In my "Year of Healing" post, I talked a little bit about why I'm not technically a "New Years Resolution" person and what I do instead of deciding on a handful of resolutions. A resolution by definition is " the firm decision to do or not do something". I personally don't really like being told what to do or not do, even if I'm the one making those calls. I internally put too much pressure on myself which stresses me out and ultimately leads to noncompliance. I have a feeling I'm not alone in that general scenario either.
While I believe that EVERYDAY is good day to start making changes, there is something special about establishing new habits or goals as we enter the new year. Entering a new year can be significant for a lot of people. For many, the holidays are not always a joyful and happy occasion. Planning and traveling can be stressful, the pressure to provide for our loved ones can be overwhelming and old traditions can make us miss loved ones who are far away or who` have passed. As we enter a brand new year, open a new calendar and begin writing a whole new date it can feel a bit like we have the chance to be cleansed and start anew.
Here are 3 action steps you can choose from, instead of making "resolutions", to set yourself up for a happy, healthy and successful year.
1.) Pick one word, phrase or affirmation to guide you
Choose one word, phrase or affirmation you can easily remember and try to let it guide you in your actions and decisions. This could be something used to help keep you focused on a larger goal you wish to achieve. I really like phrases or affirmations because I think it provides us with a more specific action to focus on. So for example, if you're having a hard time putting your needs before the needs of everybody else (maybe your kids, your spouse, your employer, etc.) your phrase could be "help myself so I can help others" or "My personal needs matter." You could also team up that phrase with a word like "strength" to keep you focused on having the strength to take care of yourself first.
2.) Set one smaller, specific goal and focus on that
Instead of writing a laundry list of super vague goals like "I will be healthier", set smaller, more specific goals that will help you more in the long run. Let's say you wanted to handle stress a lot better in the upcoming year. Saying "this year I'm not going to let stress effect me so much", isn't going to get you anywhere. You need to be specific as to how you're not going to let stress effect you so much. So instead you might set a smaller goal like "I'm going to practice deep breathing and meditation for 10 minutes every night before bed." If you wanted to become more physically active instead of saying "I'm going to start exercising more", try starting with a smaller goal like "I'm going to attend 1 yoga class a week." Overtime you will (without even thinking about it) develop a life long practice for handling stress efficiently or maintaining activity.
3.) Set a theme for your year
This one has been my favorite so far. I really enjoy picking a theme because I like how it guides me in making plans and decisions while still allowing a lot of freedom to adjust accordingly. As I went through my "Year of Healing" I could make plans and decisions with the question "does this contribute to healing my colitis?" in mind. This really helped me when making hard decisions about which food and drinks to abstain from, how much work to put on my plate (no pun intended) and how much activity I should allow myself (because sometimes I just go to hard and require boundries!) As I set myself up for my "Year of Connection", I can already see myself committing to opportunities (that I may have previously avoided) because I know it will contribute to my efforts in connecting with others. I also plan to piggy back these themes. Just because this year is coming to an end, I don't plan to stop "healing". Being conscious about whether something is contributing to my health or hindering it is something I want to take with me the rest of my life.
As you begin to write down goals, resolutions or themes, really take some time and think deeply about what you want to accomplish in the year ahead and what will work best for you to help you achieve these goals. Something I'm kind of a fan of is taking personality tests to help me gain a little more understanding about my tendencies and how I operate. I by no means think these quizzes are the final word on what your exact personality is but I do think it's helpful for us to explore more about why we are the way we are! I'll link below to a couple of personality quizzes that I like. I hope you find some guidance in these tips and I wish you all a very Happy New Year!