Tell me if these phrases sound familiar:
New year, new me.
I’m tired of the way things are.
This is MY YEAR!
This is the year I’m finally going to [enter resolution 1], [enter resolution 2], [enter resolution 3], and [enter resolution 4].
Yea, I’m going to finally accomplish all of the goals I set for the last five years THIS YEAR.
I get it. The beginning of the year signifies so many things to a lot of people. It brings about positive emotions, with feelings of motivation, excitement, and being ready to take over the world. This is the year you’ll start that business and become a millionaire. This is the year you’re going to join the gym and lose all of the extra weight. This is the year you’re going to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do.
But the problem is, you say this every year. You’ve had the same resolutions for five years but can’t seem to stick to them for more than a week. And if you make it past the week mark, the dream dies within a month or two. By March you’re back to your old self, waiting for the next new year to try living your dream life again. In the meantime, you continue complaining about the same stuff and doing the same old same old.
I promise I’m not judging you. My purpose is to show you that you’re not alone in the resolution trap, and there is a way to get out of it.
My No-Resolution Story
I used to do the same thing every year. I’d make a laundry list of things I wanted to accomplish, buy expensive products and subscriptions, do really well for a couple of days or maybe weeks, then go back to my usual routine. Throughout the year, I’d try again, but only on Mondays.
Monday signified new beginnings for me, so that was my day to try something new. Then, if I slipped up on Monday, I’d wait to start over the next week. It was literally every week for years. I wasted so much of my life waiting for the new year and the new week to do anything.
One day I finally realized this wasn’t working. My resolutions were too specific and very limiting, and I hadn’t addressed the negative self-talk that has held me back for years. Monday was my crutch to procrastinate and put things off a little longer. Without the belief in my abilities and my worth, anything I wanted to do was virtually impossible.
My theme for 2017 was the Year of Different. I challenged myself to do the opposite of what I usually do in every situation to have a different outcome than usual.
I started evaluating everything I had tried to accomplish for years and looked at all of my excuses as to why they failed. The one thing that I hadn’t done was get out of my comfort zone. I couldn’t continue doing the same things I’d been doing and expect different results (because sitting on the couch planning to lose weight doesn’t make sense).
Once I saw that I was holding myself back internally, I wrote out all of my goals and chipped away at them one at a time. My theme was to do everything differently. I had to pay for a service I thought was expensive, do something at night that I used to did in the morning, talk to someone instead of hiding in my head, and stop planning and start doing.
I love dry erase boards so I used my big one to have everything in view. I put each goal in color-coded categories and kept it in the hallway so I could look at it every day (I was astonished my husband didn’t make me move it since he hates when things are out of order).
I started seeing a therapist and implemented what we discussed. My husband and I completed a life-changing financial management course and marriage counseling (it can work wonders for any couple). I joined weight watchers and made myself workout no less than 20 minutes 3-4 times a week. I ate with my daughter to keep myself from eating junk I wouldn’t feed her. I started blogging because it held me accountable. I packed some old clothes up and started throwing away old papers. Instead of planning (my favorite thing to do), I was putting in the work.
After a few weeks of actually doing what I said I would do, I started seeing results (shocking, I know). I’m currently five pounds away from my goal weight I set five years ago (no joke). I have what I need to manage my mental health. My husband and I are in a fantastic place in our marriage, and we are setting ourselves up financially to buy a home. All of these were once resolutions that seemed impossible because I didn’t have the right mindset backing them up.
5 Fail-Proof Ways to Kick Butt in 2018
Set a theme or phrase for the year.
Give yourself a theme or phrase to live by. If your resolution is to meditate every day, you can instead have a Mindfulness or Spiritual Wellness theme. This gives you room to add new goals (like reading your Bible or doing yoga) throughout the year instead of limiting yourself to just meditating.
Create goals throughout the year.
Setting resolutions at the beginning of the year puts limits on your goals, and, if/when you fail, you wait until next year to try something else. Giving yourself a theme for the year gives you the chance to find goals that fit that theme throughout the year.
Do the opposite of your normal.
If you’re used to doing everything yourself, get help. If you’ve tried the same diet, try a new one or do it a different way. If you’re used to waking up late and running behind every morning, wake up 30 minutes earlier. Whatever it is, do it in a way you haven’t done it before. Doing the opposite of your norm will give you insight into things you haven’t tried before and help you get closer to fulfilling your goals.
Accomplishing goals is all about leaving your comfort zone. If your theme includes doing more activities outside the house with your family, but you don’t like leaving your house (I know I’m not the only one) then you have to get uncomfortable and get out there! Last year I voluntarily gave a presentation that I created to three groups of over 400 high school students. Talk about uncomfortable, but it went so well and showed me a side of myself I didn’t know I had.
Change your mindset.
The only way to achieve any goal is to have it in your mind that you CAN do it. It’s easy to say you want something, but if you don’t have the mindset needed to get it, you won’t last long. You have to speak positivity over yourself, believe that you are capable, and trust yourself. It’s not easy, especially when you’ve spent so much time with negative self-talk. But you can do it. Change your mindset, change your world (just like my motto).
2018’s theme is Confidence. I’m going to work on my confidence by putting myself in situations where I have to show my authority confidently. I’m not sure where that will lead me, but I trust that God will bring me the right opportunities. I’m not focusing on doing one specific “resolution” because that takes away from the overall theme.
So say it with me: I will not set a New Year’s Resolution.
Say it until you mean it, and kill the resolution.
Have you been stuck in the resolution trap? Do you think it makes sense to have a theme or phrase or are you sticking to a resolution? What’s your theme for the year?