We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential. ~ Ellen Goodman
It’s the final week of the year. You know what that means—New Year’s Resolutions. Do you set them? Do you reach them? Are you’re tired of the same old pattern—set a lofty goal…start strong…get discouraged (lazy, tired, bored, busy)…let it go until next year?
Here are a couple of new approaches. Maybe one of them will resonate with you:
- This first one is for those of us plagued by an all or nothing outlook. If you’re one of us, you know what I’m talking about. As soon as you miss one workout, you might as well quit the program. Or you eat one cookie, and you’ve blown the diet, so you might as well finish the whole bag. If this is you, try setting tiny can’t-fail goals. I will do one sit up every day. I will write for five minutes three days a week. I will eat one vegetable with dinner (a baby carrot counts). You get the picture. Don’t choose something you already do (it is a goal after all), but do choose something you absolutely know is doable. These small goals should prime the pump for bigger and better things, but if not, who cares, you achieved your “resolution.”
- If your challenge is you get bored with your long-term goals, try this approach. Set a theme for the year and then set monthly or weekly goals around that theme. For example, if your theme is strengthening relationships, your first monthly goal might be to call someone you care about once a week; the next month send weekly handwritten notes; the next month set a lunch date with someone you haven’t seen in awhile. You get the idea. About the time, you’re tired of one goal, it’s time to set a new one.
- For those whose confidence or enthusiasm is sagging after yet another unsuccessful attempt at a New Year’s Resolution, here’s a different idea. Forget the New Year’s Resolution altogether. Use this time instead to evaluate what you’ve accomplished in 2015. Maybe you didn’t accomplish the goal you set last December 31, but I guarantee everyone (even you) accomplished something, however small it feels. Get out a piece of paper and start writing them down.
- I kept the children fed and clothed.
- I helped my daughter by watching her children one weekend.
- I walked the neighbor’s dog.
- I gave a generous tip to a hardworking waitress.
- I held the door for someone.
- I delivered the mail (or answered the phones, or funded the loans, or drilled the wells, or nursed the sick, whatever you do on a daily basis).
- I ran a 5k.
- I read a book.
- I held my tongue.
- I spoke my mind.
I’d love to hear your take on New Year’s Resolutions. Do you set them?
What’s one thing you accomplished in 2015?
What’s one thing you’d like to do in 2016?
Christie is an author and professional communicator who blogs about life transitions, wellness, mindfulness, and anything else that answers the question “So what? Now what?”