I don’t know about you but anytime I hear “New Year Resolutions” I only think of it as something for the New Year. In fact, I don’t think I have ever heard someone mention a New Year resolution they were working at any time after like February, maybe?….
In theory, New Year resolutions make sense.
It’s a new year, a fresh start. Why not start a new habit now? It seems like a good time to do it.
Especially, after all the hectic holidays are over. Things have settled down again, the socially acceptable binge eating is over, and it’s time to get yourself straightened out for the impending year ahead of you.
There’s just one problem…
New Year resolutions are the hardest thing to keep. In fact, only like 8% of people manage to achieve their New Year resolutions. (source)
I can tell you for certain that I am not part of that 8% either. I mean, if you ask me at any point during January, I’ll tell you I have a resolution, and I honestly do mean to keep it. The intentions are there, but very rarely do I stick to it. Life just kind of gets in the way. Can you relate at all?
Well, a few months ago I stumbled upon the most amazing discovery and it’s literally changed the way I think about doing things.
I decided to write this post about it to help you too!
How to Set New Year Resolutions You Can Actually Keep
In case you don’t know, I very strongly believe that there is no “one size fits all” method for life. I truly believe that every person can create their best lives by figuring out what works best for them.
Which is why when I stumbled upon Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four Tendencies, I felt like the answer to all of life’s problems had been answered. (Okay, so not ALL of life’s problems, but close.)
In her book, she dives deep into the idea that there are four types of tendencies that drive everything we do and why we do it. It’s the basis of why some people so easily pick and actually start a new habit while others struggle to do things they love on a regular basis.
Take her quiz here to find out which of the four tendencies drive your actions!
It’s the kind of book that can change the way you do everything for the better with real results. Which brings me to my first point…
1) Discover What Motivates You
The truth is, there is no universal motivation that works for everyone. If you truly want to make lifestyle changes, you’re going to need to get to the root of what motivates you into action.
If you need help understanding what motivates you, grab your copy of The Four Tendencies and find out!
2) Change How You Think About New Year Resolutions
I know for many people, the idea of starting something at the beginning of the year is a great idea. In reality, though, January 1st is kind of an arbitrary date.
The truth is that if you’re serious about wanting to make a lifestyle change, you shouldn’t feel the need to wait for a new year. Today is always the best day to start something you’re passionate about!
3) Prioritize What’s Important to You
I used to fall into this terrible hole of thinking I had to do it all. Like I needed to be able to keep my house clean, make every meal from scratch, never have any dirty laundry laying around, bring in a full-time income, keep in touch with all my friends, and still look like I and my house just popped right out of a magazine or off a well cultivated Instagram feed.
It left me exhausted, unhappy, and cycling down a path of self-deprecation.
At some point, I decided to kick the status quo of an “Instagram perfect” life, and just create a life I loved living instead. One that made me happy. No Facebook likes necessary.
I did this by prioritizing what was important to me and my family.
Yeah, sometimes my laundry goes unfolded for a week and I don’t always wake up to a perfectly clean kitchen. I’m currently wearing a random pair of yoga pants I found in my drawer and I haven’t worn makeup in a couple of days, but who really cares, because I focus on my priorities, I give myself grace on things, and I love the life I’ve created!
My challenge to you is to prioritize this year too!
4) Pick Resolutions That Truly Matter to YOU!
This point kind of goes along with the priorities point I made earlier but from a slightly different view.
Perhaps I’m the only one, but I used to get so stuck on the idea of trying to fit in, that I often let others drive my goals in life.
I did the kind of activities the people around me did, bought the kind of clothes they bought, went to the restaurants they went to, and pretty much anything else that I thought would help me fit in.
One day, I woke up and realized that very few of those things mattered to me. They weren’t things that got me closer to my dreams in life, and they weren’t even things I really cared about.
Josh had a similar realization at some point a while back. There was a goal he had been working on for a while and one day he said to me, “I’ve been working towards this for so long, I never asked myself if this is what I wanted or what someone else wanted for my life.”
It’s just a small but powerful thing to realize.
If you’re going to go after something in life, make sure it truly matters to you.
5) Don’t Start Out Too Big
If you’re choosing to make a really big change, don’t feel like it has to be an overnight, all or nothing kind of thing.
You’ll never be able to keep up with a mile-long list of things to change. Very few people have enough time and energy these days to keep up with what we already have on our plates much less add another hundred to it.
6) Clarify, Define, and Map Out An Action Plan
So many times in the past, I’ve decided there was a thing I wanted to do. I made my mind up to do that thing and that was pretty much it.
I had no plan on how I was going to do that thing. No thought out process beyond “I’m going to do it” so as you can imagine, I never followed through.
It’s like saying you want to drive from New York to California. Saying you want to do it someday sounds great! But, if you don’t have an action plan; take time off work, schedule it out, map your drive, book hotels on the way, etc. you’re very unlikely to just get in the car and start driving.
The same goes for lifestyle changes, goals and resolutions you want to make. You need an actual plan for taking action on that thing.
More specifically, you need it written down. People who write down their goals are 42% more likely to accomplish them. (Source)
Related Post: The Ultimate Setting Goals Guide to Unlock Your Dreams
7) Create a Vision Board
There’s nothing better than having a dream and being able to see it.
Once you have your action plan in place, create a vision board for the thing you have decided to go after. Keeping your eye on what your goal is will help remind you to work towards it on a regular basis.
I started doing this and it has made all the difference! The “out of sight out of mind” cliche is so true. Anytime there’s something I want to remember to do on a regular basis, like take my vitamins, for instance. If I leave them in the cabinet, I almost always forget. If I put them on the counter where I see them, I almost always remember.
Random example, I know, but you get the idea.
8) Give Yourself Grace
This has been one of the biggest things that have helped me continue on a path towards going after what I want.
At some point, I realized that life will never truly be as perfect as a cultivated Instagram feed. Life happens, we just have to be determined enough to reach our goal to not let it totally get in our way.
If you fall off the train to your goals, don’t feel like it’s hopeless. Don’t associate it in your brain as having to start over every time you fall off.
Think of it as a detour on the same path instead.
If you make a mistake or skip a day of working towards your goal, don’t think of it as if you ruined the whole thing.
Just think of it as a break and tomorrow, pick up where you left off. Give yourself grace!
9) Enjoy The Journey There
I think sometimes we get so caught up in living life that we forget to enjoy it.
I often wish I could go back and tell my younger self this. Especially during college. I was that stereotypical stress out about every single grade, never miss a class, take as many notes as possible kind of person.
My goal was to graduate college and do well. Now that I’m on the other side of graduation, I look back and wish I had enjoyed my time in college a bit more.
I now realize that while it was important to be diligent about my grades, it wouldn’t have killed my career to have slept a little more, and maybe gone to that extra Saturday football game I skipped to study.
I wish we were all cats, but the fact is, we all have one life to live. Don’t forget to enjoy it.
10) Overcome Barriers and the Fears That Hold You Back
I’ve often come to the point where I’ve found motivation, I have a plan, I’m excited, and have maybe even shared my new goals with others. Then, I hit one last little bump in the road that brings everything to a screeching halt.
I forget to plan for the hiccups, the barriers, and the little things that make me kinda nervous or afraid to move forward. It’s happened time and time again, and for me, might even be the biggest stump to all the dreams and goals I’ve gone after over my lifetime.
What I have found, is that planning for the barriers and overcoming the fear is the greatest thing I can do for my dreams.
I truly hope that these tips have inspired and empowered you to go after the things you want in life this New Year!
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