to actually follow through with the resolutions I set each year.
- Keep it Simple. I used to make a list a mile long with all of the things I was setting out to accomplish in the New Year. And as a result, by mid-January, I either couldn’t remember half of the things on my list, or I had become so overwhelmed at all of the things I was supposed to be doing to make me and my life “perfect”, that I gave up before I even had a real chance to try. So keep it simple. Make a list that includes 3-5 things that you can focus your time and energy on. It’s better to make a small list that gets accomplished, then make a big list that gets abandoned early on.
- Start Small. Most resolutions are set with the end goal in mind — the number on scale, the dollar amount in our back account, etc. We often see it as going from where we are (Point A) to where we want to be (Point B). But in actuality, it is more like going from Point A to Point Z, and there are a whole lot of steps and milestones along the way. So while it is always good to keep the end goal in mind, it is smart to map out the smaller steps that need to be taken first, and set those as separate goals to achieving your overarching one. By recognizing the journey you are about to embark on, and celebrating the small victories along the way, you are much more likely to hit your target goal in the end.
- Every Day is a New Opportunity. I am guilty of setting goals and believing the path to achieving them needed to be without error or mistakes. And so when a slip-up would inevitably take place, I would feel discouraged and like I’d completely blown it. Which, quite frankly, was completely ludicrous. A mistake or misstep does not mean that a goal or resolution should be scrapped. It simply means you stand back up, dust yourself off, and pick up where you left off. So don’t get discouraged if your resolutions are not perfectly executed after January 1st. Each day is a new opportunity to do things differently, to try a little harder, and to push ourselves a little bit more. Each day can mark a change if we allow it to.
- Make Resolutions Year Round. Guess what? January 1st does not contain any kind of actual magic; it is not the only day that resolutions can be made. And the same goes with any other first of the month or first of the week. Is your mind blown?! For some reason we have it in our heads that starting fresh only works at designated times. But as it turns out, that designated time is whenever we say it is! We determine when we start, and we determine what we accomplish! So as you accomplish one goal, set a new one! If inspiration hits you mid-month, mid-week, mid-day, don’t wait for the first of anything to get started!!! Keep setting goals and resolutions year round!
- Create a Theme. Every year, I try to come up with a word to define what I want to focus my time and energy on during the New Year. Something simple, but that captures what I want my resolutions to help me achieve on a higher level. Last year, I chose the word “intentional”. I chose that word because I wanted to be intentional about everything I did. I believed it would allow me to prioritize the things I was putting my time and energy into. In the beginning, I had to be intentional about being intentional, haha! But over time, I saw the shift that started to happen in my mind, in my words, and in my actions. I was more deliberate about what I did, and more readily let go of the things that didn’t serve me or my family. It took me almost the entire year to really be able to narrow in on this skill, but it was worth the investment I put into it. As I enter into this New Year, my new word is Joy. I want to achieve more happiness in all areas of my life. I want to enjoy the journey and find joy in the small and everyday things. So pick a word. And let it define your focus as you enter into the New Year.
Do you set resolutions or a theme for the year? If so, I’d love to hear them!