I've heard other people talking about how they can never keep their resolutions, so why bother? I personally love this time of year because it makes me slow down and reflect on my hits and misses for the previous year, and refocus for the upcoming year.
This previous year, my hubbie and I used our new year resolutions to start a "rewards jar" to fund our Christmas vacation to NYC. Essentially, we decided to set goals and pay ourselves in a vacation fund for achieving. We wanted to trade short-term gratification/spending for the longer term goal of a great vacation (see post from 07/14/14).
Some goals had to be ways we saved money (i.e., if we did not go out to lunch or dinner on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, we put $50 in the fund for each day we did not eat out; $5 for every evening I did not have a glass of red wine with dinner) as well as reward ourselves for things we wanted to do more or less of (i.e., $5 per day for daily devotional, $50 per week if worked out all 7 days, etc). So we had to save money from somewhere to pay for other goals we wanted to achieve. We had our NYC apartment and plane tickets paid for and booked by mid-year, and the rest was spending money. Needless to say, IT WORKED and we are doing it again this year.
As I was thinking through my resolutions for this year, one of the blogs I follow nomeatathlete put out a 31 day challenge, #writeandrun31. You pick the creative goal you will spend time on every day and a fitness goal you will spend time doing every day, obviously for 31 days. I certainly was planning to spend more time writing in 2015. So to me, this was a perfect goal to start off the year, creating the habit of writing SOMETHING every day, no matter what it is. So whether you set a time goal or number of words goal or some other type of creative goal, it is up to you. And they have a Facebook page where you can proclaim your goal, and then report if you hit it or miss it each day; love this accountability!
So I'm asking those who may be a little more cynical about the Resolution Process to try to think about it differently. It doesn't have to be something huge that can seem insurmountable and probably doomed for failure. Set some short term goals that can establish strong habits instead of trying to say "I'm going to do this perfectly from today for the rest of the year or for the rest of my life." Trade some short-term gratification for longer-term gratification items that are important to you. Use what works to motivate you. I highly recommend reading The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg to really understand how to set yourself up for success with change. It really is the little things that can lead to incredible results.
And be patient and gracious with the resolutioners in the gym or elsewhere. If you are an outside runner, wave hello or give a thumbs up to new faces at the park or other route. In the gym, instead of keeping your headphones in and scowling when someone comes near you while you are lifting, say hello. Ask how they are doing and make them feel welcome, as most everyone is self-conscious when starting something new. Remember, you were new there once too, no matter how long ago it's been.
And maybe even make it one of YOUR resolutions to take someone on to mentor, whether at the gym or at work. Maybe they will end up as a great workout partner or a superstar at work. Regardless, it feels good to help someone, and you might be the reason they stick with whatever they are trying past the typical few weeks or month. How great would that be?
I hope you have the opportunity to serve and make a difference today!
Kellee Webb, SPHR