Confetti party of one over here because I’m looking forward to 2018, and I have a New Year’s resolution success trick to share!
In 2017 I made some real changes in my life that for the first time, feel like long-term improvements rather than resolutions I dropped within a week.
I started the year with 3 one-word resolutions – sleep, save, salad. This definitely worked as a mantra to guide my daily choices, but it didn’t really motivate me to create lasting change. There wasn’t any oomph behind it. So I switched gears and tried a different approach that worked and that I’ll continue this year. Here it is:
I focus on ONE THING PER MONTH. When the month is over, I don’t drop the thing I’m working on, I keep it going and layer another item of change on top. The idea is to create habits for myself that last.
By aiming to accomplish only one thing that month, I actually did it. Seeing results fueled my energy and devotion to keep that new habit going and to approach the next month’s goal with positivity.
- Choose to floss every day for the month of January. Seriously – start the year off with an easy one.
- In February, keep flossing and try getting ready for bed at 10pm as many nights as possible.
- In March you’re now flossing, starting to see the benefits of more sleep and ready to try exercising 3 times per week.
- In April, you’re really seeing some change and feeling healthier, so maybe it’s time to layer on financial health and plan to put $5 a day away.
- In May, choose one item to give away a day (again, these are all examples but the urge to purge in spring is real!)
- Come June, you have some real, measurable change. Take stock and reflect on what comes next for the rest of the year.
- And on and on. You get the idea, right?
It’s not all hearts and stars and unicorns and voila you’re changed, though. There are some realistic checks and balances to take into account:
- Prepare – Get real with yourself and list out all the things you need and want to change. Make a loose game plan for what you’ll focus on each month but be flexible if you need to switch gears.
- Accountability – This is key to find a mechanism that keeps you on track. I use a goals planner and I involve my husband in my goal setting so that there is a witness to my success and a support system when I fail and need help to keep going. My favorite planner is the Ink and Volt planner because you set a yearly theme, monthly goals, 30-day challenges, weekly goals, daily to-dos and a calendar. It’s definitely a big part of the success and I’ve now re-upped 3 times on it.
- Pitfalls – Not every day will be easy. You might even need to take a break for a month and just focus on keeping the ship afloat with the previous months’ habits.
Finally, just go easy on yourself. Lasting change doesn’t come in a week, a month, or sometimes even a year but it can happen if you go one step at a time and commit to the long-haul. I’m not just blowing smoke up your butt. I know this first hand because:
- It took me 5 years to lose ~50 pounds, and another 8 to maintain the weight loss which is a daily effort for me. I still go up and down a bit throughout the year but I have learned what to tweak and adjust to get to wear I am most comfortable.
- It took me countless attempts plus hypnosis to quite chain-smoking 5 years ago. I still have a few smokes per year now, but it is no longer an hourly habit.
- This year I finally acknowledged that drinking every day was not good for my brain chemistry or my personal health. I now work diligently every couple months to ease up on the wine and reset my body. This one is still a work in progress for 2018 (and probably beyond). I just love wine.
- I have seen a therapist off and on for over 10 years to address anxiety, depression and other demons. I’ll focus on something to change, work very hard to do so and then take a break while I settle into my new mindset.
- My dentist has noticed a significant improvement in my gum health since flossing several times per week (I know you probably think I’m gross for not doing it daily but I hate doing it).
- Countless other things – I am one of those women who is in a constant state of self-improvement. It’s a blessing and a curse.
While you’re taking a break this season from all the family time, gifts and treats, give some thought to your month-at-a-time resolution strategy and face the new year with energy and positivity. This will be a great year for us, gals!
What are some of your goals? I’d love to hear in the comments below!