Simplifying new year’s resolutions

New year’s resolutions have a bad reputation. Most people fall off their chosen bandwagon in less than a month, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The problem is we see resolutions as complicated, large, life-changing things. Instead, we need to see resolutions as smaller, positive shifts in our lifestyles.

If we believe in personal development, growth, and self improvement, it’s important to make new year’s resolutions. Why? Because it forces us to review the past year and intentionally prepare for the next year.

New year’s resolutions force us to review what we’ve done and intentionally prepare to make positive changes in the future.

Without this intentional plan, we will never grow or improve.

Every year, I make resolutions. And every year, I imperfectly improve upon them. How? I usually have the same ones. Write more. Eat healthier. Workout more. Be more productive and less lazy. Every year, I get better and better. I grow from what I’ve learned in past years and continually improve myself in these areas.

The key is that we have our entire lives to change and grow. And while we’re not guaranteed tomorrow, many of us still don’t try to pursue our dreams because doing so is scary and too difficult. The reason why we feel this way is because we see the big picture, the end goal, not the steps leading up to that goal.

If we turn our long-term goals into short-term items on our to-do lists, we will proactively pursue our goals.

So, I decided to simplify new year’s resolutions even more. I narrowed down those large ideas and dreams into three steps. Focus on one or all three, but focus on improving yourself this year no matter how many steps you take.

Step 1: Choose a mantra.

A friend from my women’s Bible study talked about this and the idea struck me. If making a grand plan is too intimidating, just choose one word or a short phrase. You can call this a mantra, a focus word, a slogan, or a motto. Make it something you want to focus on next year.

My mantra for 2019 is “community.” Since moving earlier this year, I don’t know very many people in the area. This year, I reached out to a local church to start meeting other women in the area. Next year, my biggest goal is to not only develop friendships and my own community in the area, but also to meet new people and immerse myself in the community we moved into.

Step 2: Take a long-term goal and bite off a short-term goal for 2019.

We all have life goals. We all have dreams. Now it’s high time we turn them into reality. Some can do this overnight, but most cannot. This is why we need to chunk our big goals into smaller pieces.

We need to bite off what we can chew.

Do you want to be published someday? Great. What’s your next step? Do that. Does that step seem terrifying? Make that step way smaller and then do that. Make a plan to fit that step into 2019.

I plan to edit one of my NaNoWriMo projects in 2019. Just the first edit. Just once through. To make it less daunting, I plan to work on one chapter per week. By chunking my large goal into bite-sized pieces, I’m giving myself a plan of attack, which means I can add the task to my weekly to-do list with ease. It feels achievable, so I know I can and will do it.

Step 3: Create a goal with a loved one.

Grab your spouse, roommate, best friend, etc., and create a goal together. Find someone who shares goals with you already. Don’t just ask someone to join you when they don’t really want to do it. If your bestie isn’t into working out, you’ll only find yourself on the mat less and less with them by your side and mac ‘n’ cheese in front of you. (I don’t speak from experience or
anything.…)

My husband and I plan on meal planning and prepping more together this year. We both want to find more healthy recipes we both like, so we can both pursue our wellness goals together. I personally hope we can find a new healthy recipe we both agree on every month, so by the end of the year, we’ll have 12 new dishes in our usual rotation (and meal planning will be 12 dishes easier!). Since we both want to be healthier, this plan suits both of our goals.

While having accountability can help you succeed, it also offers its own challenges, which is why it’s today’s third step. If you need to focus on one thing next year, stick to step one. If you’ve been slacking on pursuing your dreams, do steps one and two. And if you’re committing to an entire lifestyle haul, do all three steps.

When life gets crazy, take a step back – literally.

If taking all three steps is too much for a month (or 12), do two. If two steps are too overwhelming, focus on your mantra. The goal for a successful new year’s resolution isn’t perfection, but growth.

How will you grow in 2019?

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