All lives can’t matter until black lives matter.

Making New Year Resolutions Stick

I love the new year. It’s a great time to take stock of what’s important and set intentions. There’s nothing like the symbolism of the annual calendar flip to jumpstart the process.

But… change is hard and new (good) habits often don’t form easily. Here are some ideas I keep in mind to help craft my resolutions (or goals, or intentions, or tasks, or whatever) so they are meaningful and can make it out of January.

  • Think small. It’s easy to overwhelm yourself, so set an attainable goal then after you hit it you can make a new bigger one.
  • Think evolution. Rather than revolution. Look for opportunities to build on something and expand it.
  • Quantify goals. Nebulous goals are easily cast aside. Be hyper-specific about what you’re going to achieve.
  • Think in categories. This can supply the “why” to help bolster the effort. For example: family, fitness, work, community, and personal.
  • Go for higher frequencies, lower volume. It’s mentally easier to do something every day, and often more effective. For example: 10 minutes of yoga every day rather than 70 minutes once a week.
  • Focus selectively. Pick out only a few items to address. Trying to change lots of things at once can cause everything to fail.
  • Be accountable. Tell someone (or lots of people) you trust what your intentions are. Check in periodically with updates.
  • Think long-term. Make a life change you think you could do forever, because it’s the right thing to do, for you. For example: rather than go on a diet, change your diet for good.
  • Pay attention to language. Words have power; watch your self-talk. For example: it’s more powerful to say “I don’t eat sweets” than “I’m trying not to eat sweets.”
  • Get back on the horse. Just because you flub up doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up. Ask why it happened, make a change, and simply start again with a new resolve.
  • Be real. Ask yourself: “Do I really want this? Why? How does this fit into my life? Is this the right time?”
  • Remember this (via the Daily Calm): “Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.”

Raise a glass of cheer to an evolutionary new year!

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Earlier Post: Essential Website Project Starter Questions

Later Post: Flashback: Evergreen Advice from CFC 2013

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