Happy New Year! Many people look at the beginning of a new year as a time to have a fresh start. A clean slate. New beginnings in general.
I don’t do that. There are some things that work out well to begin at the new year. For instance, putting away your holiday decorations is a perfect time to give your house a good cleaning. It’s also a good time to get your finances in order (only 4 months until those taxes are due!). I personally can’t subscribe to making resolutions at the beginning of each year. It only sets me up to fail.
Every day is a clean slate, and I prefer to set up goals throughout the year rather than a sweeping statement about what I’m going to do in the new year. It also gives you an excuse to wait. All throughout the month of December you could have started on the things you wanted to change or accomplish. Now it’s January 2. Many are already making excuses.
“I’ll start on Monday, it’s the first full week of the year!”
“I can’t get to the gym until _____ to sign up.”
“I can’t get to the store until _____ because of work.”
Then it’s February.
There is also the let down of a habit not being formed, which can discourage and lead you to fail at your resolutions. There is a saying that it takes three weeks to a month to form a habit. That’s a myth. It takes work every day, every month of every year to achieve your goals. It goes up and down too. You might think something has become habit, then things get in the way that make you doubt yourself. Or perhaps you are not seeing the results you hoped for. Then before you know it you’ve reached the Fall, and then another December sneaks up on you and you’re making the same promises again for the new year.
I found a better way to achieve the things I want to accomplish in my life. Maybe some of these ideas can help you!
*Think short term. Say you want to have a healthier diet. Do you instantly throw out everything unhealthy in your house, then spend hundreds of dollars on food that will probably rot in a week? No. Change takes time, and small steps. Plan on eating one healthy thing each day, then increase it to a meal. Gradually you will find that you will naturally gravitate toward eating healthy items over other things.
*Set backs are okay. Continuing with the healthy eating example. Did you find yourself at a party where you did nothing but binge (the Superbowl is coming, you know)? Allow yourself to do so, and plan on eating something healthy the next day to balance yourself. Life doesn’t end because you do not stick to your plan each and every day. Remember, every day is a clean slate. Focus on the now, and move on from there.
*Buddy up! You don’t need to have the same goals. I have a friend I do an Agile Lifestyle plan with. We write down our goals on a Google Spreadsheet, then check in with each other to see how we are doing, and discuss ways to figure out the things that are blocking our progress. The best part of this? He’s in another state. Which leads me to my last piece of advice:
*No excuses. We are naturally drawn to making excuses to prevent us from moving forward. Work, school, kids, we procrastinate then can’t understand why we didn’t get anywhere. So stop it. I’m willing to bet that you already know what keeps you from achieving your goals. I know what stops me, and it isn’t my job or my family.
Still feeling stumped? Get in touch, I love to brainstorm ideas. You deserve everything, and it’s all about baby steps.
Every day is a clean slate. Don’t just resolve to do it. Just do it.
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I understand your reasons for not making New Year’s resolutions; for a lot of people it is basically an excuse not to do anything later in the year. However, I must admit that I get a surge of energy in January. The feeling I get from starting a new project at the beginning of the week or the beginning of the month is magnified by at the beginning of the year. This year I decided to go with it. Even if I don’t stick to the goals I set this month, I will have made some progress.
My feeling of inspiration rises and falls throughout the year, so when I’m on an upswing I have to take advantage of it. I think that is the difference between the way I used to look at the New Year and how I look at it now. I used to be like most people: making resolutions, giving up after a couple months, and being mad at myself. Now I apply your clean-slate idea. If I fail today, I can always start again tomorrow.
It’s true, and even in the past week I have had more of a surge of energy just knowing that it is a brand new year. You definitely see the point I was making- I don’t want anyone to get discouraged and quit. The downs are only temporary if you just take it a day at a time. 🙂