I’ll Start in the New Year, or Maybe a Few Weeks Later… It’s Never Too Late For a Resolution

So it’s January 3rd and I’m finally writing about New Year’s Resolutions. I’m pretty sure I won’t get this posted until like the 10th. Obviously my resolution wasn’t to be the perfect blogger 🙂

But like every year, I asked myself whether I wanted to make any New Year’s Resolutions and then I remembered that without fail I’m glad at the end of the year if I do.

I don’t finish all of them perfectly – which is completely not the point anyway – but every time I can look back and …

I see I kicked some problem’s butt or faced a fear or experienced something I always wanted to, I feel like I wanna go conquer some more stuff and I don’t want to miss out on the possibilities for more!

For example, at the end of 2014 I broke a finger. I’ve been “accident prone” my whole life. It hit me that a lot of the reason having mishaps is that I tend to be impulsive and impatient.

And by “tend to,” I mean that I’m like that all the time. Most people in the world don’t seem to be in the hurry that I’m in. Apparently for good reason. They take their time and don’t have constant “mishaps.”

Well I finally had enough. I can’t really control klutziness but I can control whether I’m just not thinking before doing stuff or being too impatient to take my time. So one of my resolutions for 2015 was to be more careful. Throughout the year when I was about to do something careless I found myself stopping, catching myself and saying, “stop and be careful.” Then I’d put down one of the 15 glasses I was trying to carry at the same time or not try to cut vegetables while walking down the steps and talking on the phone (not really but you get the idea…). Believe me, I was still rushing around and making messes and sometimes breaking stuff but I definitely averted many a disaster. This has stuck and I loved proving to myself (again) that I can keep taking control of myself and my life.

It helps me believe in my abilities to do that in any other change I want to make.

I’ve developed a system for making resolutions that I really like and it seems to work, so I thought I would share. And by the way, who cares if it’s January 1st or 10th or April 23rd. There’s no New Year’s Resolution police busting people for making them on the wrong day!

So here we go:

I make my favorite warm drink, because it’s winter in Pennsylvania, and I sit down with a notebook and lots of magic markers. Maybe you prefer a stiff cold drink and an electronic writing method or special paper or a simple black pen and post-it note. Do what works for you.

I choose and time and place where I can be alone, free of distractions, and uninterrupted. Yes, moms of younguns, I do know that in itself could be a New Year’s Resolution, but you’ll do the best you can <3

STEP ONE – “WHAT DO I WANT?”

I write “By the end of 2016 (or whatever year it is) I hope I can say….” and then I list everything I can think of….

By the end of this year I hope I can say that I’ve run a mile. I hope I can say that I’ve taken my kids to a museum. I hope I can say that I’ve done a random act of kindness once a month. I hope I can say that I’ve cut back on electronics. I hope I can say that I don’t keep making _______________ mistake that hurts me or someone I love. I hope I can say that I don’t self-harm, binge & purge, people please, allow myself to be abused anymore, keep making the same mistake with men…

Whatever.

Just brainstorm.

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These come to me in rapid fire because my brain is incessantly thinking, and probably if it doesn’t come to me that’s because it really isn’t important. But if you need some prompts to breaking out of a rut, here are some questions you can answer:

1. What do I regret missing last year?
2. What do I wish I would’ve started last year at this time?
3. What do I keep wishing that I would’ve done differently in my life?
4. What keeps causing me pain, grief, or conflict with others?
5. What would I like to say I’ve made steps to leave behind?

I also found it really enlightening this year when I did Jennie Allen’s Dream Guide, which among other things has instructions to write the highlights of last year in several categories, I realized as I was writing  that it was illuminating what genuinely brings me joy. It showed me what I want to be intentional about doing more of. What a gift! I highly recommend that you look into Jennie’s guide.

Write it all down.

STEP TWO – “WHY DO I WANT IT?”

This is CRUCIAL to success. As I said here, our “why” makes all the difference in our motivation!

I look at each item on my list. I either think about or write why I want it. Be brutally honest. This is ONLY for you.

If I want the thing because someone else wants it, did it, or told me I should do it (lose weight, be more organized, have a cleaner house, get out of debt, go back to school, whatever!), it’s not going to stick. If I want it because it’s the latest “it thing” (exercise method, diet plan, or organizational technique) it’s not necessarily going to stick. If I want it because I feel guilty or jealous (that my house doesn’t look like someone else’s or I don’t workout as much as so & so), it’s not going to work.

Here are some “why’s” that can make magic happen:

This thing never goes away. It’s an idea or desire I’ve thought about for years. A longing comes to mind over and over. It’s not something that comes back because I feel guilty or “not enough” but because it’s part of me and it won’t go away until I express it.

The thought of this makes me emotional. It moves me and I might not even know why.

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I‘ve had it with hiding this thing, fighting over this thing, or feeling out of control over this thing.

It will work if it’s genuinely what we want. If it’s authentically who we are. And if it’s for our health and well-being.

An example for me this year is that I realized I needed to think about exactly why I exercise / what my goal is, because I was getting really bored with my workouts (I had been exclusively lifting weights) Am I working out to keep pushing myself harder? To keep decreasing clothing sizes? To perfectly complete a certain program? Because it’s good for my health? To have fun doing things like dancing, which I love? My why makes a total difference here. It will determine how often and what types of exercise I do.

These were my conclusions, my exercise whys…
— it’s so good for my health that it’s going to be an ongoing part of my life, preferably 3 – 6 days a week for as long as I’m in any way able.
— I need to both build muscle and do cardiovascular exercise.
— because my goal isn’t to be in a body building competition or push myself to extremes, I will make sure to do some “fun” exercise every month, such as dance classes.
— I want to keep running and will be focusing on half marathon length for this calendar year. Cross training helps my running and is another reason that I need to keep doing strength training as well as cards.

If you’re a detailed and/or visual person, it would probably help you to write down these whys and refer back to them when you’re wavering in a few weeks or months or days or hours.

STEP THREE: MAKING THE RESOLUTIONS 

Now we can take a marker or the strikeout key and cross out every one of the “WHAT’s” that aren’t really our goals. They’re someone else’s. They aren’t going to lead us into better well-being. Or just circle or highlight the jackpots.

After making the eliminations, write or type your final list really pretty: “By the end of this year I would like to be able to say that…” And hang it up or keep it somewhere you’ll see it often.

STEP FOUR: “HOW WILL I ACHIEVE THESE GOALS?”

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Some goals take a whole more specific steps than others. Take my resolution to stop being so accident prone. There really weren’t a lot of steps. I just told myself to stop and remind myself to be careful. However, my goal last year to run a half marathon required a lot of mini-steps and planning. I worked with Bill to come up with a training plan, printed it out, and tracked my workouts.

Some of us need extremely specific action steps and others of us don’t. I hope you’re aware of what you need here. If you need a program or class or plan, the magical internet can usually yield any and all of those. Pinterest and YouTube alone can tell you almost anything you need to know. I personally need a loose plan, because if it’s too specific I can’t keep track of (or comply with :)) all the detail and it overwhelms me so I don’t follow through. I didn’t follow that half marathon training plan to a T but did about 80 – 90% of it.

So your first step would be finding your road map by internet search, asking friends, making that really difficult phone call, or finding a coach or trainer or consultant to help. Sometimes that first step is the hardest.

Now work backwards. Let’s say your resolution is to eat healthier this year.

1. Where do you want to be in this goal six months from now? What would it look like to be half way to “being able to say I have a healthier diet at the end of the year”?

You could say that you’ve eliminated soda, sugary coffee drinks, and fast food.

2. What would you need to each month to get there in six months?

I’d suggest that you eliminate one of those at a time.

3. What could you do each week to get that done each month?

I would suggest that you find substitutions and plan on what you’ll eat or drink instead or it’s probably not going to stick. And finally, I’d suggest that you allow yourself lots of re-dos!!

4. Think about what you’ll add the next six months.

— Write these action steps on your planner, a calendar, a notebook, or a piece of paper that you can hang somewhere that you’ll see it every day.

You can do this!!!

Please comment below and tell me how this process went for you. What goals and dreams do you have for 2016? What do you hope to be able to say by the end of the year?

If you have questions, please let me know!

And please join me throughout the year on Facebook and Instagram, where every week I’m going to post a new “Reason to Treat Yourself to a Workout.” Let’s fight back against New Year’s Resolution burnout and keep the motivation going. I’m here for you!

Keep moving forward,
<3 Debbie

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1/29/2016 08:38:15So true! Thanks for the extra motivation and for sharing at #FoodandFitnessFriday!

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