How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
It’s that time of year again: New Year’s Resolution time. That time of year when we evaluate our lives, see what we need to change, and feel a huge burst of motivation and energy that, “This will be the year that I finally… [fill in the blank].”
Last year I approached my New Year’s Resolutions a bit differently than I had all the years previous. Instead of “resolutions” I made “goals”. It may be semantics, but somehow making goals makes it seem more doable. Resolutions have more of an all-or-nothing feel to them.
When I resolve to do such and such, as soon as I miss a day or mess up, the resolution is usually thrown out the window completely. A goal, on the other hand, is more attainable. The definition itself seemed more palatable to me: “The end toward which effort is directed.” It is something to strive for but not something I have to try to keep at all costs.
Along the same lines as that, I strive to make my goals sensible and attainable, not something that is completely beyond reach.
For example, in the past I had the resolution to work out every day of the week except Sundays. Can you see the set up for failure there?
Now, my goal is to work out as often as I can in a week.
In the past, my resolution was to read two self-help books a week.
Now, my goal is to balance out whatever fiction reading I do with self-help or educational books.
Another past resolution was to become completely organic and natural in my eating and cleaning by year’s end.
This year’s goal is to slowly but surely replace one man-made, processed item at a time with something natural.
There are some other things I have done to help make my New Year Goals more attainable as well.
First, I have looked at what I feel my life purpose is and created goals that will help me meet this ultimate goal of mine. This helps me keep focused and purposeful in what I do all year long. Everything I strive for, in the end, helps go towards achieving my ultimate purpose in life.
While doing this, I have taken a look at the different dimensions of my life: Physical, Educational, Spiritual, Marital, Parenting, Financial, Vocational. In each of these categories I have placed goals for the coming year. For example:
Physical: Exercise as much as I can during the week. Get fresh air every day, even if it means cracking a window open in the house. Begin to lose the processed foods and eat more natural foods.
Educational: Read one self-help or educational book for every fiction book I read. Access an online news site as much as I can during the week to stay up on current events.
Spiritual: Start of my day with prayer and meditation. Memorize verses from the Bible as often as I can.
Marital: Make romance a priority, no matter how stressed or tired my husband and I are, even if it is to just light candles for dinner. Write my husband notes as often as it comes to mind to do so.
Parenting: Seek to get on the floor and play with my daughter often throughout my day, despite my work-at-home job. Read with her before bed. Let her enjoy her bath instead of rushing her through it so I can get her to bed.
Financial: Begin following the principles in the books Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The Minute Millionaire. Give away 10% of our income. Continue to learn how to bargain shop.
Vocational: Keep up professional counseling certifications and memberships. Continue to read counseling materials on a monthly basis. Always go over (and over) any writing I do, seeking to constantly smooth it and shape it into the best it can be.
Because I am a list person and tend to micro-manage my life, the above list is actually a very condensed version of my goals for the upcoming year, but you get the gist. As you can see, my goals tend to be more broad and general than narrow and specific. They give me something to strive for but not something that, when I fail to follow through, I fall back on my tendency to throw my hands up and say, “Forget it. I ruined it and it’s all over for another year!”
When I made my list I made sure to put in some goals that I actually will enjoy achieving. Often, our New Year’s lists read more like a “should” or “ought-to-do” list, instead of an “I’d really enjoy doing this” list. I love to read and learn and I’m a sucker for romance, so the goals that fit into those categories really line up with what grabs my heart anyway.
I then take the list that I have created and I do two specific things with it. First, I tell a friend (or friends). It’s much easier to tackle my goals when I find accountability buddies than it is to go it alone.
Second, I write out the list and put it in front of my journal. That way I can be reminded each day of what I hope to accomplish. It’s so easy to forget what my goals are when I don’t keep them in front of me on a daily basis.
When making my New Year’s goals however, I find that I tend to sometimes focus more on doing than being — but life is so much more than just about what I do. Although it’s hard to write it as a goal, I strive to work at “being” in addition to all the concrete goals I have for myself.
I don’t just want to do romantic things, I want to be a romantic. I don’t just want to have good parenting skills, I want to have a Mama’s heart. I don’t just want to have a body that’s in shape, I want to be a woman who’s beauty comes from an inner peace and contentment.
As a task-oriented person it’s so hard to focus on “being” instead of “doing”. Doing things seems to be so much more easily measured and checked off my list then just “being” — and I certainly do love checking things off of a list!
The thing is, seasons will come into our lives, such as illness, bed rest, surgery recovery, when we cannot do a single thing, and that is when who we are as women is really going to shine forth. I don’t want to get so caught up in checking off my list this year that I miss out on becoming who I need to be in my spirit.
So, summed up, as you face 2019 and are sitting down to make that list…
Keep it realistic, keep it attainable, keep it in line with what your life purpose is, keep it in front of you on a daily basis, and most of all, keep in mind that ultimately, it’s about who we are as women, not necessarily about what we do.