Hope you all had a fun and relaxing break! We’re switching things up a little and will be posting Mondays instead of Tuesdays. I know… crazytown! Enjoy!
Another resolution bites the dust.
Six days into a brand new year and you’ve worked out once, dessert-splurged three times, and snuck a social smoke or two. In other words… not much has changed. You had nothing but the best intentions when you made those resolutions – what the heck happened?
We’ve made and broken PLENTY of resolutions. So we don’t usually put too much thought into them and often don’t make them at all. But last year, I read this book and this book and this book, and each one made me pause and reflect. So much so that I did put a lot of thought into my resolutions and, more importantly, how to keep them.
I started out with some vague and lofty ambitions: eat better, exercise more, be happier… the usual. But therein lay the problem: my ambitions were too vague and too lofty. Based on my book-love and years of trial and error, here’s how I’ve figured out how to make a resolution stick:
- Be specific. I paused for further reflection and came up with a list of action items that’ll work my target areas.
- Don’t set myself up for failure. Dramatic life changes à la Elizabeth Gilbert won’t work for me, but Gretchen Rubin-style tweaks can easily be incorporated as long as I don’t take on too many – eight is enough! I also realized I had to fuggedabout exercise resolutions. We have a crew starting up to finally, FINALLY, finish our basement, which means that my workout for the foreseeable future will be the school-run/snow-trek three times a day. C’est la vie.
- Be accountable, which is also a great way to drum up support. Lean on a friend or five, share on Facebook, or write a detailed blog post to shout it to the world. Ahem.
- Find your currency. We all need a sticker chart, or whatever gets us motivated. Just like Gretchen Rubin, I too love receiving a gold star for a job well-done… shocking, right? And since I also love to list it out, I came up with this chart… …that I can tick off every night to give myself props. So
- Recognize there’ll be moments of weakness, which will lead to broken resolutions and no little chart checkmarks. There already have been! But ignoring the accompanying guilt/funk means I can move on and continue on my quest. Two steps forward, one step back – I’m still one step ahead.
My resolution list reveals a few overlapping themes. One is happiness… natch. My key takeaway from The Happiness Project was “One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.” Brilliant! Sure it might be a little selfish, but if everyone’s laughing then whatevs. Another theme is parenting, which constantly keeps me on my toes. Every parent I know is always trying to do better. And, of course, there’s food. After the holiday gluttony I need to get back on my usual healthy diet track. Crap food makes me feel like crap, just like crap sleep makes me feel like crap, just like snapping at my kids makes me feel like crap… so I guess my overall resolution is to not feel like crap. Works for me!
We all have room for self-improvement. Pay attention to the details and don’t give up when temptation leads you astray. Happy New Year!
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