January feels like the perfect time to practice mindfulness and find new ways of healing.
At the beginning of every new year, millions of people reflect on their accomplishments, difficulties, and things they didn’t get quite right in the past 365 days. Traditionally people come up with resolutions or goals to work toward in the coming year to improve some area of their life. While we always encourage enhancing the quality of your well-being, it's also important to remember that you are still the same amazing you. With that in mind, here are a few tips to consider as you seek improvement and healing in the new year.
Limit Your Resolutions
When implementing new lifestyle changes, it is important to start with one or two goals as opposed to several. By limiting yourself in the beginning, you will not feel so overwhelmed, have more time to focus on your resolutions, and will be more likely to succeed. Out of all the goals you have for yourself this year, which one or two are most important?
You can set yourself up for success by having realistic expectations. With each resolution, it is important to set goals you know are possible. If your resolution is to get healthier, it is not realistic to lose 20 pounds each month. Instead, set a goal to eat a vegetable with every meal. If your resolution is to read more, don't try for 100 books in a year. Instead, set a goal of reading for 20 minutes per day.
Make a Plan
Lay out a plan that will work for you. Scheduling time to work on your resolution can keep you accountable. If your goal is to exercise four times per week, planning ahead on what days and times you can go to the gym can keep you on track to accomplishing your new year resolution. If your goal is to save money for a vacation, calculate how much money you would need to save (long-term goal) and how much money you can put into savings each month (short-term goal). Whatever your resolution, define what your long-term objective is and give yourself milestones that you can meet along the way. This will help track your progress as well as give you a positivity boost each time you reach a small goal.
Another part of creating a good plan is accounting for setbacks. With any lifestyle change, success does not come easy. It needs to be worked on continuously. That being said, it is not realistic to accomplish all of our goals all of the time. The important thing to remember is that it is okay to have setbacks. It’s how we respond to setbacks that define our success. There will be times when you are unable to make it to the gym four days out of a given week. There will be a month or two when you are not able to save as much money as you want for that vacation. When you do experience a setback, try to get back on track as soon as you can. No need to overcompensate by trying to make up for what you missed. That will likely lead to burnout. Instead, give yourself a little wiggle room in your initial plan so that a hitch in the road won't set you back too far on your journey.
Include the Family
If you want to make changes, why not involve everyone? When each member of the family can share their personal and family-wide resolutions, it sends the message that goals are important and that you are willing to help support each other while working on goals.
Children are reflective little beings – they’re philosophical (especially before bed) and enjoy being included in family discussions. By helping them identify their own resolutions, you are helping increase their ability to stay motivated, be intentional with their time and effort, and develop a sense of growth in life. Make sure to communicate that there is a difference between changing who you are and working on improving yourself. We love betterment, but we also love self-esteem and confidence!
Here are some ways to include the whole family in setting good intentions for the new year:
- Make a family vision board! Let each person within the family share something they would like to do as a family – within reason – and browse through magazines or print out pictures to represent each person’s idea.
- Ask everyone (yourself included) what their favorite memories were from the previous year in order to reflect on what is most important. Create time for that in the new year – don’t fix what isn’t broken!
- When thinking of goals, make sure they are both achievable and measurable to set everyone up for success. For example, instead of setting a goal of “prioritize school” consider something more specific such as “read for 90 minutes every week.”
- Try to partner with your kids to make it even more about connection than achievement. For example, if your child wants to try a new sport, include yourself in the goal by committing to help them practice or set up a schedule for practice times. New year resolutions can be a great way to have some fun with the family while also improving your life.
Celebrate Small Wins
A great way to build motivation for your resolution is to reinforce small successes. What is a small thing that you can do for yourself to reward your success after each month or each milestone you hit? Perhaps treating yourself to dinner at a restaurant or going out for ice cream can help reinforce success moving forward. Be creative and choose something that will keep you motivated to accomplish your weekly and monthly goals. Plan rewards that excite you and keep it interesting for yourself.
Let's start the new year off with positivity. Manifest good energy and encourage growth in yourself and those around you. And always remember, you don't have to go it alone.