New Year’s resolutions have always baffled me. You always hear the same things—exercise more, eat better, learn something new, travel more, and stress less. While we all want better health, to be in the know, and to experience the world, creating these broad and generic resolutions often lead to lack of follow through. That’s the running joke, isn’t it? When the “new year, new you” only lasts for a week or so. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
All of our resolutions are made with good intentions and goals in mind, but what they lack is personalization and tangible action steps to make them happen. I’ve realized this year after year as I fail to achieve what I set out for, yet I have never tried to change that. Until now.
I’ve never truly made an effort to create resolutions that I stick to for more than a week or so, but this year felt different. I recently read an incredible book, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, and it rocked my world. It transformed the way I looked at goal setting and goal achieving. The premise of the book is that anyone can find happiness with the cards they’re played.
Rubin set out 12 resolutions for herself, one for each month, with tangible and specific ways to make every single resolution a reality. As I flipped page by page through the book, I realized how Rubin had created an approachable way to accomplishing those daunting resolutions. For example, instead of just “cultivating friendships”, it became remembering birthdays, no gossiping, cutting people slack, and bringing people together. What she did was break down her big hairy audacious goal, which seemed intimidating, into doable tasks and actions that she could focus on every day. As simple as this may seem, it opened my eyes.
So then the new year rolled around, sneaked up on me as it always does, and I knew I wanted to actually make something out of my resolutions. I looked to see what I needed to do to be more fulfilled, happy, and confident in 2017. As I developed my list, I realized that each one had a story behind it and that’s what made them more meaningful and more approachable, than say the typical “Eat healthier” resolution. I felt a deeper connection to my new resolutions and felt a drive to achieve them that I’d never felt before. It was the stories and the people that inspired them and brought them to life. It is those same stories and people that will serve as reminders throughout 2017 why I am doing what I am doing.
For the first time in my life, I am going to take my resolutions seriously and not just brush it off my shoulder if I don’t follow through. I’m hoping that this year will serve as a foundation for me in the future to help to learn how to create a goal and actually make it happen.
So bring it on 2017, I’m ready.