Happy New Year! Another new year means another opportunity to set new resolutions. There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who love New Years resolutions and those who hate them. Which one are you?
Okay, okay that may be dramatic. But have you noticed that for whatever reason, this is one of the things our society has targeted to tear apart? Every year there are new years resolutions memes mocking the habit and discouraging those who take the challenge. Some of them are sarcastic. Others are harsh. But either way, there is a negative attitude towards the idea of starting the new year with new habits.
Me personally, I’m a huge fan! I love lists. I love challenges. I love opportunities. So New Year’s resolutions are like the trifecta; the opportunity to write down a list of challenges?! YES PLEASE!
Every year, I make resolutions. I have done this for as long as I can remember. They have been anything from physical, educational, spiritual, or relational goals. Some years, I do really well. Some years, my results are embarrassing to admit. Looking back now, I have some perspective as to what worked; what didn’t work; and why.
Here are 3 easy tips to make your New Year’s resolutions stick: Write it. Plan it. Mean it.
Write it! There have been times in years past when my resolutions were more serious than others but I really didn’t start sticking to them until I made it a priority to write them down. Putting a pen to paper (or I suppose my thumbs to my phone’s keypad) made it seem more final and concrete. I’m a competitive person. If I see a written list; it’s like daring me to accomplish it. Plus, if you need to additional motivation… I recommend writing it in a place others can see. Me personally, I write it on my phone and sometimes screenshot the list and put it as my background. I’ve even posted them on social media before. Whether those who saw it will actually hold you accountable or not, the fact you announced it publicly holds power.
Plan it! While writing it is important and a way for self-accountability; planning your steps for attack is also vitally important. Then instead of it simply being a list, it is now a list which you possess the key to complete. Make small practical steps. Make a timetable to complete pieces of each resolution. Create reminders on your mirror or in your phone to keep your motivated. I use the list app on my iPhone to keep me organized. I check things off as I accomplish them from day-to-day or month-to-month. Set yourself up for success but giving yourself a clear direction!
Mean it! You may think by writing it down and making a plan to complete it, you are clearly serious about your resolution. Therefore, you mean it! While that might be the case, I would also argue you can’t really “mean it” if you pick too many things. You are only human and only capable of a certain amount. You can’t vow to complete everything all in the same year. Pick your battles. Start small but stick to them. I generally chose goals from three categories which don’t overlap so I can focus on each separately. My three categories are: physical, spiritual, and mental. It’s amazing how good it feels to simply accomplish something you said you would!
I’ll share a bit about my personal journey. Last year, I vowed that 2017 would be the year I would do the splits. I wrote it down. I told those who are close to me about my goal. I made a plan through reminders as to how often I would train my flexibility. It was the only physical goal I made it 2017 so I meant it! I was focused and ready. I’ve always been an inflexible person. I started the year unable to even touch my own toes. I had ups and downs throughout the year. I definitely ignored my reminders to stretch more than once. But overall my flexibility was improving and it was exciting. When the end of the year rolled around; I failed. I was close. But I didn’t accomplish my goal. I learned a lot from the experience. I had a lot of people ask me throughout the journey about how it was going. I even had people over Christmas ask for a photo. I chose not to be embarrassed but to be proud of the improvement. And when it came time to make my 2018 list, the splits went on there again! Allow me to be corny for a second and refer to the saying about “it isn’t about the destination but the journey.” I learned! And now, I want to stay on the path of improving my flexibility.
No matter what you are trying to accomplish, I believe no time is as good as the present to take a leap and just start. Whether you use the motto of “new year = new me” or not, dare to challenge yourself and improve!