Oh, the new year is finally here! So what's your resolution? Is it the same as last year... a resolution that didn't quite stick? But this year is different, right? We all are guilty of setting resolutions as the clock strikes midnight. Most common vows are to lose the last 10 pounds of the baby weight, save money, cook more homemade meals, or spend less time on social media. Raise your hand if you've actually accomplished a resolution from start to finish. By February, or maybe March we're back to our old ways, indulging in bad habits. I don't say this to be condescending or cruel, I say it because it's true. It's human nature and there ain't nothing wrong with it.
What if it could be different? What if you could make a resolution that will last? Here's a step-by-step guide to creating lasting resolutions this year.
Step 1: Set your goal, but then THINK BROAD. What are you really wanting to accomplish? How will this resolution benefit you as a person? What is your ultimate end goal? Instead of vowing to lose [xx] pounds, why not start at the root of the issue? Break your goal down and really give it some thought.
Let's use the weight loss example, because that seems to be the most common. Losing weight is one thing, but how about changing your lifestyle so you can be healthier? You will not only lose weight, but have more energy, more confidence, and you may even eliminate some nagging health issues. Try not to picture "losing weight" as your end goal, but to live your life healthier. That's a much easier adjustment. You're not going to nag yourself for having a "cheat day." You will start to recognize your hard work if you focus on the health part vs. the pounds; because let's face it, less pounds doesn't always equal healthy!
Step 2: Be Realistic. Kind of Step 1a... but this point must be stressed. Be realistic in your goals. Don't choose one that is completely out of your reach. It will end only in disappointment. That's not to say don't aim high! You should be reaching for the stars, per se, but with limitations. For example, "pay off all student loan debt, pay off all credit cards, put $100k in the bank..." This all sounds lovely, but kind of unattainable if you only make $150,000 a year. Is that realistic? Probably not. But how about something like this, "budget better, pay off all high-interest credit cards, pay down high-interest loans, put 10% of each paycheck in the bank." Sounds more realistic, right?
Step 3: Write down your ultimate goal and include steps to reach that goal. This is my favorite part about setting goals and making resolutions. I can't help it, I'm a planner by nature. Let's use the example, "cook more homemade meals." Start slow, maybe 3 dinner meals a week. Now it's time to prep; devote a board on Pinterest to creating a menu, write weekly menus and include in your grocery list, and even meal prep to make cooking easier. Take your goal step-by-step and it will seem much easier to accomplish. Once you've accomplished this step, bump it up a notch and aim for 4 dinner meals a week. Before you know it, you'll be the next Julia Child!
Step 4: Check in [daily, weekly, monthly]. Depending on your ultimate goal, you may need to check in with yourself as often as every day, or maybe even every other week. Now is the time to catch any missteps. Are you still on track to meeting or maintaining your goal? Have you slipped up? During this time, it is important not to be hard on yourself. You don't have to be perfect; you just have to keep moving forward. Take this time to go back and revisit your step. Maybe there's a specific step you need to adjust to better fit your needs. Or maybe... take a break? Take a step back for a short period of time to re-evaluate why you made this resolution. Is it something you still want to work for? Chances are, yes, but it doesn't hurt to take a moment to remind yourself why you are doing this.
Step 5: Treat yourself. It can't all be work, and no games. Reward yourself for the hard work and steps you've mastered thus far. You can do this as often as you like, as long as it doesn't interfere with your ultimate goal. Maybe you resolved to spend less time on social media. Let's say you met your goal of spending less than 3 hours a week... give yourself an extra 30 minutes on a quiet Sunday. There's nothing wrong with treating yourself for your hard work. Otherwise, this wouldn't be fun!
Step 6: Reflect. At the end of the year, take a moment to reflect back on everything you accomplished this year. Did you meet your ultimate goal? How do you feel? Are you happier with yourself? Some people enjoy keeping a journal to read back on (totally me...). No matter what, you faced your challenges each day and that has to count for something!
Some additional tips: Be careful about who you share your resolution with. I wouldn't brag to your naggy Aunt about your ultimate goal if you think she might wag her finger at you. Remember, this is a personal choice you made for you. Also, be careful about comparing yourself to others. That doesn't do anything but hurt you. Did you fall off the wagon? No worries, just try again! Each day is a new day, and a new chance to be a better you. Above all, remember you are doing this for yourself (or even perhaps your spouse or children). Making a lifestyle change is a personal choice, and only you can help yourself reach your goals.
I hope you've enjoyed our first official Mama Lifestyle Blog Post for the year! We are always looking for new topics to explore so we'd love to hear from you.
Not saying you want, or even care, to know, but my goal for 2017 is to live with more intention. I've already created a list of steps to help me reach this goal and am excited to see what the new year will bring me. Feel free to comment yours below so we can share tips with each other. No worries, I won't wag my finger at you ;)
Many thanks, and many blessings,