Welp it’s getting to that lovely time of the year where we spend a night out with our friends, get a little (holy shit a lot) out of control, and then pretend everything’s gonna change for the better as soon as that big shiny ball drops and a new year begins.
Yeah, sure. If you say so I guess.
To those of you who’ve laid out this insanely long list of New Year’s Resolutions, who throw out that #newyear #newme bullshit, and who waited two whole months to decide to go to the gym instead of just going now; I have some spoilers: none of it will work. You’ve put too much pressure on yourself to completely turn your life around, and it’s not gonna happen cause that’s not how life works. And this is coming from someone who barely has two decades of experience under her belt (me!).
Story time: when I was 17 New Years kind of snuck up on me, and I basically forgot to make resolutions until the day of. It honestly didn’t cross my mind until a friend brought up hers. So when she asked me what my goals were for the year, I did a quick little assessment and thought “hmm, I kinda want whiter teeth. So I guess I won’t drink dark sodas anymore.”
And that was my goal. One thing. Pretty simple. Don’t drink dark soda.
And you know what, it’s been three years and I’ve basically cut soda out of my diet entirely. Sure, I splurge every now and then and get a Dr. Pepper (my dark soda kryptonite) when I go out to dinner; but for the most part it’s gone. And that didn’t happen initially. When I was 17 I was playing three sports all year long and every single away game ended up at a McDonald’s or a In-n-Out, and that meant every meal came with a soda. But I stuck with Sprite. And then a few months later when it was Softball season I decided to take it a step further and drink lemonade (I now realize that this wasn’t actually a healthier choice, but back then I thought it was so I’m calling it a win!) and finally it got to the point where I’d just ask for a water cup. Boom! Healthy and money saving!
That whole thing really made me reevaluate the way I make goals, so this is what I do now:
1. I start with what I want (not just for this new year, but with life in general)
2. I take that broad idea and I make two or three specific goals that can directly help me achieve that. (I decided now that I’m a sort of grownup I can handle three goals instead of just the one)
3. I write them down. Not only does this help me remember them, it helps remind me when slip up (which I do…a lot)
4. I give myself time to do them. I don’t force them all on myself at once. Baby steps!
5. I do this multiple times a year. I should probably do it more often, but at the very least three times a year I give myself a look over and try to make a change for the better.
My friend James has a policy that he tries to live every day in a way that he can say when he lies back down at night, “I’m better than when I got up this morning”. James is also a priceless specimen of human awesomeness, which means I’m nowhere near this kind of level. Instead of thinking that way day to day, I try and apply it to my month and/or year. Because sometimes being absolutely perfect and goal oriented isn’t as much fun as going out on New Year’s Eve and making a shit ton of mistakes.
Basically what I’m saying is that goals are amazing and you should definitely look to improve yourself, but also cutting yourself some slack and improving in baby steps is a better option than expecting perfection and then quitting once you realize that’s not possible(seriously, going from living life on the couch to working out six times a week isn’t something you’ll be able to do. We can’t all be a James right away)
Have a spectacular New Year and feel free to drop a comment on how you keep your goals (like I said, only two decades of experience over here. Lots to work on!)