Do These 3 Things Instead of a New Year’s Resolution
Word on the street is New Year’s Resolutions fail by February.
I can’t remember the last time I set one. I’ve done several other things instead, which I’ll share with you shortly – or scroll to the last half for you impatient types 😉
This time of year, people find themselves reflecting. For me, it was the first time I realized how much my meditation practice has changed my life- subtle changes that turned into transformation!
Funny thing about this year…I wasn’t one of those people saying how fast the year went by. Although that’s the standard greeting during the holiday season.
‘Can you believe it’s Christmas already?’
‘Yes I can.’
‘Can you believe Christmas is over?’
During the holidays I used to feel terribly behind or way ahead of myself- stressed over my lack of control over time. However, this season I felt right where I needed to be- in the moment. Cliché, but I felt present all season long. I baked and I crafted- getting creative always helps me get centered, but this is usually the first thing to get ignored when I’m in a pinch for time.
This year I was able to easily release plenty of things that didn’t get done, rejoice in the things that did get done (or overdone- I burned the vegetables for Christmas dinner- who does that!?). And at the end of December 25th, I felt neither unsettled by the old year or uptight about the new one.
I wonder how many people reflect on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve and think… ‘Where has the time gone?’, or more insightfully, ‘Where have I been?’
Before a meditation and mindfulness practice it was almost as if I was grieving my life while living it, watching minutes vanish before my eyes and further distracting myself so I didn’t have to come to terms with losing all that time. It took being mindful about my time to prioritize better. If you are short on time, your priorities are out of whack!
Moments can whiz by without being fully present. Living on autopilot can rob you of even more years!
As for the New Year, I will still give it some thought. I won’t get too far ahead of myself though.
I make plans/intentions/goals two months at a time. Even if something unexpected happens, staying on track for two months is reasonable. If something comes up in February, I don’t feel like I blew my whole New Year’s purpose or promise.
For best results use the Kaizen technique- break down large goals into smaller progressive ones to reach that larger one. A small goal every two months is optimal. Otherwise you’ll try super hard in January, and maybe again in April, but most likely say ‘to hell with it’ by July.
One big resolution just looks like one big obstacle looming over your head for the first few months of the year. Split it up into 6 steps- every two months and voila!
For people who want to lose 100 lbs. next year, that would be a goal of 16.67 lbs. (every two months). 16+ lbs. is a much easier and appealing goal that eventually becomes 100 lbs.
Two years ago I wanted to start my own business, but the thought of it was overwhelming. For my own sanity I began with the two-month goal-making process.
The first two-month intention was to create a business plan and do my research. The next two-month goal was get social, networking, and establish an online presence. The next goal was focusing on content. And the next a website…and so on until by October that year I was officially in business!
3 ways to ensure your New Year is successful:
- Participate in a Challenge – Bye-Bye resolutions, hello Challenges! There’s something really cool (and powerful) about challenging yourself on your own terms. I started doing this the last few months of 2018. I took an 8-week online course to eventually go towards a certification. Then I took a 21-Day co-dependency course. A lot of websites, gurus, and bloggers offer free challenges too- I’ll start the year with this 30-Day Love Your Life. This helps me stay on track.
If you want to meditate more, there’s a lot of challenges available. Detox program? De-clutter? There’s challenges for that. Some are free. Some cost money. The bonus is they usually offer support- a community or Facebook group with others who are participating in the same challenge. And again, I don’t commit to anything more than 8 weeks/2 months. You can do what you like with your time-frame, but 2 months works for me.
Don’t forget to journal while participating in the challenge or course. Reflect on it at the end to decide whether you got something out of it or if something else may be better suited for you.
2. Intention Setting- Intentions create clarity, because you have to direct your focus. And what you focus on grows. Since our attention spans are itty-bitty nowadays, intentions are perfect. They are often short-term (two-months-at-a-time 😉) spurts of purpose in our lives. “I intend to stop taking things so personally.” “I intend to be a more involved parent.” “I intend to take responsibility for my actions.” Once you set your intention, your brain finds ways to connect your actions and external world to that which you intend.
It’s like getting into a car and having no intention of which way you want it to go. You probably won’t even get as far putting it into gear. But let’s say you have a specific destination in mind. Your “intention” is to get there so you follow directions and it’s much easier than the first scenario. What direction do you want to take your life? Focus there! Intentions, or short-term areas of focus, can form long-term habits.
3. Have a theme– A lot of incredible movies would be nothing without their theme song. That song powerfully makes you feel a certain way and the movie is memorable.
You don’t have to have your own ballad, but instead set a theme for your upcoming New Year- one word or one phrase. Inner peace. Spirituality. Love. Prosperity. Healing. Strong. Independence. Success. These are examples of central themes that invoke a desired feeling. Collect experiences, thoughts, and things that remind you of your theme. Make it beautiful. Make it personal. Make it purposeful. Just as I mention above, it’s a way to create more focus- how we envision the upcoming year. It’s like a beacon of light in the midst of a foggy night.
- Self-Care/Self-Love (theme). I am someone who tends to put others first. I realized I wasn’t even doing that very well anymore so it was time to give back to me so I could give better to others.
- Heal. I am taking every effort to heal what ails me, inside and out.
The purpose of these alternatives to resolutions is creating more focus and ongoing motivation. When it comes down to it, resolutions fade after a couple of months because we lose focus or interest. We don’t see immediate results because we have one big goal usually instead of accumulative goals and intentions.
What we’re doing here is extending that flame, that passion, that goal, etc. so it doesn’t burn out before you accomplish what you set out for.
You don’t become successful…and that’s it.
You don’t achieve inner peace…and you’re done.
It’s a continuous journey.
I sincerely wish you a very Happy (and healthy) New Year,