New Year, New Intentions
The holiday parties are coming to an end, family celebrations have since passed, the last of the presents opened and cookies eaten. Yet there is still the anticipation of a new year looming, endless amounts of champagne to be consumed and glitter to be tossed. And of course, resolutions to be made. At 28, I've watched countless times, from both my couch and the tops of crowded NYC rooftops, the New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square. And when it comes to following through on my yearly NYE resolutions, I've dropped the ball equally as many times. While made with well intentions, its inevitable that by Valentine's Day, I've completely abandoned most, if not all, of the lofty goals that seemed so attainable just weeks prior.
I know I'm not alone here. In fact, according to Forbes, of the 40% of Americans who set New Year resolutions, only 8% actually achieve them.
So here are just a few simple ways to set (and keep) those 2017 goals...
Quality over quantity
Setting too many goals is one of the biggest reasons people abandon newly set resolutions early on. With so many competing priorities (work, school, kids, etc), trying to achieve more than 3-5 reasonable tasks becomes overwhelming. Be realistic in the capacity you have to truly commit to the means necessary to achieving your goals.
Quantitative goals can be much easier to track and assess progress than general, lofty goals. Setting reasonable, achievable metrics will lead to less frustration, tangible results, and a happier, more satisfied you. For example, instead of trying to lose some weight, try cutting out processed sugars and fast food for six weeks. Or find an activity that you enjoy that provides group exercise classes, like cross country skiing or a zumba class and commit to attending twice a week. Not only will you be burning some serious cals, dare I say you might even enjoy it in the process?!
It's important to also reflect on the motivation behind your resolutions. Healthy, attainable goals are achieved with healthy, realistic motives. While it's important to self reflect and recognize opportunities for personal growth and development, it's easy to want to change ourselves in effort to impress others. Be wary of letting other's opinions determine the direction and weight of your resolutions.
Give yourself grace
Spoiler alert: you are going to mess up. That's okay! If you didn't, you'd have zero friends. Seriously, no one wants to hangout with someone who's actually perfect. So cut yourself some slack and move on. Then try again tomorrow.
Find an accountability partner.
Share your resolutions with a friend who can help keep you on track and encourage you throughout the year. Let them know when you're struggling or when you feel like jumping head first off the bandwagon. Plan activities together that will bring you closer to your goals, like going to a spin class together instead of hitting up a brewery. Or reward yourself with a beer after the spin class, whatever. Just knowing that someone else is cheering you on will help you stick to your goals and push through.
It's okay if you change your mind.
While time always seems to fly by, a year really is a long time. I've heard that a person makes roughly 35,000 decisions in an average day. That's just over 12.5 million decisions in one year. So if a few months in, you decide that a resolution is no longer relevant or completely absurd, feel free to tweak it to better fit your current situation. Just remember that you are changing direction, not completely abandoning your course.
I'm really looking forward to 2017 and all of the possibilities it holds. Take it one day at a time, finding gratitude within all of the little moments, and find comfort in knowing that you continually growing and changing into the person you were created to be.