In January 2018 I did something new. I joined a running club.
It wasn’t official, it was just me and a few moms I met at a local baby and toddler group.
The combination of fresh air, post-workout endorphin rush, and social aspect of running made me look forward to every Monday.
But by mid-February, I and the other runners had given up, and I guess it’s no surprise that we still joke about our failures at running clubs. To be fair, we’re all moms with full-time jobs, so we’ve been pretty busy, but we’re not the only ones who started the year with great exercise intentions that faded away like melting snow. I am confident that.
But now, a year later, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened to me if I had continued like that. Surely running once or twice a week for a year would make you healthier?
If it was just an hour or two out of the week, why couldn’t I keep doing it? I enjoyed it and it was good for me, surely that’s the kind of thing I should be bouncing around on every day?
But I didn’t, and a year later I’m here, and nothing has changed.
Imagine if everyone who made a New Year’s resolution followed through with it.
What if everyone actually did that for a year?
Where is everyone?
What would we do if we chose to do something and just did it? Don’t make excuses, don’t back down, don’t choose a new “thing”, just stick with it.
New Year’s Resolutions not your thing?
This New Year, I often see people online saying that they are happy with who they are and that they don’t need the new year as an excuse to change themselves. Your Instagram feed is flooded with messages telling you that you’re perfect just the way you are and that you don’t have to change anything because it’s a new calendar year.
Yes, I agree with this message 100%. If you’re happy like this, give me a high five! Don’t let all the marketing hype make you feel like you need to do more or do something different.
But, well, that’s not me. (To be honest, he’s not the one who’s 100% happy with himself who gets offended by these marketing messages.)
I love using the new year as an excuse to start fresh with renewed energy and motivation. I also love setting goals for myself to achieve more.
This doesn’t mean I want to give the impression that I’m not good enough, and that’s not a message I want to push, nor is it something I believe in. What I’m trying to say is that I can and should be better. And I want to do better.
There were years when I felt like I was doing the best I could. Two years ago, I had a newborn baby and an 18-month-old toddler, and I was chipping away at work in between naps. 2017 was a tough year. I certainly didn’t set myself any ambitious goals or resolutions that year. In 2017, I was just happy to get through the day without mentioning anything about jogging, eating healthy, or taking on an ambitious new hobby or project. Just getting through the day was accomplishment enough.
However, this year feels different. Joseph is 2 years old and George is almost 4 years old, and they are very comfortable. George is in kindergarten full time and Joseph is a typical second child who entertains himself for hours, so he has much more time to himself than he did two years ago.
I’ve set a lot of goals for this year regarding work, personal life, and personal growth, and I’m really excited to see where this year will take me!
Let’s crack it…
Tips for achieving your New Year’s resolutions
Pick one thing
There is no point in trying to change everything at once. You will only end up feeling overwhelmed and failing. If you focus on one thing and aim to do it really well, you’re more likely to stick with it.
If you’re like me and you’re the type who likes to do it all, check out my blog post about setting yourself mini-challenges every month for a year: 12 Month Challenges These are 12 Traditional My new yearly resolutions are spread out over the year and I do one a month. I hope by the end of the year I’ll have found two or three pieces that I really enjoy and feel like I can stick with.
In order to avoid wasting 2-3 hours of my time almost every night, I decided to start with “no TV” starting in January. It’s very easy to get started, but I think the results are huge!
Set yourself achievable targets and goals
At the last company I worked for, there was a phrase: “What does success look like?” I was often told this, and my eyes widened at how corporate-like it was. I was surprised they didn’t have that abbreviation. WDSLL?
But seriously, knowing what success looks like before you start is the only way to know if you’ve achieved anything. Especially if it’s something that doesn’t have an end goal or date.
Let’s say your goal is to start running. Running is something I do once a year, so I can’t just say, “I want to run.” You need to be specific.
You should say something like, “I want to run for 30 minutes twice a week, increase my distance each week, and run a marathon by the end of the year.’
There’s actually an acronym for this: SMART goals. That is, your goals should be:
- S – specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Achievable
- R – Realistic
- T – time-based
Well, I’m not going to be stilted and social anymore.
Set yourself dates and mark them on the calendar
You can’t escape the physical dates on your calendar. This is a great way to keep yourself on track. If he has a half marathon scheduled for three months from now, you can’t walk away from that date. Even more savings if you actually book and pay!
Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, break it down into smaller chunks and mark on your calendar when you want to accomplish it. For example, if you are a blogger and want to increase your readership, set monthly goals and put them on your calendar. Track and monitor them monthly. If you fail to achieve your goals, you will know that you need to change your strategy and rethink things so that there is still time until you reach your final goal.
(PS. If blogging is your goal for 2019, check out my e-course “The Blogger Course)
Think about the bigger picture
When you’re immersed in daily life, it can be difficult to see the big picture and release the little things you’re doing to create big changes.
I didn’t feel like running for an hour twice a week was very effective, but if I did that twice a week for a year, I’d probably be running a half marathon by now. That’s a big deal!
Make an inspiring Pinterest board
I know this sounds like fluffy advice, but seriously I love a good Pinterest board for inspiration. If you’re a Pinterest fan, you can find me here. I’m a bit of an addict!
Think about how you’ll feel at the end of 2019
Imagine how you would feel at the end of December 2019 if you continued to meet your goals for a year. Don’t think about how you feel now, think about how proud you will be in 12 months.
Right now, you probably don’t want to put on your trainers and go for a run (or whatever your goal is). Or maybe you start out with enthusiasm, but after six months you start to lose enthusiasm. At times like these, it’s time to stop thinking about how you feel now and start thinking about the future. I don’t want to be cheesy, but I’ll try it for my future self.
Just do it
Stop making excuses. Do you know why I said yes, it can’t be done? That’s not a reason, it’s an excuse. Don’t pretend it’s just an excuse.
It may sound like a Nike ad, but let’s do it anyway.
Do a new thing every month
Going back to this year’s resolutions, why not try what you are doing this year? Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I decide to make new monthly resolutions every month. This gives me something new to focus on each month and makes me feel like I’m staying on track and never getting bored!
It feels like a long time when it’s only been a few days since the beginning of the year, but a year is nothing. Just 52 short little weeks have gone by so quickly, and as we sit here talking about 2020 and thinking about what happened in 2019, I wish I had stuck to my 2019 resolutions. I silently hope that it’s good now….