Instead of Resolutions

New Year, New You!

Do you roll your eyes every time you hear this cliché?

I absolutely love the process of making resolutions at any time of year, but I’m not a huge fan of deciding to become a new person on January 1st for a variety of reasons. First of all, it’s a really tough time of year!!! It’s dark and uninspiring with a ton of social pressures. We don’t need the added pressure of resolving to do an intense cardio workout at 6 a.m. 5 days a week.

So what do I love about it?

I love the process of reflection and continued improvement. Here are some things I do instead…

Wins, Gratitude, successes, loves, appreciations, funny moments:
Write down things that have gone well in the past year.

At the top of the page write, “I am so happy and grateful now that I…” and write all the things you wish to see come in to your life. Often the issue is that traditional resolutions like “Get back in shape” keep us distracted from the true goal in that process. I find when I write a manifesting list my mind goes more towards intangible items like, “I am so happy and grateful now that I feel healthy and vital.” This helps me to carve a clearer path of fitness than simply deciding to “get in shape,” whatever that means. (A friend always use to say, “I am in shape. Round is a shape.”) And YES you can write down things you already have that you simply want to continue or have more of.

Continue to do:
On that note, why not write a list of previous changes that you want to keep doing! Give yourself some credit and reaffirm your desire to keep doing what’s already working. This will help you to keep doing these things even if other resolutions or pressures attempt to change your priorities.

To quote Gretchin Rubin, “Things that can be done at any time, get done at no time at all.” (By the way, I highly recommend any of her books to help you better tackle any kind of resolution or habit change. I would start with The Four Tendencies – there is even a personality quiz!
So what goes on a task list? Things that I have been meaning to do, but have no pressure to do them. A book I really want to read. A junk drawer I want to clear out. Go skating. Low stress, worthwhile tasks that you might have gotten around to anyways, but now you’ll be more likely to do them since you have the small amount of pressure from simply writing them down. BONUS: you’ll have a sense of achievement when you cross them off your list and the added benefit of feeling the momentum that comes from completing something.

Look at your inner and outer resources to determine your
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats/Challenges.
I like this model because it can bring a sense of balance and a dose of reality. You may not have the right strengths, but perhaps you have the opportunity to ask for help. Maybe you want to get in to a new routine, but identifying that one of your challenges is working shift or having ton of medical appointments can help you to set more realistic goals that fit with your lifestyle. This opens the scope of how many factors you take in to consideration when making resultions.

Are there things that you feel you really ought to be doing, but deep down you know you never will? In “A Return to Love,” Marianne Williamson shares a story of a woman who has tried dieting for ages with no success so she prays, “Dear God, I don’t care if I am fat, just take this monkey off my back.” So I make what I call a Monkey List of all the monkeys I would like taken off my back. Research shows that identifying with our “ought self” can decrease depression, motivation and success. This sense of self includes often unrealistic or inappropriate (Check out more in this podcast with Andrew Huberman .)
Never going to be a gym rat? Put in on the list of things you don’t want to worry about and get it off your back. By writing it down, you may also find that you start thinking about it and consider alternative options that are better aligned with your values and priorities.

Schedule something: Is there something you really want to do this coming year? Put it on the schedule NOW! Book a trip, sign up for a class, pencil it in your dayplanner etc. You have the whole year ahead of you and planning now, means it’s more likely that you will do it.

And remember, that you always have the option to do nothing! You can resolve to do things on any day, on your birthday, on someone else’s birthday, on February 29th – any time or no time at all. Take the pressure off the whole situation!

Good luck with being your best self 🙂

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