You can do it!
Well, week one of the New Year is over, and maybe you’re still feeling that New Year, New You high: you’re working out at home or going to the gym, you haven’t splurged on anything you don’t need, or you’re still carrying out all those positive tasks you want to get done.
- 80% of people will fail when it comes to their resolutions, and,
- 8% of people will keep them
With all the negative articles out there, you’re probably going, “what’s the point? Why bother making resolutions for 2018?” I can’t speak on a clinical or psychological level to that question, but what I can say is this: if you set goals you’re really passionate about, it will absolutely help you turn your life around. And there is so much value in that.
I don’t want to get too personal, but I actually managed to keep all of my New Years resolutions in 2017. Most had to do with organizing my life — this included finances, living space, and personal well-being (i.e., my physical and mental health). But I’m not going to sit here and tell you what those five resolutions were (because we’re not at all obligated to share them with people…unless you want to — you’ll know what I mean if you keep reading). I’m going to share with you how I actually managed to keep ’em.
New Year’s Day is a great prompt for starting fresh. Use that as a stepping stone to put you in a place of advantage
I used to be one of those smart asses that, when asked about resolutions would say, “my resolution is to make no resolutions.” (And then I’d laugh like I was congratulating myself for saying the funniest thing on Earth.) But when I was really honest with myself, I actually didn’t know what to do or where to begin goal setting; I felt like I really couldn’t achieve anything. Finally, I said to myself, “on the first, I’m going to kick my goal setting into overdrive. I’m going to do what I need to do. I’m going to figure out how I need to do these things.” That’s a principle I’ve carried over to each new month, and it’s been a great tool in helping me get to the point where I’m at a little more than a year later.
Learn to love notebooks
I’ve always loved writing (I mean, hello, I have a blog), but I was never really writing for myself, which made me sad. Since picking up on this, I’ve learned to write for me and in turn feel more confident. I started with basic lists in notebooks (some would call this informal journaling) but have branched out to include three notebooks: a to-do list notebook, where I keep my day-to-day checklist. I also have a commonplace notebook where I keep notes on things I’ve learned — everything from notes on YouTube videos to quotes I enjoy. And finally, my beloved bullet journal, which serves various purposes: agenda, vision board, doodling spot…and so much more. Sure, if you’re a tech-savvy person, you can make all of these lists on Google Keep, but I like writing them down because I can check them off, and if I leave a space in between, I can comment on how I achieved a goal, which may actually allow me to change my execution. If parts of my list include things I’m doing when I’m out and about, then I port some of those over to lists on Google Keep so I can check them off right away on my phone.
Use podcasts and social media as a tool to lift you up — not weigh you down
One of my goals in 2018 includes curating the number of people I follow on Twitter, and with a goal of about 1,800 at this point, I’m getting there. That means I’ve been able to see more of the people I’d like to see post, and maybe less of the things that aren’t my cup of tea. This is great for Facebook and Instagram too, where I’ve recently found I haven’t been the happiest with some of the accounts I follow. Don’t feel like you need to be up in everyone’s business. If there’s something you don’t like, hit unfollow. (Just to give you an idea: a good 15% of the 2,200 accounts I was once following on Twitter hadn’t posted in at least two years — so say goodbye to that dead weight!)
Now, if it’s Facebook and someone you feel like you need to be friends with is posting dumb shit, but you don’t want to unfollow them, use the “hide” function to keep their posts out of your feed. When you see their posts come up, simply hit the three dots in the corner and hit “hide.” It’ll give you an option to hide and/or unfollow what they do, but you’ll be able to stay friends with them.
And follow or subscribe to what makes you happy! Whether it’s an e-book service, a YouTube channel that helps get you organized, or an inspirational Instagram feed, go for it! Your social media and electronic interactions should be for you, so long as you’re not hurting anyone. Just because your significant other or friends are all following Selena Gomez, doesn’t mean you have to if you’re not interested.
Check in with someone you can confide in (if you’re comfortable enough doing that)
It took a lot of balls to do, but this was a big help for me. At the beginning of our relationship, I told my now husband Jon I had a handful of things I needed to clean up as part of my goals and resolutions. Not only has he leant a supportive ear, he’s also been really good at checking for blind spots in my pursuits. “Is that really realistic?”, “Don’t be THAT hard on yourself,” and “It all doesn’t have to happen in one week” have been helpful prompts from him when I’m evaluating my achievements.
When he’s not around, I’ve also used checklists on Pinterest or Google. If you search things like “goal-setting” or “achieving goals” the lists that come up that can be helpful. Which brings me to my next point…
Continually assess your goals and don’t be afraid to adjust or “fail”
You know those “expectation” and “reality” memes? Well, I’m one of those people. I start off with this grandiose list of goals that are so ridiculous, and then by mid-January, I’m usually over them. What I’ve learned to do in the 50 weeks that proceeded the first week of 2017 is to continually look at what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. So many people use templates of other people’s methods to achieve their goals. If something doesn’t work for you, find another way to attack. (And that includes this list.)
And absolutely give yourself permission to “fail.” (I really don’t believe in the word “fail” because I interpret those moments as learning lessons, but socially that’s what they are known as. ) I had to go through two “failures” in pursuit of one goal before I finally got my shit together. In fact, it was probably the best learning experience I’d ever had. Sometimes if you hit rock bottom, that’s all the motivation you’ll need to keep your resolutions in check. Don’t consider that the end of your resolution pursuits. It’s only over when you stop trying completely.
Be true to what you’re doing
Some people actually treat New Years’ goals as a trend. And there will be people who make fun of you for doing well right into June or July (trust me, it happened a lot last year: “oh seriously, Ria? It’s frickin June, no one’s doing that anymore.”) But if you’re looking to better yourself, brush those people off. (And they’re also likely one of the people you should be unfollowing on Instagram or Facebook, anyway.) Those also generally tend to be people who project their own pathetic misery onto others. If you’re constantly working on yourself and your goals, then good for you. Keep at it, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Reward yourself in small doses
This one was a little tricky for me because I was concerned that the way I wanted to reward myself might make me fall back into the trap of missing the mark on one of my resolutions (it was closely associated with something on my list I wanted to stop doing), but it turned out to actually be a great way to assess how far I’ve come, because when I rewarded myself, it showed how much control I’d picked up.
Whether it’s taking part in an event you enjoy, treating yourself to something nice, or binge watching a show, make sure you’re rewarding yourself for all the stuff you’re tackling. It’s a lot of hard work. And it doesn’t have to be anything massive! As long as you enjoy it, and you’re thanking yourself for achieving your goals, then it’s all fine and great.
What are your favourite ways to tackle resolutions? Let me know in the comments section, or on Twitter!