The Christmas decorations are packed away and although your feet might still be aching from the three weeks you spent tearing up dance floors, the confetti-flecked dust of the holiday season has finally settled. Time to take on the gorgeously blank canvas of a New Year!
Of course with every January comes the same old question: what’s your New Year’s resolution? How are you starting fresh? It’s a time that challenges us to take a look at our daily lives and find a few small ways to improve upon them. This year, I’ve taken a new perspective to New Years’ resolutions and I’m excited to share my tips to help you make more worthwhile goals for 2016… and actually achieve them!
Tip #1: Pause, and look back
When I sit down to think through my resolutions for a new year, I always look back on the year behind me. What were some obstacles I overcame? What did I do well, and what do I wish I had done better? What did I learn in 2015? When you ask yourself these questions, hopefully some ideas start churning. If not, poll a friend! Go over some of your favorite shared memories or the challenges you’ve helped each other through, and use those to mold your vision for the coming year.
Tip #2: Set a goal to better yourself
While eating well and exercising are always great to keep top of mind, this year my challenge is to be more thoughtful about the resolution I set for myself by choosing one that benefits someone else too. I’m making a goal to stop being late all the time (I read this article months ago, but am now keeping it close at hand!) My boyfriend Adam is wonderful in all regards… but annoyingly on time for everything. I, on the other hand, have a habit of dashing out the door for every dinner date, mascara brush in hand, a good five — who am I kidding — fifteen minutes late. So while I may set this goal to better myself, I know Adam is the one who will really appreciate it, which is even more motivation for me.
Tip #3: Set a goal to better others
How will you make an effort to impact someone else this year? This is a great resolution to make as a group. Get your friends together and think about how you can benefit someone else’s life this year. Go big — like committing one day a month to plan a philanthropic project, or small — like pledging to do one random act of kindness a day. Set regular meetings to share your experiences with each other (also known as happy hours!) You’ll be surprised by how much those daily acts add up over the year, and how easy this goal is to keep when you have a team holding you accountable.
Tip #4: Dare to Dream Big
If there’s one tip for New Year’s resolutions I’ve heard all too often, it’s “Be practical.” As for me, I want to set one goal for the new year that pushes me farther than the last. Think up your big idea for the year — something out of your comfort zone — and push yourself to achieve it. This year, I say we dare to be a little impractical.
Tip #5: Make a firm deadline
Think realistically about when you hope to cross each resolution off your list. 3 months? 9 months? Just in time for swimsuit season, or before your best friend’s wedding? Set a time frame that allows you enough wiggle room to get your act together, to fall into a habit — particularly if it’s a brand new one.
Then, find yourself a big fat permanent marker, and circle that date on your calendar (I’m loving my new Day Designer!) A countdown toward your goal might be just the motivation you need to follow through on your resolutions this year. And don’t forget to reward yourself once you meet your deadline!
Tip #6: To each her own
Don’t let someone try to shove their own method for success down your throat –including me! New Year’s resolutions are meant to bring more joy and positivity to your life, not give you a panic attack. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to go about making or keeping resolutions, and so each person’s approach to reaching their goals and resolutions will be different.
Tip #7: Focus on the journey…
…not the outcome. Even if the results aren’t exactly as you imagined, or you let a few goals fall to the wayside, just remember what you learned about yourself along the way. If the purpose of New Years’ resolutions is to take another step towards a life well-lived, doesn’t merely trying it out count for something?