I, along with millions of others in the world, have always set resolutions for myself by the time January 1st rolled around.
I have a proposal for you: Let’s ditch the New Year’s Resolutions.
Look, I am all about goal-setting and self-improvement. However, the idea of “new year, new me” poses some issues. We become consumed in guilt when we think about what we wanted to accomplish in 2017, but didn’t. Then, we overwhelm ourselves with a list of things we need to get right in 2018, often setting ourselves up for failure due to unrealistic expectations.
Making resolutions that we will implement starting on January 1st is the equivalent of the all-too-common “I’ll start eating healthy on Monday”. You pig-out over the weekend, and when you accidentally eat a cookie on Monday, you decide to start eating healthy next week instead.
New Year’s Resolutions encourage procrastination by putting off your goals until January. This mindset leads us to constantly plan, wait, and look ahead to next week or next month or next year. We forget to be fully present and live in the moment.
Change can happen at any time, not only after the ball drops.
With that being said, here are 3 New Year’s Resolution alternatives that will allow you to reflect on 2017 and set you up for a successful year to come!
1. CHOOSE A WORD
Instead of creating a lengthy list of bad behaviors you should reverse, pick one word to focus on for the new year. Choose your word based on how you want to feel, what you hope to experience, a characteristic you wish to embody, and/or what you desire God to reveal to you. Maybe your word is “intentional”, “space”, “grace”, “strength”, “trust”, “consistent”…the options are endless! Find a word that speaks to you and keep it in mind as you go about each day. Unlike a restrictive resolution that is easily “broken”, a word can be applied to a variety of situations and allows room for growth.
2. WRITE YOURSELF A LETTER
Grab a pen and paper, get comfy, and write a letter from your future-self dated January 1, 2019. Imagine where you will be in one year and reflect on your (hypothetical) personal development over the course of 2018. Thank your present self for what you have already accomplished. Offer yourself advice as you head into the new year. Alternatively, write a letter to your future-self about how you hope your life will have evolved and open it on January 1, 2019.
3. CARRY GOOD HABITS INTO THE NEW YEAR
We tend to get caught up in everything we did wrong over the past year. Don’t beat yourself up for your shortcomings. Instead, reflect on the positive changes you did make during 2017. Maybe incorporating self-care into your busy schedule helped boost your mental health. Or maybe eating more healthy fats allowed you to heal your gut and improve digestion. These habits can be extended into the new year by continuing to include stress-relieving practices and adding nut butter to your breakfast every day. Whatever good changes you made, aim to continue your progress in 2018.
Which one of these New Year’s Resolution alternatives will you be trying?