We’re almost done with the first month of the new year: the time when some of us (myself included) seem to lose the momentum to continue with the ambitious New Year’s resolutions we set.
I’ve told myself all kinds of excuses to explain why: it gets dark too early to take advantage of the day after work, it’s too cold to go outside and walk/jog/explore like I promised I would, etc. All lame excuses.
I recently spoke to a friend that made me see my excuse-filled approach to my goals in a new light. We were discussing her goals of saving money in the new year and when I gave suggestions like tracking spending and creating a budget she said “I don’t want to look at my credit card statement or create a budget because I don’t want to know what I’m spending” and that was the end of the conversation. She had a goal that she even knew was important for her and her family, but wasn’t willing to take even preliminary steps towards that goal. Her words actually made me reevaluate my approach (or lack thereof) to my goals.
This comment made me realize that just because I put off my goals and make excuses for my lack of progress, these issues will not go away. My desire to be more active, social, and healthy will not go away if I ignore it. That is a silly approach for me to take and it took hearing it from someone else’s mouth for me to realize that. Our conversation sparked something within me and now I have a new approach to New Year’s resolutions:
- New Year’s resolutions are no longer yearly goals: I no longer think of resolutions as a yearly promise to myself. That seems to allow excuses to creep in and momentum to fall off within the first month. I now break my larger goal into monthly mini-goals that include 12 or more check points. This also allows for seemingly constant celebration of small wins and the motivation that comes with it.
- New Year’s resolutions are not something I do alone: Accountability is a huge motivator. I no longer keep my goals to myself. I have shared them with my close family and friends so they can hold me accountable. It has become almost a resolution exchange. I am also now responsible for checking in on a few of my friends and progress on their goals every other week. We’re in this together.
- New Year’s resolutions are not behind the scenes: I now have visual reminders of my promises to myself throughout my house. Some include adding a check mark every day I work towards my goal, some are words of encouragement and some are simple reminders to think before acting and make sure I’m making conscious decisions in my life.
Avoidance is not a successful strategy. It seems obvious, but I have allowed excuses to overtake my New Year’s resolutions for longer than I’m willing to admit. Refusing to think about money, health, or even family drama will not make those issues go away. If anything, it will leave you with a bigger mess in the future. This year I made a resolution to stick to my resolutions because I’m worth more than excuses – and so are you.