Don’t Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Until You Do This
Have you ever made New Year’s resolutions that feel like they are really just a continuation of last year’s old habits? Or have you made resolutions that go by the wayside almost immediately? Keep reading to learn the one single practice that will set you up for success in your New Year’s Resolutions. As a bonus, you’ll get my 3 best tips for making resolutions that actually stick. If you’d prefer to listen to this content instead, click below to listen to this podcast episode on “From Good Girl to Grown Ass Woman.”
The danger with moving into a new year with new goals and intentions without creating closure on the previous year is similar to starting a new relationship before you’ve fully processed an old relationship. Have you ever been in a romantic relationship and realized you’re repeating the same old patterns, or playing out dynamics that are really just leftovers from your previous relationship that were never really resolved? It’s kind of like that. I recommend the following journaling prompts to create closure on your year. Grab paper and pen, and let’s get started!
I invite you to make a list, and include the immediate things that come to mind, like that promotion you earned, or the half-marathon you completed, as well as what you may consider your less obvious accomplishments. Stuff like supporting your kid when they were bullied at school. Or making an effort to convey your appreciation for each member of your team. Or beginning to consciously choose to see yourself as worthy of creating a life that delights you.
This one is really key, because sometimes we might view challenges only as something that slowed us down or got in our way, without any value other than providing ample opportunity for complaints and blame. Yet if you’re willing to look, it could be that those same challenges provided an opportunity for your growth. Try asking yourself: what have I learned about myself through this challenge? What has this challenge taught me that I might otherwise not have known? What can I take away from this challenge to benefit me in the future?
As a refresher from a previous article, values are those timeless qualities that you’re committed to beyond circumstance. Qualities like, adventure, kindness, creativity, fairness, boldness, tranquility.
This is something we tend to skip over or leave unsaid, yet is essential in continuing to consciously invite pleasure and joy into our lives in the future.
Make a list! How might you express appreciation for their contribution in your life?
What impacts did you make in your own life, or in the lives of others? If you are having a hard time with this, think back to what people tend to acknowledge you for. What do people tend to thank you for? Being a non-judgmental listener? Being a strategic thought partner? Inspiring them to think outside the box or take risks?
Maybe there’s an apology to share. Maybe there’s someone for you to forgive- including yourself. Maybe you haven’t yet allowed yourself to fully celebrate an accomplishment, or grieve a loss. What else is there to do, say, or feel? By when will you do those things?
Once you’ve created closure on the previous year, you are ready to name your new year’s resolutions from a clean slate, without bringing last year’s baggage into the year ahead.
In general, resolutions tend to be non-specific hope or wish. “I want to be better with money.” Ok, in this instance, if you want to be better with money, what does that actually mean? Does it mean saving a specific amount? Does it mean only making purchases that align with your values? Does it mean shifting your relationship with money from one of scarcity to one of abundance? The more specific you can be, the more successful you can be. Once you are clear on what you’re committing to, write it down, where you can see it frequently. In some conversations with friends over the new year holiday, we were reflecting on our year and the intentions we had set. Several of these folks had no idea what they had committed to as the beginning of the year. We want you to actually be able to recall what you’re committing to. Get specific, and write it down.
Create structures. In other words, what will you track? What are the metrics that are important to know? In the previous example , what will you track, and how will you track it? How often will you track?
Tell someone! Ideally, several someones, who care about you and what you’re up to in your life. Why? Because accountability. Because these folks will ask you how it’s going, and will be invested in you following through on what you say you want.