3 New Approaches to Resolutions and The New Year

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alternatives to new year's resolutions

Welcome to 2k19, baby! As you’ve probably noticed, resolutions seem to be the hot topic on everyone’s mind, both on the web and in the flesh. No surprise there—the start of January often reverberates this “buzz” around new promises to ourselves, and gyms everywhere go from tumbleweed-rolling-across-the-hall empty to every parking spot taken overnight. I, like many, usually spend this time of year reflecting on how I want to positively change myself in the coming 12 months. But unfortunately, I usually forget about all my goals and resolutions by March (if I’m lucky to make it that far) and end up feeling dissatisfied and disappointed in myself come December. Sound familiar?

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I’ve noticed a shift in the last of couple of years where people are finally moving away from resolutions, having spent enough Decembers feeling dejected and unaccomplished. So whether you’re setting resolutions this year, trying to stick to just “goals” instead, or have sworn it off completely, I have a few ideas that might change the way you approach the new year.

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1. Turn your goals and resolutions into a game, adding incentives and “playing” it weekly.

Let me give you an example. Last year, I decided to make a very long list of resolutions, but instead of tucking that list in a drawer where I was bound to forget about it, I taped it into the inside cover of my planner. (Bonus Tip: If you use planners, then writing your resolutions in a very visible place can hold yourself more accountable.)

I assigned each resolution a number. Make your bed every day, 1. Stop complaining, 2. Eat more bacon, 3. (Just kidding about that last one, although I wouldn’t mind doing it.) After numbering each item on my list, I took a separate sheet of paper and numbered it as well. Then on that first Sunday of 2018, I sat down for 5 minutes to “grade” myself on my resolutions. With my numbered list of self-promises resting next to my blank numbered sheet, I proceeded to assign each resolution a letter grade, depending on how well I did the previous week. So I made my bed 5 of the 7 days? That’s a C-. I remember complaining a lot? Give myself a D.

For me, grades are a huge incentive, and seeing lower ones like Cs or Ds compels me to work hard on my resolutions to get higher “grades”, even though I know they have no real relevance except to me. Then every Sunday, I spent just five minutes adding a new column of evaluations for the previous week on my sheet of paper. I did this for the entire year, and you know what I found?

I actually stuck to the majority of my resolutions. I improved myself in a lot of ways I was hoping to at the beginning of the year. I didn’t feel crummy in December because I kept my pledges relevant in my mind and worked towards them each week. Sure, I didn’t end the year with a column of A+ like I had hoped, but the important thing is that I actually stuck to my goals and held myself accountable.

So for me, assigning letter grades acted as an incentive and taking a few minutes to “grade” each Sunday was me “playing the game”. Maybe fake grading can work for you too, or maybe you need to find another motivation that’s personal. (Perhaps no Netflix on the weekend until you read through your resolutions? Maybe tape your list of goals to your mirror, where you’re forced to see it everyday?) The most important thing to remember is that you have to commit to reflection on your goals/resolutions/promises each week, otherwise you will forget about them and then you will feel like a lazy slob in December. No bueno. Trust me, I have years of experience.

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2. Write your goals and resolutions to allow some leeway.

I know it’s so tempting to make absolutes and ultimatums with ourselves when we desire change. However, I really believe this mindset is one of the biggest issues people face that leads them to forgetting about or disregarding their resolutions. Let’s say you make a pledge that you want to be in bed by 10:30 PM every weeknight. If you’re being honest with yourself (which you always should be), then you’d know that’s just not possible. Events come up, homework gets in the way, unexpected things happen. It’s understandable, and more importantly, it’s okay. Now if you’re making excuses every night, that’s a bit of a different story… But if you start right away by acknowledging you won’t be perfect all the time, it makes your chances of success a lot more likely. Instead of promising to “go to bed every weeknight at 10:30” try instead to write, “Aim to get to sleep within half hour of 10:30 every weeknight.” This wording allows for some flexibility so you don’t have to feel like a failure every time you slip up. Another example, which I used last year as a resolution, is instead of “only drink water all the time,” I promised to “only allow myself one drink other than water each week.” It’s all about moderation; cutting something off completely or diving head-first into an extreme makes it that much more difficult to stick to your resolution and find success. Which leads me to…

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3. Remember that “it’s never too late to be what might have been” -George Eliot.

I first mentioned this quote a few weeks ago in my post Wise Words to Inspire Your 2019. As I said before, this quote may be viewed as cheesy or cliché to some, but I really think it’s important in regard to new year’s resolutions. You have to, HAVE TO remember to go easy on yourself. Sure, you mess up and eat two desserts a day when you’re trying to limit yourself to one. So what! One little slip up doesn’t mean you have to throw all your resolutions to the wayside. That’s why I love my little fake grading system so much—some weeks are bad, and I really don’t follow my resolutions at all. But on Sunday, when I’m reading through them and look at my Ds and Fs, it encourages me to do better the next week and pushes me to improve. You will make mistakes and not follow your resolutions exactly; I can guarantee it, and I know I already have only three days into the new year! You just have to remember that each day offers another chance to try again. It’s not an end-all be-all, no matter how cliche that sounds.

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Are you making any resolutions or goals this year, or are you totally over that? Do you think you’ll try any of these tips? I’d love to know your thoughts! My grading system has helped me so much, and I’m really excited to share it all with you to see if it’s beneficial.

Have a wonderful Thursday and welcome to the New Year!

 

Miles of smiles,

Grace

 

Polka Dot Blouse: Loft, $20 // Beige Asymmetric Coat: Francesca’s, $60 // Black Zip Mini Skirt: Francesca’s, $35 // Blue Booties: White Mountain via DSW, $42 // Black Puff Shoe Clips // Blue Infinity Scarf: unknown, $20 // Blue Cylindrical Purse: was a makeup container, $20

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