On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of being on Charlotte Today to talk about New Year’s Resolutions. Today, I am sharing the basic transcript from that conversation. Hope it might be helpful to those of you setting resolutions or considering alternatives!
What is your take on New Year’s Resolutions?
New Year’s Resolutions- or goals, rituals, intentions- can be incredibly empowering if you come at them from the right place. Keep in mind that what is amazing about resolutions is that you are claiming what you want for yourself—you are choosing to live life in a way that you have claimed as valuable and important to you. And it is the striving to live in that way that is really powerful as it is so rooted in your intentionally.
Given that, there are two incredibly important perspectives to have as you consider New Year’s Resolutions.
The first is that you need to be honestly self-aware. Before you can plan for a new year, you need to really reflect on your last year and consider what went well, what you’d tweak if you could, what you learned from the year. You should absolutely take inventory before planning or setting goals for a new year. Where are you right now? What do you have room for? What absolutely needs to change for you to be your best self? Sit down and really reflect on 2011 before focusing on 2012.
The second thing is that resolutions shouldn’t be about saying no to yourself but, instead, about saying yes to the things that allow me to be my best self. They need to be inspirational, not punishment. Don’t say I will never again eat sugar. Instead, resolve to eat in a way that gives you real energy and allows you to feel your best. Watch the goals you set for yourself to make sure they are rooted in positive, empowering language.
If you aren’t someone for whom resolutions themselves resonate, you have some other ideas about how you can bring in the new year. You suggest finding a word for the year or naming an intention. What do you mean by this suggestion?
So, one of my beginning of the year rituals is to choose a word for the year. Basically what I am doing is choosing a focus for how I want to be in the new year and what feeling I want to have throughout the year. This year, my word is wholehearted. In past years, my word has been voice, peace, wellness, and expansiveness. Think about what you most want from 2012, and how you most want to be and see what word bubbles up. Let that word be a focus for you throughout the year.
Another idea is to set three goals each month. How would that work?
If keeping track of a resolution all year long feels overwhelming or suffocating but you do like the idea of some vision for your days, setting three goals per month might be a nice tool for you. At the beginning of each month, set three goals that reflect dreams you have for yourself. You could set daily goals within the month like write a gratitude list, drink 60 ounces of water, or to read for pleasure for 10 minutes daily or you can set activity goals like have tried a new recipe, have completed the family photo album from last year’s vacation or approached your boss about taking on more responsibilities. The nice thing about three goals a month is that there is a finite amount of time to get the goal done and so this might resonate more with people who want things in a neater timetable than having a whole year to do something.
With all of these ideas, what is your suggestion for really committing to and following through on them?
This is where self-awareness is particularly important. You need to know what structures work for you and then out those structures in place. If just telling yourself you’ll do something is enough, then you are set. If that’s not enough, consider what support or structures you need to really meet a goal.
First of all, set yourself up for success by being specific in your goal setting. I want to be more confident is vague. I want to be comfortable meeting and engaging in conversation with new people is much more specific.
Also, be aware of how much you are asking of yourself and how much room you really have for that effort. Is it realistic to expect what you are expecting of yourself? What do you need to do to insure your success?
Next. work out a plan. How will you accomplish your goal and how can you spend time each week or month making sure that you account for your resoltuions.
After that, think about whether or not it is enough to have you holding yourself accountable or if you would benefit from having an accountability buddy. If you think that you can hold yourself accountable, put some tools in place like a check-in journal where you list your goals and track how you are doing. If accountability with others is helpful to you, you can ask a friend to be an accountability buddy or track your progress on social media.
Finally, take the time to celebrate your growth as it happens. Every success is worthy of celebration. Remember that it is the journey that is the goal and not some often arbitrary endpoint. Resolutions should always be about embracing life and our power to really create what our life looks like and never about punishing ourselves for falling short.
What are your ideas for making a resolution stick? Do you set small monthly goals or have a different way of ringing in the new year?