I love New Year’s resolutions. I also hate New Year’s resolutions. I hate the superficial aspect of most resolutions. Be bikini ready by spring break. Drunk text your ex less. Stop binge watching so much Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
I love making goals, lists, and plans. Type A to the core, baby. I get deep gratification from crossing things off of said lists (a process which often involves adding a task to a list once it is already completed, for the sole purpose of receiving the gratification from crossing it off a list).
Over the years, I have found that there are some keys to creating goals that I will be able to successfully implement.
Create Goals That Are Measurable
Exercise more. That’s good and all, and I believe that the people who resolve to do this, truly desire to be healthy. But come February, if you have gone to the gym twice since Christmas, have you exercised more than you did last year? Perhaps. But is this what you had envisioned when you opened your crisp new goal-making notebook? I presume not.
Exercise 3 times a week. That can be measured when February rolls around, and the Internet is no longer teeming with posts like this very one. I can ask myself, have I done this? Have I exercised 3 times a week, for the most part, like I wanted?
If I want to read more in the coming year (and I do!), rather than stopping there, I will try to read 2 books/month. One fiction, one nonfiction.
Simplify Your Life To Make Room For Stuff That Matters
There is a natural pulse and rhythm to the year, that prompts many of us to stop and assess as a new year begins. Whether simply in a meditative way, or in an intense, hours-long sort of way. We look back at the last year, see how it evolved, and figure out what changes we want to make in the new year.
Part of making room for all the stuff that we prioritize, is figuring out what has to go. I want to be more present this year. I want to spend more time with loved ones. I want to feel less scattered. Whatever the desire be, a lot of times, the key to success is getting rid of the unnecessary stuff that is crowding your life.
I can resolve to not over-commit myself, but part of doing that is assessing what on my plate has to GO. I am one person. There are 24 hours in my day. Every day.
There are a lot of things I want to do. Volunteer more. Spend time with friends more. Focus on getting into shape.
But I can’t do it all. I can’t be everything to everyone. As I simplify what I am doing, there will be a natural opening for the stuff that matters to me. If I am not running around like a chicken with her head cut off, I’m going to sit and chill with my kids over break.
I need to say NO to what is NOT a priority, and what will stress me out. There will always be good things to be done. But the stuff I fill my calendar with, cannot take away from what is most important. I cannot give and give and give, at the expense of my own health (and let’s be honest, sanity) and well-being of those who matter most to me.
Have One Person That Will Hold You Accountable
I think one of the reasons companies like Weight Watchers have such success (and I’m not here to advertise for Weight Watchers, mind you), is because a person who wants to lose weight has to “report” to a WW counselor. You, an overweight individual who wants to change your ways, have to meet with a counselor on a regular basis, and account for your eating and fitness habits.
That’s a lot different than counting calories on your own (eh, yesterday was a light day, so I’ll just count this Chick-Fil-A meal and shake as part yesterday’s calories, part today’s calories).
Fitness instructors recommend having a jogging buddy. It’s harder to wake up and cancel on a friend, than it is to turn off your alarm and skip a solo run.
Involve a supportive person in your process of making and keeping goals. Your husband, friend, sister, mom, neighbor. That person who will encourage you, but challenge you. Let it be the person who sends you out the door to get some post-Christmas, clearance Old Navy workout gear (true story).
Stick To It
The key to making New Year’s resolutions is this: never stop making them. Never stop evaluating and tweaking. In June, assess how you’re doing. Throughout the week, think about your goals.
I hate resolutions, because it makes them sound like a January thing. I love resolutions, because gosh, the possibilities are endless. So many things to cross off of so many lists.