New Year’s resolutions get a lot of flack and, to be honest, it’s not without reason. Some surveys show that a mere 8% of people actually follow through with the resolutions they set for themselves at the start of the new year. And a lot of people respond to these sad stats by throwing up their hands and forgetting about the whole idea of creating resolutions entirely.
But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.
Maybe it’s not that resolutions don’t work. Maybe we’re just not working them the right way. I mean, if you’re already feeling primed for a fresh start– as we tend to feel at the beginning of a new day, new week, new month, and especially new year– then why not capitalize on the momentum?
Most “better new year” articles will just tell you to set S.M.A.R.T. goals, not vague resolutions. Solid advice, but there’s so much more to this process to make sure you’re actually following through with your actions, day in and day out, until you arrive at December 31, 2020 with an awesome track record to your name.
So let’s get into it:
1. Know your values.
We’ve talked about values over and over again here, but if you need a refresher, check out this post.
2. Think of action and thought goals for the month that will service those values.
We recommend these over outcome-based goals because you can control your actions and you can control your thoughts, but you can’t always control outcomes.
3. Recommit to these goals every single day.
We recommend journaling them as if they’ve already happened.
For example, if your value is family, your thought goal might be, “I am committed to creating a loving family.” And your action goal might be to spend at least 15-minutes of “unplugged” time with your husband and daughter.
So every single day, you’ll write:
I’m committed to creating a loving family.
I’ve spent 15-minutes of quality time with Paul and Ruby.I know it sounds silly, but that’s how we keep these aspirations top of mind and in our schedule.
I know it sounds silly, but that’s how we keep these aspirations top of mind and in our schedule.
4. Pay attention to process improvements, or taking care of the things around your goal.
Let’s say you value energy, then an action goal may be to complete your evening routine. Process improvements for an evening routine might include setting an alarm on your phone that signals when it’s time to go to bed. Or placing a journal next to your nightstand. Or putting your bedroom lights on a timer. Whatever you need to do to facilitate the completion of that goal.
5. Recognize you’re not going to be perfect.
So practice self-compassion when you falter and praise effort and process, not just completion.
6. Refresh every month with new goals based on your highest priority values at the time.
If this sounds like more work than simply setting a New Year’s resolution or S.M.A.R.T. goals, that’s because it is. Anything worth having is. And if you feel like it’s worth making 2020 a year that you’re proud of, then get to work, girl!