How to excel at New Year's Resolutions - Don't start 'til February!
A friend asked the other day if I’d made any New Year’s Resolutions. I got out my phone to recall them. She was surprised I’d written them down.
A few days later I got a text from her. Apparently she’d read that only 1 in 10 000 people write down their goals.
I started thinking about this. I know resolutions are a trend and not a lot of people stick to them or even do them, but I think I’m actually pretty good at them and thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve learned.
1. DON’T START UNTIL FEBRUARY
Spend January thinking about what you really want to do this year. Mull some ideas over. Don’t commit to anything. Allow all the headlines and superficial chatter about losing weight and saving money pass you by as you think about what you want to accomplish. What would make you happy? What needs to change? What is actually doable?
After spending a month pondering things that are important to you, start to jot them down. Spread them out over four categories: Personal, Professional, Health and Finance. This gives you a few exciting and different things to work toward.
2. FIGURE OUT HOW
Think of some concrete ways to achieve what you want. For example common resolutions are ‘get back in shape’ & ‘spend less on alcohol’. Figure out how you’d be successful at these things. Turn your list into something like…
Exercise 4 times a week
Eat 6 fruits or veggies a day
Do a 10K walk in June
Keep alcohol for the weekend
Invite friends over once a month instead of going out
3. FLUSH OUT YOUR INTERESTS
‘Get back in shape’ & ‘spend less on alcohol’ focus on Health & Finance – but what are you doing for yourself professionally and personally in 2017? Pick something you’ve always wanted to do and work towards it. Take that money saved on alcohol and spend it on guitar lessons? A weekend away? A Leafs’ game with your best friend? Maybe something off the wall… like this guy!
With just a stand up shower in a Toronto apartment, he’s pledged to take a bath in a stranger’s bathtub everyday for a month. https://www.thestar.com/life/2017/01/12/hey-bunz-iso-a-soak-in-your-bathtub.html
What is something you can do at work that would put you in a good position to ask for a raise? Do it! Or perhaps a good professional goal is making sure your resume is up to date or that you dedicate a specific time to answering emails so you aren’t doing it in the evenings.
4. GET A PEN
For the life of me I can’t remember where I read this, but it’s always stayed with me. A college professor asked his students ‘how many of you write down your goals?’ Only four people raised their hands. Twenty years later those 4 students were wealthier than the other 200 students combined.
Write. Them. Down.
You don’t have to tell anyone else if you don’t want to, but the simple act of writing them down makes them concrete. Put them behind the bathroom door, in your phone, in the medicine cabinet or on your dashboard. Whenever you find yourself bored or dreary in the year, look to one of your personal goals and take some steps to get one done. A new challenge will perk you up. Book that weekend in Quebec City!
5. DON’T CALL THEM RESOLUTIONS. CALL THEM GOALS.
It’s easier to work towards something than to try and and stop doing something. I’m an A Type personality. I LOVE crossing things off lists. You can’t cross ‘Drink Less’ off a list! You can cross ‘Invite friends over once a month’ off a list. Woo Hoo!
Roop, Wix and I have chatted about our
resolutions goals off-mic a bit this year. I can’t out what they’re working on… but they’re taking some changes pretty seriously. I’ve had some ambitious lists in the past. I usually only get about 50% of them checked off, but that’s a bunch of new things I wouldn’t have worked towards otherwise. This year, now that I’ve got a year as a parent under my belt, I’m focussing on making sure I KEEP doing stuff that’s important to me. This is not the time to learn new stuff but to make sure I don’t let the stuff I love slide while I spend increasing amounts of time packing lunches and doing laundry.
Here’s a censored version of my 2017 goals just so you know I follow these rules too. But I’m not putting my financial or health goals on here for all to view;)