Last week I got on the subject of New Years Resolutions with a friend. He, like many other people, is in the camp that resolutions are silly and it makes no sense to use only one time a year to set a goal or make changes to one’s life. His mindset is if you want to do something you should just do it, there is no reason to wait. I of course agreed with this point of view, but also challenged my view on how there is something refreshing about starting a New Year with a set of new possibilities. A cleanse from where life was and where you want it to go.
I have never been one to set a resolution per say. I feel stating large goals like I want to lose weight, are arbitrary and can set you up to fail. I on the other hand am all about starting a new year with new goals. I try to make my goals SMART; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time oriented (And yes this is just one of many signs I have worked a lot of years in a corporate office.)
For example. If 6 years ago I had just said to myself I am going to lose weight, I may have stopped at just 10lbs or 15lbs. However if I had also said, I am going to lose 70lbs than I may have set myself up to fail as it was such a huge hill to climb. Instead I set an attainable goal. I am going to lose 20lbs. Once I hit that goal, I set a new one. I am going to lose another 20lbs. This continued until I no longer needed to lose weight. Then I set new and different goals for myself. I am going to kick drinking diet soda, which I used as a big crutch during weight loss. What I liked about this method is it set me up to succeed and kept me on track. Every year my goals tend to be pretty similar. I usually have one related to my body or health, one related to work, and another centered around a hobby or interest like reading, cooking, or something artistic.
This year I decided to set just January goals to start. I felt like a month was a good jumping off point as it would be enough time to get me on track, felt attainable, and would set me up to succeed. Also since habits usually form after 21 days it would hopefully keep going into the rest of the year. Most of my goals tie back into one another. I think this will also help keep me motivated.
- Complete a Whole 30: I tend to eat pretty healthy already, but have always had a love of carbs, it takes all of my self restraint to say no to a cheese and bread plate. I have also never been a huge meat eater, which since I am trying to build more muscle I need to make sure I am upping my protein. After Thanksgiving with all of the indulgences I decided to do a whole 30 for as much time as I could before heading home for Christmas. This ended up being about 15-16 days on the strict program. I ended up feeling amazing! I have been pretty much eating this way since December 1st, but have definitely not been strict. So I decided I may as well get back on track for Jan with the whole program. Plus it then goes into another goal of mine which is to try and cook more new and different recipes.
- Embrace Minimalism: I grew up loving stuff. I was raised on going to garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. I loved the hunt, finding something someone’s no longer found value in, and creating a story to tie back to it. I have always been able to look at possessions and tie them back to memories. Whether it was a gift from a dear friend, a treasure I found on a trip, or just a great deal while shopping. I learned to equate stuff to memories, which in turn has always made it hard for me to part with belongings. Having lived with a minimalist for 5 years now, I have become much better at learning to part with items and also just not buying them in the first place. However for the month of Jan my goal is to not bring any none necessities into my home. Tied to this is also parting ways with items which no longer serve a purpose. Two days into the new year and I have already posted 3 ads on Craigslist to sell furniture along with getting rid of 4 bags of clothes. Off to a good start!
- Spend Less: For me the holidays got a little crazy with spending this year. Not only was it all of the gift giving for others, but a strong desire for stuff for myself. Not to mention my ass got kicked by a lot of unexpected expenses/bills. Thus for January I am going to be very aware of my spending habits. This ties back nicely to my two goals above. If I am not drinking and eating out as often (Thank you Whole 30) and I am not bringing none necessities into my home it should help me pair down expenses. It will also help me think outside of the box on ways to hang out with friends and be social. Instead of the typical happy hour and dinner with friends I am going to try to plan a hike and do a homemade brunch with my girlfriends.
- Nurture my Home: Lastly all of these goals will lead to me spending more time at home. I want to clean, organize, and spend time loving my place. Nothing beats quality time reading, cooking, writing, and entertaining more in the space I love so dearly.
I am curious to know how others feel about New Year Resolutions and what goals you are setting for yourself? Either way, Happy New Year and hope everyone is kicking some 2017 butt already.