Happy new year, friends! Anything I write today will make very little sense in my jet-lagged state, so I thought I’d share this post I wrote a couple years ago about my new-and-improved approach to resolutions. I hope this helps you start 2016 off on a gentle note.
If you’d like to hear more on the topic, be sure to listen to Christine’s and my Edit Your Life podcast episode “Reframing New Year’s Resolutions.” — Asha
I’m less of a resolution-maker and more of a direction-setter. The specifics aren’t as important as the progress. But my progress is rarely linear.
I travel the same winding road we all do as parents, and I sometimes find myself on a circular path trying to solve the same problems over and over. I’ve come to accept it. On my better days this acceptance feels mature. Other days it feels like I’m making excuses.
No matter what, berating myself never helps me succeed. Some people respond well to tough love, but I just crumple and retreat. Which is my inner critic is such a drag. I constantly need to remind myself to ignore her scolding — especially at this time of year.
So I’ve made a shift in the way I think about New Year’s resolutions and goal-setting in general. I’m recasting my goals as forms of self-care rather than problems to fix because I’ve messed up.
Instead of setting a goal to stamp out something negative, I try instead to think of it as a manifestation of something positive. I’m trying to encourage myself as I would a friend.
Here are some examples. See what a difference a change of tone makes?
1. Decluttering my house
🙁 — You slob! How did you let things get so messy? Spend 15 minutes per day decluttering until it’s DONE.
🙂 — You deserve to work in a bright, tidy office. Give yourself 15 minutes per day to improve your workspace.
2. Managing my time
🙁 — You need to stick to a system! You’re too spur-of-the-moment. Create a schedule and stick to it. Finally.
🙂 — Good things happen when you prioritize what’s most important, so give yourself the first 10 minutes of the day to plan.
3. Exercising more
🙁 — You never stick to an exercise program. Get with it this year, slacker.
🙂 — You feel strong and happy when you exercise. Give yourself 30 minutes most days for a walk or run.
4. Organizing my finances
🙁 — Real grownups balance their checkbooks.
🙂 — A little bit of time spent each day filing and paying bills will reduce your anxiety and help you feel on top of the details.
5. Being a more consistent parent
🙁 — You wrote a BOOK about parenting and you can’t even stick to your own rules. *shakes head*
🙂 — Choose rules that are as easy for you to enforce as they are for the kids to follow. Add reminders to your calendar. Do whatever you need to help yourself follow through.
6. Writing good stuff
🙁 — [Insert writerly insecurity here.]
🙂 — You have something to contribute, whether that’s wisdom, humor, connection or a quick tip. Do your best every day. On the days when you don’t have anything to say, share someone else’s good work.
7. Being a better friend and family member
🙁 — You’ve let your work get in the way of keeping in touch with family and friends. GUILT.
🙂 — Every day is a new day to reach out. Think about who you love and take 10 minutes to reconnect.
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The 🙁 to 🙂 shift takes time and persistence, but it really helps. I hope these examples help you as you reframe your goals and intentions for the New Year.