As a kid, I loved the first day of school. The new pens and notebooks and binders and paper. New schedule, new classes, new learning possibilities, new goals. Now that I’m not a student anymore, that’s how I feel about New Years. I can’t remember the first time I heard about New Years’ resolutions but I think there is an innate part of me that has always made them and appreciated the process. I’ve been making resolutions as long as I remember.
Here’s the shocking part: I have actually been succeeding at a lot of those resolutions!
What’s the magic formula? Having a plan, reviewing it regularly, and taking action.
The simplest method to make your plan is to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time bound). I won’t go through the whole process of how to make a plan but you can check out Missy Homemaker’s post to see a simple template to follow. If you want some help to figure out areas to set goals in, Tsh Oxenreider, from The Art of Simple has a great post on 20 Questions to Help Set Goals. Once you have your plan in place, how can you put it into practice to make sure you actually accomplish what you set out to do?
Something like 90% of what we do is done out of habit. So if we want to achieve certain goals or resolutions, the easiest way would be to make taking the steps towards them into habits. Here are a few simple ways to create new habits to help you succeed with your new years resolutions:
1. Visual reminders: Print out the habits that you want to create that will get you closer to your goal. Hang them up around your house in areas where you’ll see them and be regularly reminded of what you want to accomplish. Some high traffic places are above the kitchen sink, on the bathroom mirror, on the fridge, near your computer. You could hang up just the paper or even get frames to put them in. My favorite solution is a simple page protector because I can easily switch them out to work on a new habit each month. It also protects the paper from my littles’ hands and from splatter of dishwater.
2. Audible reminders: Most people have a cell phone and nearly all cell phones have an alarm capability. Set an alarm to remind you to about your habit.
3. Physical anchors: Evaluate your day and recognize the things that you do by habit and tie another habit to it. For example, I already drink coffee each day but want to increase my water intake. So I drink my water before I allow myself a coffee. In an effort to reduce/eliminate pain from a back injury a few years ago, I want to strengthen my core. I’m going to tie core exercises to my husband’s lunch hour (so he can hold the baby).
You can see a little more about my personal Life Plan for 2014 and feel free to join me and a few other bloggers on a quest to hold each other accountable with our resolutions this year.
Do you set New Years resolutions? Have you found a way to follow through on them? Please share any tips that you have on making and keeping resolutions.