Realistic New Year’s Resolutions (yes, in February)

Hello! Yes, I’ve been MIA for a full month and I apologize for leaving you all hanging with absolutely no word. Towards the end of December, I received some pretty big news and it threw me off my game for all of January. Seriously, I basically went MIA from the internet, including my Facebook, my Instagram, and this blog. Plus, my work schedule has become extra busy as a big project has ramped up…a lot…with me taking on a really big role. You and this little blog have been on my mind every single week though.

Part of why I’ve been absent is because, thanks to the big news, I haven’t been able to think of some good New Year’s Resolutions because a lot of things are out of my control. Namely, the stuff I really care about. I wish there were some good resolutions that could eventually get me where I want to be and there are probably some good resolutions out there that haven’t come to mind yet. However, I promised you all some guidelines for setting New Year’s Resolutions…but I don’t have any of my own. It’s the first full week of February and for the first time since 2011, I haven’t set any resolutions.

Because, like I said, the stuff I care about is out of control. This includes some of my diet, my fitness ability, my health, my energy, and even where I might live. Though, now that I make that list, I realize there are still a few things I can control, like my faith, my dedication to my family, my dedication to my friends, how much time I might spend at work, how often I’ll (try to) work out, and playing with Way Pup. Huh…guess I can make some resolutions.

That long ramble said, I do have several years of practice in making New Year’s Resolutions. My resolutions aren’t always very realistic or very measurable, but I’ve tried to improve. I like New Year’s Resolutions. The tradition appeals to me, the fresh start at the beginning of the year, and a chance to set some goals. Writing down goals is a huge step towards accomplishing them. However, you have to see them frequently so you don’t forget them.

New Year’s Resolutions* are a bit like to-do lists in my mind. You are welcome to put as much stuff on there that you think you’ll get done just so you can cross it off. For example, if you know you’re going to send out holiday cards next season, go ahead and put ‘send out holiday cards for 2019” on your list. If you have a family vacation scheduled, put “take a family vacation”. Now, you can always take it to the next level. With the holiday cards, you could make a resolution to have a family photo taken or have the cards ready to go by December 1. With the family vacation, you could make a resolution to only schedule 1 activity per day (instead of either no scheduling or a fully loaded schedule).

*Yes, I know it’s February and it probably feels like the time for New Year’s Resolutions has passed, but, if you set resolutions for this year, odds are that you have given up or forgotten. So, consider this either your kick in the pants to get back to them or a kick in the pants to make some for 2018 (because it isn’t too late).

Be Specific

Over time, my resolutions have evolved.Initially, they were all over the place and very unspecific. Nowadays, they are more specific – things I can actually accomplish. Here are 3 specific examples:

  1. It’s very hard to determine if I succeed at “be a better daughter”, but it’s much easier to determine whether or not I successfully “take opportunities to spend time with my parents”. (seeing them every Sunday, going hunting with my dad twice a year, doing something for mother’s and father’s days, celebrating holidays with them, and calling to check in randomly).
  2. It’s hard to measure how well I “increase my productivity at work”, but it’s much easier to measure “don’t look at Facebook during the work day” (yay! A whole week without checking Facebook while I was supposed to be working!).
  3. It’s hard to measure “get into shape” versus “go to the gym 3 times a week” (or putting on your shoes and shutting the front door behind you).

Look at Them

It’s really hard to accomplish anything when it’s out of sight. If you write down your New Year’s Resolutions and then tuck them away somewhere, you probably won’t do any of them. However, if you put those resolutions somewhere where you’ll see them at least once a week, you’re much more likely to do them.

In my home, we have a magnetic white board next to the back door. For several years, I posted my resolutions right next to the door at my eye level, where I would see them every single day. I may not have accomplished every single goal, but it sure kept my goals at the forefront. I admit that this past year, I wrote my personal resolutions in my journal on New Year’s Day and that was the last time I saw them. At work though, I’ve used a modified bullet journal for a few years now and have incorporated a mini goal review at the beginning of each month. On the first working day of the month, I rewrite my annual goals, noting any progress (or not), and then write a few monthly goals.

It might be a new year, but you’re still you. Rather, you’re still the amazing, wonderful, in progress you that you were a month ago when the calendar still said 2018. If you haven’t set any resolutions yet for this year, go ahead and set them now. If you have set some and fallen off, then get back on! And post those resolutions where you’ll see them every day! If you set some and are still going strong, you are a force of nature and I bow to you.

I’ll work on setting some resolutions for myself for next week and be back to share them with you. Thanks for your patience.

In the meantime, here are some photos from previous year’s so you get an idea of my resolutions:

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