I know New Year’s Day is still a couple of weeks away, and you’re probably in the midst of celebrating other holidays at the moment. Still, this is a great time to start to think back over the previous year and decide what changes you might want to make after the ball drops, welcoming in the new year. Many of us decide on December 31 that we’ll lose weight, quit smoking, or be a more fun mom over the next year… and all too often, our New Year’s resolutions are forgotten by February 1. Here are some things to consider for the next few weeks to try to make resolutions you are more likely to keep.
- Pick just one thing. Most of us want to lose 20 pounds, keep a cleaner house, not yell at the kids, cook a nutritious dinner every night, have a beautiful garden, and save more money. We simply can’t focus on everything at once; our brains aren’t wired that way, and we’re too busy with the house, the kids, our husbands, work, and everything else we need to do. Pick just one thing. Don’t worry; if you can get a grip on one part of your life, then you can start on another after that. For now, though, choose the most pressing item on your list.
- Put it in writing and be specific. Once you write something down, particularly if it’s somewhere where others will see it (your Facebook status, a Tweet, your blog, on the refrigerator), you might be more likely to stick to it. Also, be specific. “Lose weight” isn’t a good resolution because you have no direction. Instead, write down, “Walk three times weekly and drink only water with meals.” Those little steps will get you started on your goal of losing weight. Whatever your main resolution is, break it up into steps and start with the first one or two specific things.
- Start early or late. If you have a problem with New Year’s resolutions but want to change something, start today. Or start in the middle of January. Don’t get too hung up on the date; you can still get more organized if you start on December 20 or January 8 instead of January 1.
- Find an accountability partner. Talk to a friend about keeping each other accountable in your respective journeys. It doesn’t matter what your resolution is or if your friend’s is the same or something completely different. Call a friend this week and ask if she’d let you check in with her each week to talk about your resolutions and how it’s going, and you do the same for her.
- Be realistic. Getting your cabinets more organized or calling your mother-in-law more regularly is not going to change your life. So, don’t get discouraged if you can’t decide upon the perfect resolution or if, after you start, you fall off the wagon. If you have major problems that need to be solved, you might consider talking to a counselor about tangible steps that you can take in order to solve them but don’t take the idea of a New Year’s resolution too seriously.
It might be fun to come up with a family new year’s resolution. Gather everyone together and talk about what types of things family members would like to change. My own kids want more game nights and monthly family campouts in the living room, so we’ve started integrating those into our routine. Resolutions that inspire more family togetherness are win-win for everyone, so see what you can come up with!
Have you decided on any new year’s resolutions?