The New Year always feels like a fresh start to me. Whatever happened last year doesn’t matter because come January 1st, you can start over. Now if you’re like me, the New Year comes with a laundry list of resolutions. Resolutions most people forget about by the end of January. I know I have had the same three things on my list for at least the last five years: get in shape, read twenty-five books and learn Italian.
The new year makes me come alive, like I have permission to change the things in my life that aren’t working. But, my resolutions were so impersonal and lack-luster. They didn’t do justice to the excitement and drive to change I was feeling. Last year I tried something different. And guess what? Instead of ending the year feeling crappy, like I hadn’t done anything and just wasted another year of my life, I felt accomplished. I felt like I had really worked on my resolutions and made myself a better person in the process. I could actually see the work I put in and the progress I made! Here’s the plan to get you to actually stick to your resolutions and feel good about the progress you’ll make throughout this next year.
Step 1: Get Emotional
Forget about the things you should put on your resolution list, you’ll just end up with a whole list of things that you aren’t invested in. Instead think about your emotions. Close your eyes, take a deep breath. Now, how do you want to feel in 2015? Pick a couple of feelings that really resonate with you (no more than three) and make those the focus of the next year. Try on a few, say them out loud. If you don’t feel that pull in your gut or get energized while saying it, it’s not the right fit. You’ve got to feel it or it won’t stick. Remember, this isn’t about who you “should” be. This is about your heart, your true nature, what you were always meant to be before society’s views got in the way. How does that girl want to feel this year?
My focus feelings for 2015 are Fearless and Surrender. I plan to spend the last year of my twenties going out with a bang! Once you have chosen your sought after feelings for the year, go deeper. What do these feelings mean to you specifically, not the dictionary definition (although this can be helpful), but how would it look or feel if you embodied this particular emotion?
Step 2: List It
You have chosen your focus feelings. Now for each feeling make a list of all of the tangible actions and steps you can take to help you feel this way. These do not all have to be huge steps to take, make it a range, baby steps to the big whammy! Think of as many as you can. Get creative. Use your imagination.
Now it’s time to track your progress. Everyday choose one action step from your list for each of the emotions you’ve chosen. Some days things will come up naturally that weren’t on your list. Great! Add those too. Use a calendar to keep track of what action steps you took that week. Give yourself a gold star (figuratively or literally, but really who doesn’t love glittery stars?) for every day that you’ve worked toward your goal. At the end of each month reflect on all of the different actions you took.
Make a goal that you’ll complete so many days each month and if you reach it, reward yourself! You’ve earned it! Keep your charts tucked away so when 2015 comes to a close, you will be able to see all of the leaps and bounds you’ve made to improve yourself.
Step 4: Use the Buddy System
It’s always more fun to work on your goals with a friend. Plus you have the added bonus of an accountability buddy. Encourage each other, bounce action step ideas off each other. Send encouraging quotes that coincide with their chosen feelings. Be supportive. Besides, if you’re sending positive energy their way, it’s going to boomerang right back to you!
I’ve included a few worksheets to help you get started.
Happy New Year! Let me know what you’ll be working on this year.