For many, the holidays are a special time to connect with family, take stock in what really matters to you, and think about our goals for the following year. Which brings me to the topic at large: What happened to last year’s resolution?
Whether you actually did manage to go a whole year without drinking a latte every day or you stuck to that new organizing routine, many of us tend to like a fresh start at the new year, and we don’t often choose to ruminate over last year’s goals. The question is, why not?
Why DON’T we revisit our old resolutions? I’d like to propose a little exercise here. If you did manage to write last year’s resolution down, this will be a great exercise in self-reflection. And if you didn’t – think about doing it this year and then bookmark this blog to come back to in 2019.
What did you learn?
Think about your resolution from last year. How did it go? Whether you failed miserably or managed to make your new habit a part of your lifestyle, much can be learned from those experiences.
Ask yourself questions about what worked for you and what didn’t. If the resolution was successful but only temporarily, consider why it fell off your life map. Perhaps you had a lifestyle change and just forgot, or maybe that resolution wasn’t really serving you anymore. Whatever the reason, taking something away from the experience is, in some ways, the whole point of having a resolution in the first place. Remember: the hardest and best part of challenging yourself to be “better” is actually taking the time to learn something new in the process.
If you didn’t manage to complete your resolution to your satisfaction, here are some tips to get you going for 2018.
Live and let go
For many, part of starting a new habit involves spending money on products that they feel will make the project more successful. As organizers, we’ve seen those products associated with “failed” resolutions clog up our clients homes and minds. If for whatever reason, your resolution was not successful and you now have a guilty reminder hounding you ever time you go into the basement (I’m looking at you, stationery bike), keep in mind that letting it go may free you up to embrace a new way of obtaining that goal. If anything, it will allow you move past the goal and onto another one.
Do it for Yourself
Since proclaiming our resolutions can be a conversation starter, many people feel obliged to think of one, but not because they really want to do it. This can be harmful to our ability to believe that we can be successful at setting and achieving goals. Done without planning, care and actual motivation, unsuccessful resolutions can make a person feel as though they just “aren’t good at” that thing. Usually this isn’t true at all.
Creating habits isn’t about mandatorily picking something because everyone else is doing it. You have to truly want to make it a resolution in order to follow through with it (and even then, it still takes years to successfully engrain a new habit!). So here’s a little PSA: you can start a new habit ANY TIME you like. It absolutely does not have to be New Years. Follow-through on a habit is much more relevant to its success than what time of year you started it. If you do feel ready to set the goal this week, here are some more ideas for getting started.
Take Advantage of Accountability
There are lots of great habit building apps out there, like Good Habits (for iOS) and Fabulous (for Android). The web app 21 Habit is also worth mentioning: this app invites you to pledge $21, representing 21 days of enforcing that habit. Every day you complete the goal, you get a $1 back. If you don’t, it goes to a charity of your choice. Talk about accountability! You can also invite a friend to help be an accountability partner, or involve your significant other and family. You will be more successful if you are able to share your new goal with at least one other person.
Just remember that in order to truly have a successful resolution, you must set your sights on learning something new, starting fresh, and doing it for yourself – not for anyone else.