New Year’s Resolutions are easy to make and hard to keep. They can be traced back to ancient Babylonians, over 4,000 years ago. The Babylonians believed if they didn’t keep their resolutions they would fall out of favor with the Gods. A scary proposition and a great motivator. Whether it’s a God, a partner, or your own motivation (props to you) that carries you through, New Year’s Resolutions are a great tool for intention-setting in the new year.
2017 was the first year that I made and kept a resolution. I’ve set them almost every year but I was never able to follow through. This year I resolved to wake up every morning before work and head to the gym. My goal was simply to hit the gym, it wasn’t to run for a hour everyday or lift a massive amount. I wasn't ready for that. Some days I rode an exercise bike for 20 minutes, on others I completed more intense trainings. The important thing was I laced up my shoes and showed up when I could.
Personally, I’ve found the two things crucial to following through. First, I set an achievable goal. I had to put in effort, but I didn't have to work myself into the ground. Second, I didn’t punish myself for less a intense workout or a missed day. If I have too strict of a plan, I’m more likely to quit when I hit a snag. If my goal had been to workout 365 days in a row and I got the flu and missed day 109, why would I continue? I already failed. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Set yourself up to work hard and feel good at the end of it.
For 2018 I put some serious thought into what I wanted to set as a goal. Now that I know how good it can feel to follow through on a resolution, I want to do it again! In the spirit of not setting myself up for disappointment, I am resolving to complete one project of self-improvement and one project of home-improvement every month this year. My current ideas range from eat sugar-free for a month to take a self-defense class to finally organize my dang kitchen. Some projects are smaller than others. That’s okay! It will help me in busier months or in months where I just don’t have the energy to tackle a massive project. If I’m feeling more ambitious, I can take on a project with a heavier lift. Leaving myself some wiggle room is a must for me; find out what works for you.
Once a year, our calendar affords us the opportunity to be reflective. Don't focus on feeling down about what you didn’t do; focus on being excited about what you can do. Now let's get out there and do something wonderful in 2018. Happy New Year!
What is your New Year’s Resolution?