How to Keep Your New Years Resolutions

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I have to confess, this post is more about how to ditch New Year’s resolutions, and set goals instead, and I feel like I tricked you into reading with the title. Sorry if you feel jilted. Once upon a time, I would set New Year’s resolutions, and quickly break them, setting off a chain of guilt, and remorse. While I love the idea of ending the year with thoughtful reflection, and beginning January 1 with a clean slate of possibilities…I also hate the feeling I get when I mess up.

This year, for example, has been crazy, and it didn’t turn out as planned. At the start of 2019, I left a job of 31/2 years that I dearly loved. I really thought it was my turn to start moving up the ladder at our local community college where I teach nights…I still teach nights, but it just hasn’t worked out the way I expected. It hasn’t worked out according to my 3, 5, or even 10 year goals…so sometimes we end up on a side road. The thing I love most about the side road I is it meets a goal I wrote down like five New Year’s ago. I ended up with a fun part-time non-profit gig two days a week which has given me time to partner with a friend to start a local estate sales business on the remaining days! So, sometimes we write down dreams and goals, and they don’t happen right away, but then they come back around later when we least expect. The point is to get in touch with your heart, write down what you think you want to try this year. It is so much fun to put your dreams in motion this way. So, I set realistic goals for the new year, keeping in mind that we never know for sure what life holds. Here are my tips for setting, and keeping those resolutions, or as I like to call them goals…

Write your resolutions down…

It is true that whatever we write down is somehow filed in our brain, and there is a crazy amount of follow through. I cannot tell you how many times I have written a goal down, just once, and gotten distracted only to come back a whole year later to find I accomplished it. That is the other reason to write those resolution down, if you write them down, you can go back and read them, and pat yourself on the back. There is a huge sense of accomplishment at the end of the year when you re-read that list. Sometimes, things change completely, it’s always fun to look back anyways.

Make your resolutions realistic….

I hate to be a party pooper, but setting a goal to finish your Master’s degree this year, if you just started it in September….that is not realistic. Think of where you want to be in five years, and what you might need to accomplish this year to get there by 2025. Think baby steps, and then compare that to your current schedule, unless your independently wealthy, and can quit your job to work on the degree….you might need to give yourself more time.

Make your resolutions tangible…

Make your resolutions tangible, and maybe even build in a reward. Are you wanting to start working out? Maybe it is hard for you to make the scale move…what are some other ways you can measure, and reward yourself? Maybe make your goal to lose a dress size even if the scale doesn’t budge.

Be flexible…

Be flexible in your evaluation of where you will end up. Don’t beat yourself up if it isn’t in the cards so to speak. Leave a little room for serendipity… We have had it on our list to buy a house ever since we moved to Wyoming, but the prices just keep climbing, and it really doesn’t feel right. So this year, I really want to put some love into our rental property, a few flowers, maybe a little paint. We also bought a new refrigerator to make it more pleasant. We had to adjust our timeline and expectations for this goal.

Finally, take time for proper endings and new beginnings. Even if you don’t like parties, it is important to observe the 24 hours that we call New Years Eve. Whether you spend it with friends and family, or have a quiet evening at home, take time to count your blessings, and embrace the possibilities to come.

P.S. I recommend you read “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. It is a real life version of the movie “Yes, Man,” and she tells her stories in such a hilarious way. It was a great read for me back in 2018 – quite life changing.