Let me start off my post about New Years Resolutions by saying I broke one of mine for (I think?) the first time on Friday! I set a goal last year to blog 3x a week. I took a couple of times off for holidays/vacation, but those were always planned. I think Friday was the first time I straight up spaced a blog post. I don’t really regret it or feel that bad – who is reading blogs over Christmas holidays anyway??? But still. Feels wrong to not acknowledge that I suck.
Ok now that THAT’S out of the way. I LOVE New Year’s Resolutions. I LOVE a fresh start. A blank planner. A whole realm of possibility. Type A as it gets, I suppose. But I genuinely believe that a fresh year can make a huge difference for people. I’ve been big into New Year’s Resolutions for a long time, but I’ve evolved and changed the way I use and look at them, and I think now I have a much better grasp.
If you’re the type of person who sets New Year’s Resolutions only to have them fall apart by February, or to feel like a failure, or to resent the chart you made, or to cringe at the word “resolution” entirely… I wrote this for you. It doesn’t have to be like that! It shouldn’t be like that!
New Year’s Resolutions don’t all have to be unsavory like “lose weight” or “floss” or “stop swearing.” They don’t all have to be generic and unmeasurable like “read more” or “spend less time on my phone.” Last year I did a really good job setting real, awesome, exciting resolutions and because of that I stuck to most of them! And yeah, it was a sh*t year for a lot of reasons but honestly a big part of my survival was these resolutions! I promise!
So today I’m sharing my 5 tips for setting legit, real, awesome, exciting, do-able New Year’s Resolutions! Enjoy!
5 Tips for Setting REAL, AWESOME New Year’s Resolutions!
- Spend some down time thinking & reflecting.
- To actually set resolutions, you need to know what you ~want. How did this year go? What went well? What sucked? What are your strengths & weaknesses? What does 2017 hold in store for you that you’d like to seize or be prepared for? What would you change about 2016 if you could?
- Quiet/independent thinking time is so helpful for this. Take a nice drive with a favorite playlist. Go for a run or a gym session. Wake up early. Stay up late. Say a prayer or even fast if that’s your thing. Just set aside the time for it.
- Think big and small. Huge dreams. Tiny daily habits. Minor annoyances. Life-changing moments.
- I’ve found scrolling through my Instagram feed from the past year (or my GBOMBS! They’ve been so helpful because they’re a monthly summary of what I did and how I felt and how things went) was very insightful. Read old journal entries from the year if you have them.
- Brainstorm a list of resolutions/changes/goals/ideas/dreams you have.
- Make it long! Give yourself a ton of options! Small things like “wash face before bed every night” and big things like “take a trip to a foreign country.”
- Don’t worry about them being specific or even do-able yet. Just brainstorm. What does the perfect, most happy, most badass version of your 2017 self look like? What is she doing? What does her average day look like?
- Think about a lot of categories in your life. Personal, social, spiritual, mental, romantic, family, fitness, home, work, school, etc.
- Flush what you DON’T WANT TO DO. Excitement only!!!
- This is so simple, and so healthy, but often refuse to give ourselves permission to just say “I just DON’T WANT TO.” It sounds so bad to say “I hate flossing, and I’m only gonna do it when I feel like I want/have to.” But it’s also bad to set a goal that you know you don’t want to do, won’t do, and will feel guilt and failure for not doing.
- It’s ok to just accept that you’re not the type of person who will ever meditate. You’re never gonna be a gym rat. You don’t actually want to go to church every week or blog daily or do Clean Eating. It’s OK. Just accept it and drop the guilt. You move faster without baggage.
- Straight up delete anything from your list that, when you’re being truly honest with yourself, don’t want to do. Rephrase/rework any that are left so they’re totally, 100% things you DO want to do. Things you’re excited about. Things that might be hard or a challenge, but overall fun and good and exciting!
- Do NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SET A GOAL YOU ARE NOT HAPPY OR EXCITED ABOUT. If it’s something you absolutely need to do, such as lose weight for health reasons or change careers due to extenuating circumstances the step you need to take first is to get to a place where you DO want to set a goal. But trust me!!!!!!! Don’t set goals you don’t want to!!!! They do more harm than good! This was life-changing for me!!!!!!!!!
- For example if you really do want to lose weight or exercise more, but the actual goal of working out or going to the gym or dieting sounds repulsive – you need to rework it into something that *is* exciting. Playing on a rec league team. Learning to cook healthy foods. Working out with your best friend twice a month. Wearing a bikini on your family vacation in May. It has to be something you’ll think about daily and not in a beat-yourself-up type of way. In a Yay-I-Can-Do-This! type of way.
- Read Better Than Before. Seriously.
- You have to learn yourself before you can master yourself. What type of person you are affects how you form and stick to habits. If you’re an Obliger, for example, you hold yourself accountable to other people. That means a sticker chart or reward system will NEVER WORK FOR YOU.
- This is why so many people fail at New Year’s Resolutions. They do all the “right” things. They set a simple, straightforward goal like losing 10 lbs. They want to. They’re so excited about it. They get a gym pass. They make a workout schedule. They buy new workout clothes. They go for 2 weeks and then fizzle. It’s because they’re an Obliger – for that goal to work for them they would need a workout buddy or trainer that they feared to let down, and then VOILA they would work out, feel good about it, and lose 10 lbs.
- You might be an Obliger, Questioner, Rebel, or Upholder. It has a HUGE impact on the type of goals you set and how you achieve them. Please PLEASE read Better than Before. Right now. Today. Trust me.
- Other helpful goal-setting reads: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, The Happiness Project, and You Are A Badass.
- Make Your Goals REAL
- What I mean is you have to be able to ~see them somehow. General goals are very helpful and I think you should still set them. One of my most important goals this year is one I can’t make a S.M.A.R.T. goal, but that doesn’t mean I’ll drop it. I’m just saying try to make your goals specific enough that you can see how they’ll play out in your life. Visualize, think of examples, play-act scenarios in your head if it’s something you can’t plan or measure.
- For example – my favorite goal last year was reading 3 books a month. I made it specific (3 books each calendar month). I also made myself somewhat accountable in a way that motivated me – I would blog the reviews each month! I also wrote them in my monthly planner pages so I was excited, prepared, and wouldn’t forget. Saying you’re gonna work out 3x a week doesn’t do much if that’s all you say. Think about how you’ll ensure that it happens – taking workout clothes to work and going before you come home, setting up a workout date with a friend or trainer, scheduling it in by week or month.
- Give yourself some flexibility, because you don’t want a minor failure to derail the goal entirely. Sometimes I only read 2 books, or I didn’t finish book #3 until the first week of the next month. It’s ok! The overall goal was really to read more, and the 3 books was a means to an end. I just tried not to beat myself up about it and keep the commitment going.
BONUS: Set a word or intention of 2017! Last year was the first year I did this – my word of 2016 was Queen and it was a lot of fun. Having a “word” or “intention” can encompass more than just goals – it can be a focus, motivation, reminder, brand. It’s great for all those things you want to ~do but can’t quite be made into S.M.A.R.T. goals or resolutions.
We can do this, you guys. 2016 was a dumpster fire of a year for a lot of people, and I have never experienced quite a community sentiment as strong as our hope for 2017. We can do this. 2017 can be better. Make this the year you set New Year’s Resolutions that you’re actually stoked about, and that will actually make a difference in your life.
I’m still working on mine, but I’m excited to share them with you next week! This week I’m working hard on my 2016 detox and 2017 prep. I do the same preparatory list during the week between Christmas & New Year’s every year and this year it feels extra important to me with baby on the way.