In this article, I’m un-packing a new way to do new-year’s resolutions. I became quickly frustrated with having a resolution that lasted at most through March, and I decided there had to be a better way. In Part 1, I talked about the importance of knowing your own playbook and how that provides the insight and awareness that we need to take control over our behaviors. The reflection will provide the insight to fuel the practical steps in this article.
What helps me most is to start with an end-goal. This is the second question I asked in the previous article – where do you want to be. For me, I’ve found patterns between the 7 areas, so where I wanted to be was actually only two or three things. And that’s what I’d like to ask you to do – choose 1 to 3 goals of where you want to be.
I’d like to encourage you to be as specific as you can be. The more specific you can be, the easier it is to figure out how to get there. So instead of saying you want to eat better, your goal might be to eat 3 vegetables per day.
Once you have your specific end-goal, write it down. I have a daily journal that I use to keep me on track. At the beginning of each year, I have a place in the front of the journal where I write down my new year’s resolutions. This way, every time I consult my calendar, I’m reminded of my specific goals.
Then, identify some milestones that you can celebrate. Change is hard, and I’ve found it’s a lot easier (and sustainable) when I can see my own progress. I also celebrate the milestones – I give myself a reward for each milestone I reach. So for example, if my goal is to eat 3 vegetables per day, Milestone 1 would be eating 1 vegetable per day for 30 days, Milestone 2 would be eating 2 vegetables for 30 days, etc. If it’s an especially tough goal, I try to make more milestones.
Finally, I come up with a game plan. I take all those milestones and map them out over a year. I pay special attention to times that would make accomplishing a milestone difficult. For example, if I’m going to be traveling or spending time away from my kitchen, I’ll know not to aim for eating too many vegetables.
I also pay special attention to ways that can help me accomplish my milestones. For example, joining a CSA (community supported agriculture – it's partnering with a local farm and getting weekly produce) would help meet the vegetable goal. I also add these to my calendar.
Over the years, I have found that starting with a specific goal helps me stay focused. Peppering my journey through the year with rewardable milestones keeps me encouraged and I see myself making measurable progress. Finally, seasoning the year with ways to help me accomplish my milestones gives me the extra boost I need when I’m in the throes of the year.
So, how do you accomplish your new year’s resolutions? I’d love to hear what methods work for you! Leave me a comment below – I’m looking forward to hearing from you.