New Year's Resolutions get a BAD rep!
But you know what? I love 'em. I feel like they give my year focus and setting tangible, realistic goals for myself helps me live more intentionally. At the end of the year I love being able to look back at the resolutions I made on New Year's Eve and seeing clearly what I've done. It puts things into perspective and gives me a way to quantify my achievements. I started making resolutions for that very reason- once you're out of school, it becomes more and more difficult to see at a glance what you've done. It became difficult to feel like I had actually accomplished anything over the course of a year. And as I've said numerous times on here,
I. LOVE. Lists.
Lists help me create order out of chaos.
They give me that little "Hooray!" moment when I can check something off.
I can show you, at the end of the day, week, month, and year WHAT I've done and HOW I've spent my time.
More importantly, I can show MYSELF.
And that feels amazing.
THAT'S why I love making resolutions.
And that's also why I think a lot of people HATE them- because they don't know how to do them effectively, so they end up feeling like failures. But I want to change that!
If you've never done it before, I'll show you how I do mine and if it appeals, you can feel free to jump on board! Oh, and if you do decide to do it, I would love it if you would share your resolutions with me! It's always fun to see what other people are planning to do with their brand new clean slates!
Which brings me to my first point:
Resolutions are not about what happened last year, last month, or the last time you did this. A New Year is just that- NEW. You're not the same person you were last December 31st, which means it doesn't matter what the you did or didn't do then. Don't pick on yourself and don't listen to that nasty little voice in the back of your head that whispers, in that hateful little voice, that you didn't do it then so what makes you think you can now. That voice is a liar and a bully. For me, that voice is more like a dare than anything. When it says things like that, I say, "Oh YEAH?! WATCH ME." You can do that, TOO. I promise. Get sassy with that voice. Get spunky with that voice.
Now let's talk goal setting:
1. Make tangible, logical, achievable goals.
Think of the goals you're setting as individual books in the series of books about your life, and every good book has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your goals should, too.
Let's start with the most popular resolution people make on New Year's Eve- weight loss: Don't just say, "In 2013, I want to lose weight." That doesn't give you anything to work toward or achieve. There's no meat to that, and it's not a goal. It's a wish with different clothing.
Here's how a good goal looks:
In 2013 I want to lose 20lbs.
To do that I will:
- Join a gym by January 31st
- Read "X-Y-Z Guide to Weight Loss" and implement its information by February 28th.
- Lose 5 lbs by March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st.
- I will reward myself with a new [insert small prize here] for every 5lbs lost!
See that? You've broken one goal down into easy, achievable bite size pieces. You've set an actual amount of weight that you want to lose, which gives you something tangible to work toward rather than just a pie in the sky "I want to lose weight" wish. You've also given yourself the most important part of the resolution- A PLAN. Most resolutions don't last past the second week of January. Sad, right? That's because people don't have a plan in place to keep them accountable and to keep them on track. Even if you give yourself a tangible number to work toward- 20lbs- just saying that isn't enough. Seeing that weight fall off in 1lb increments can seem really discouraging when you have that big number looming over you. Breaking it down into 5lb increments instead gives you smaller goals to celebrate. You've also promised yourself something to reward yourself for your good behavior. We used to get grades in school, at a job you get a raise or a promotion, and you deserve no less for a job well done for YOU. It doesn't have to be extravagant or costly- it could be a clearance book at Barnes and Noble, it could be that new label maker you've had your eye on (NO JUDGMENT!), it could be anything that will motivate you.
2. Put your goals AND your plan in WRITING.Not only that, post them somewhere you and OTHERS will SEE them regularly. Don't just write them down in your journal or a scrap of paper and forget about them. Definitely don't just say them out loud as the ball is dropping and then forget them as soon as the words become vapor in the air. Make them concrete. Make them something you're responsible for. Make them something that people can ask you about, there's no need to feel embarrassed or self conscious about them! EVERYONE has things they want to change about their lives and themselves. It's actually sort of a relief to get your goals OUT there and in the open air rather than trying to hide them like some shameful secret in the recesses of your mind.
SO! Now it's time to put my money where my mouth is! Here are MY goals for 2013:
1. I want to sew myself 2 different styles of skirt by December 31st, 2013.
To do that, I will:
- Watch the instructional DVD that came with my new sewing machine by February 28th.
- Complete whatever exercises are included in the DVD by March 31st.
- Sew a blanket and two pillow cases as practice by July 31st.
- Sew one skirt by August 31st.
- Wear skirt to church on Sunday, September 1st.
- Sew the second skirt by December 31st.
- Wear skirt I made to New Year's Eve celebration.
2. I want to have our master bedroom painted and decorated by December 31st, 2013.
To do that, I will:
- Pick out a pretty almond/tan paint chip at Home Depot by Saturday, January 19th.
- Buy paint and paint bedroom by February 28th.
- Find an inexpensive, pretty bedspread by July 31st (Amazon, JC Penney, Target, Walmart).
- Find lamps for nightstands (thrift stores, Walmart, Meijer, Target).
- Rearrange furniture in bedroom by January 31st.
3. I want to have reread the entire Book of Mormon by December 31st, 2013.
To do that, I will:
- Read 10 minutes a day, first thing in the morning OR last thing at night.
- Use this handy dandy Book of Mormon reading schedule bookmark to stay on track! (This is a resolution I make every year and it really has blessed my life! I printed off this bookmark last year and created a pretty, embellished bookmark that I keep in my scriptures. It makes it easier to stay on course!)