I was surprised when I learned that in Western world, instead of making wishes during New Year and having a list of dreams people want to achieve, they come up with resolutions instead. I mean, it is great to try to become a better person, and I am all for personal improvement. However, the timing! Think about it: after long and stressful year, we had a roller coaster of news and policies about new virus variant where there is a constant switch between “everything is great, this virus means the whole Covid thing is going away” and “this virus is worse than any other virus in the history of human kind”. Now, add to it all the stress of preparing for holidays: shopping, cleaning, cooking, entertaining. The last thing I want after all this is doing any kind of resolution. No, I will eat that cake and watch people running on the treadmill. No, I will pour that wine and watch others enjoy their cucumber water. No, I will stay on the sofa watching TV while others exercise. And here is why.
It is not that I disagree with the idea of self-improvement. But is resolutions the best way to go about it? Resolution is a promise we make to ourselves in order to improve a certain aspect of our life. Most often than not, resolutions are driven by us making mistakes (maybe it was too much cake) and regretting the consequences of those mistakes (how did I gain 5 pounds?), and then making promises (no more sugar this month!). Is it really the best way to approach this?
How about instead of focusing on the guilt, feeling bad about the current version of ourselves and almost forcing ourselves to go against our habits and comfort zone we do something else? Here is what I recommend to replace resolutions with:
- Before making any kinds of promises, goals or plans there is one important thing to do to start 2022 right: REST. I give you the permission to take it easy, take it slow and recover from all the joy of holidays before facing this year. I can’t describe what a difference a week of rest has made in my life this year. Actually, I can since its my blog 🙂 To make it short: last year I tried starting the year ‘right’ with resolutions, plans, goals and all other ways to torture myself. It added to already existing anxiety and stress and made it harder to get closer to any of the goals until way later into the year. Once you rest you will have more energy to achieve great things!
- Focus on ENABLERS. In other words, what help or support can you get to achieve your goals? If one of the goals is to lose weight, instead of making resolutions that impose all kinds of limits on yourself, think about how you can help yourself instead. Is it doing some kind of psychological test to identify what causes you to lose weight so you can explore other ways to solve your problem? Another example of enabler would be to invest into healthy routine by exploring vegan recipes (for example). Knowledge is also an enabler. Or maybe you can sign up for a support group where all other people are also trying to lose weight and you can support one another?
- Think about your dreams. What is it that you really want? I hate when I am told that I can only make one wish or focus on one goal because I have goals and dreams for every area of my life. And you should to! The best (and fun way) is to write a list of 100 things you would like to get. Not all of them are material, it can also include any dreams, skills, goals. The best way to approach it is to divide it into groups: Health, Financial(this one can include how much money you would like to make and things like expensive cars or maybe Chanel bag), Career, Home, Family, Relationships, Travel, Personal Development/Creativity. You can make your own groups. Writing 100 things really helps you achieve clarity about every area of your life.
- Make it fun. Turn chores (that help you to achieve your goals) into something more enjoyable or promise yourself treats or rewards. For example, if my goal is to have a clean kitchen I can listen to my favourite music while cleaning it every evening. Or, once I clean it I get a ‘reward’ – by watching my favourite show.
- Learn more about habits. I kept writing down that one of my goals was to write a book but if you look at my daily habits there was no time to sit down and write! Obviously, no book will come out from me watching Netflix shows. If you are not doing something related to your goals on regular basis you will not achieve your goals.
- Think about ways to make yourself accountable. Having to-do lists and goals is great but I discovered that what really helps me do more things related to the goals is having a report back to myself. Every day before going to bed I will use a Notes app on my phone and just write down a list of things I did today that aligns with my goals or things that I feel good about doing. For example, if one of my values is self-care and my definition of self-care is journaling, if I wrote in my journal today, it would be captured in my ‘report back’. If I would like to learn Spanish and I spent 5 minutes on Duo Lingo app today, it goes to my list. If I would like to lose weigh and I exercised today, it is going on my list. What’s important here is that this accountability approach is not possible if my goals are not defined – how can I know that I am getting closer to the desired destination if I don’t know where I am going? Having said that, knowing what goals you have for this year will help you have more focus and meaning in your life. And you have my support not to do resolutions 🙂