No point? Not going to happen? Why bother? It’s just any other day? Well maybe but definitely not with an attitude like that. Whether or not you admit it out loud chances are you do have something in mind to change this time of year. I’ve had some really life changing success in making new year’s resolutions but earlier on I had less. It really is about the type of resolutions you make and how you set yourself up for success. If you’ve made resolutions that have failed in the past start changing your track record this year by picking something super realistic this year.
It feels amazing and can mean more fun it you actually accomplish a new years resolution and then it’s sort of addictive year after year. At the end of this post I’ll share some of the new year’s resolutions I’ve made successfully, some are really weird so be warned. But first let’s look at how to set new year’s resolutions you’ll actually accomplish and next week we’ll talk about setting yourself up for success. PS who ever said you can only set one is nutty. Plus along the way I’ll take you through my weird yet successful methods.
First and foremost let go of previous years
Even if you never lost those 20 lbs even though you resolved to for a decade straight or neglected the self improvement inherent in resolutions for the last 5 years, just sing the song and let it go. If you think they are stupid, sing and let it go. People change, grow and they need to. Look at this year and resolutions and change in general as just an opportunity for personal growth.
Resolve to change things you want to change anyway
The best way to stick to a resolution is to resolve to change something you’re really motivated to change! Ideally something you’ve been thinking a lot about how and why it needs to change. If you’ve been thinking you’re broker than you want to be yet you’re in the habit of buying breakfast and lunch everyday at work and you’ve already connected those dots, calculated that you’ll save $17 dollars a day or over $350 a month which is almost half your rent and be healthier if you break this habit, this is the perfect thing to change! You’ll have so much more success of you’re motivated and have thought about the problem. It might be about your relationship, something you doubtlessly think a lot about. Perhaps you need to fix it or move on make this the year you give it your best shot and call it if necessary. We all have something we know we need to change that we’ve thought a lot about and make this year the year. Big or small if your motivated to do it you’re way more likely to rock it.
Especially if you’ve had a lot of failed resolutions in the past change something smaller this year and build some positive momentum. Perhaps you’ve had failures in the past because they were just too big. Give yourself a pat on the back for your past gusto but scale it down this year. Things like get healthy could mean a whole breadth of things like confronting your fear of doctors, working out for an hour 5 times a week, eating completely clean, losing 30 lbs, drinking a whole lot less and going to bed by 10 every night. Any one of those things qualifies as a big ass resolution but attempting them all at once would require a personality transplant. Pick something small like use less water, electricity, eating clean three days a week or putting $40 a week in the save jar.
Put resolutions in categories you care about
You can change more than one thing each year and for some weird reason I love making more than one resolution. I actually think that it takes the pressure off each once when I make more than one. It changes a bit some years but I like to make one for my health, one for the environment and one for fun each year. Or one big one and two ‘small’ ones perhaps one for you, one for your partner or one for your kids or a work one and a home one. We usually know ourselves pretty well as people at least enough to give an elevator pitch about ourselves, make sure to include some realistic negitives. Mine would be something like, “I’m Allison, I love to teach and do research as a trained scientist but right now I spend most of my time working for a family business. I still teach in the evenings but I spend a lot of time working out doing all sorts of things like yoga, running and triathlons and I’m really into the environment. I have a great parter who I work with everyday and have a whole lot of fun with when I’m not. I tend to like my routines more than I should and things a certain way, but I’d rather do something fun and have an experience rather than sticking to them.” This might change a lot over time and even a little day to day. If you don’t have this think about it and if you can’t come up with it ask your best friend. Then make resolutions that fit in with the categories that are important to you, you’re more likely to stick to them because you value them.
Avoid hard and fast rules opt for more, less and better language
If you make really, really specific resolutions like loose 5 lbs a month, workout 5 days a week, save $1000 dollars a month or don’t spend any money on lunches or take aways out your going to fail. You’ll sleep in, run late, the weather will suck or you’ll really want that designer bag and it’s on super sale. Then you’ve blown it and failed right after that you’ll give up entirely. Instead couch your language a bit. Say you’ll workout more often, make it to yoga most weeks, produce less garbage or loose two dress sizes over the year. Remember these resolutions are for all of 2018 not just January! That way you don’t have an excuse to give up entirely if you have a slip, you can get back on track and still succeed. You might even have a goal you work up to like produce less garbage over the year ideally producing one bag every two weeks by the end of the year. Include a goal but tell yourself you’ll work up to it over the course of the year.
Tell someone or keep it to yourself
Maybe you like the accountability of telling people what your doing but I sometimes like to keep it to myself too. If you have something big you want to change like how much your drinking, or another habit that’s gotten out of control that embarrasses you to admit you don’t have to tell anyone your working on it. Or if you realized that you want to change something other’s won’t ‘get’ like your water usage after a summer drought, just do it and skip the teasing from your fiancé. Alright that one was terribly specific but you get the idea. We’re always told tell people to keep yourself accountable but I tend to disagree, at least for me.
Measure or record your success
What ever your changing there is a way to measure or record your success. Sometimes it’s silly and arbitrary but if you can see it you know you’re making progress and it keeps you motivated. You can put your saved money in a jar, or move it to a separate account, download an app that helps you quit smoking (I used smoke free), or calorie counter to track what you put in your mouth (and your measurements and weight) or get creative. One of my friends wanted to make healthier choices more often so she kept a list on her phone things like, waked to pick up the car instead of taking the shuttle, cabbed it home at midnight instead of staying out drinking till 3 and veggie burger instead of whopper. You could put a quarter in the karma jar if you resolved to be nicer to people for your good deeds or keep a pile of those books you resolved to read on your coffee table for the year. Fitness trackers usually give you weekly totals and badges and sleep apps track our progress over time (sleep cycle). But find a way to tack it and see it so in your weaker moments you can see how far you’ve come.
Weird can be wonderful
Now this isn’t scientific but 90% of the resolutions out there will wither be get fit, quit inset bad habit here or loose weight. Especially if that start small advice rang true embrace your inner weirdo! Learn how to weave fabric, become a militant recycler or composter, switch your veggie garden to organic or take up the family tradition of yodelling. Resolve to find your tribe and make new friends, service your own bike or dress up like an idiot for a silly race. Push your boundaries by engaging in social functions, finding actually comfortable stylish pants or find a life uniform this year. No one says it has to be the big three. As evidence of this check out some of my weird and regular resolutions I’ve made and how they worked out below.
Previous resolutions that have worked, why and to what degree
- Quit smoking (smoke free for 2 years!)
- Use less water even though our well is very good after a drought summer ( I realized I shouldn’t be taking my good fortune for granted.)
- Get down to 1 bag of garbage every two weeks. (it took the year but I did it!)
- Stop biting my nails (worked)
- Prioritize fitness after grad school (Umm that worked)
- Take better care of my mental health through dedicated self-care (This is hard sometimes but I only take bubble baths and love to mask and other things, I make time for it at least three hours a week)
- Seriously try out this blog thing
- Find a consistent creative outlet (this!)
- Talk less about other people (I do better at this but I still want to hear 103% of the gossip)
- Find peace in family relationships (I have that now but it took way more than 1 year and it was hard)
- Stop bowing to pressure and awkwardness and eat what you want and don’t apologize. (I only eat game and sustainable harvested seafood now)
- Have and buy less stuff (This was actually really easy but it just made space for honey to get more stuff)
- Stop using the dryer unless it’s an emergency
- Keep a cleaner house (progress – slight)