New Year’s resolutions come with such a lofty weight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about dreaming big and setting high expectations for yourself whether it be in your personal or professional life. However, starting the New Year with resolutions that are not attainable will only set you up for frustration and disappointment. Even worse, the wrong approach to resolutions may actually hinder you from accomplishing the real objectives you have for yourself and the next year of your life.
We’re now about halfway through January (wow!), how are your 2015 resolutions going so far?
Have you already strayed from the resolutions you set for yourself at the beginning of the year?
It’s not too late to accomplish your ambitions! While a new year is a benchmark time to set new goals for yourself and your life, you can do this anytime. Each day is an opportunity to start fresh and new.
My 3 tips to attainable New Year’s resolutions are not rocket science or some be-all-end-all solution. In fact, they’re fairly simple. Perhaps they will make you think about your aspirations for 2015 a little differently, and maybe 2015 will be the year you re-think your resolutions and actually achieve them!
1. START WITH SMALL STRIDES
You’re not going to attain your resolutions immediately, all at once, or even with one attempt. Actually accomplishing your aspirations takes time, planning, and starting with small strides. State your goals – bring them out of your mind and into existence. Sometimes simply declaring or asking for what we want for ourselves or our lives can be the hardest step. If you’re a list-maker like me, write them down, or just say them out loud and discuss them with a friend, family member, or partner. Once you’ve established what you aim to achieve in 2015, identify the first step to attaining each resolution. Not all five, ten, twenty steps it may or may not take. Begin with just the first step. When you start with small strides, it makes your resolutions manageable and more realistic to attain. After you’ve completed that initial step, repeat this process for step two and three and so on.
2. DO EVERYTHING IN MODERATION
“Do everything in moderation” is a method my mom aims to employ in every facet of her life. It’s a method she has instilled in me. When you actually approach all aspects of your life with this motto, it can truly make you a more well-rounded, fulfilled, and healthy person. There is too much of a good thing (and a bad thing at that). This year, instead of attempting to make drastic or extreme modifications to your life, try to do everything in moderation. Instead of proclaiming you’re going to – go to the gym seven days a week… cut all carbs from your diet… write a blog post every day… stop watching TV – make your resolutions more attainable with moderation: I’m going to go to the gym one more day each week… cut carbs from my diet on Wednesdays… write a blog post every other day… stop watching TV on Sundays. Yes, this may require you to reassess the goals you established in step one. Who said you couldn’t modify your resolutions? They’re not set in stone and can evolve as you do. The idea of doing everything in moderation really goes hand in hand with taking small strides. Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re the tortoise not the hare. You have 365 days to slowly, steadily, methodically attain your resolutions.
3. REFLECT ON YOUR PROGRESS
I already talked a bit about reflection in my last post of 2014. I believe when used in a positive and productive manner, reflection is a key part of success. As we move forward and as we begin to attain our resolutions, we often lose sight of where we started and how far we’ve really come. We start focusing on what’s next and wanting more. This is why it’s important to stop and acknowledge the small successes, the steps that got you there, the progress made before the ultimate goal is achieved. It goes back to step one – small strides. While it would be ideal to accomplish every resolution you set forth for 2015, you might not. Even if you don’t attain a resolution in its entirety, it’s worth celebrating the progress you made toward that goal.
MY 2015 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
I wanted to share a few of my aspirations for 2015 and how I aim to apply these 3 tips to make attainable resolutions to my own goals for the New Year.
1. Write at least one poem each month.
Most of you know me as a writer and blogger, but I’m also a poet. Poetry has been a more abstract way for me to express myself since my teens. Up until 2014, I used to write roughly 20-40 poems each year. When I began my career as a freelance writer and blogger, my poetry fell further and further behind my other writing obligations. In September, I completely lost this integral part of my life. So, in 2015 I want to return to my poetry by starting with one poem this month and each month after.
UPDATE: I’ve got the bare bones of two poems with the working title “The Girl With No Face” inspired by two girls who sat next to me on the subway.
2. Spend time with a girlfriend at least once each month.
Graduating college was a huge turning point for me and my girlfriends. I moved to Wisconsin and my best girls moved to Texas, Louisiana, Florida, New York, and Georgia. While I connected with some amazing fellow bloggers in Wisconsin, I can honestly say I did not make a close girlfriend in the three years I lived there. Most of the time this didn’t bother me. I never really considered myself a girl’s girl. I’ve always had a very small circle of girlfriends and a great number of guy friends. However, three years without girl’s nights, friendly closet raids, and good old fashion chats over coffee gave me an amazing appreciation for my girlfriends. In the New Year, I not only hope to make a new girlfriend in my new city, New York, but also enhance the time I spend with my girlfriends around the country.
UPDATE: I’ve got plans with not one, not two, but FIVE girlfriends in the next couple weeks! Maybe I need to reassess this goal and up the ante!
3. Read at least four books in their entirety.
It’s sad to say that I maybe read two books cover to cover in 2014. I’m also ashamed to admit I’m one of those who has a bad habit of starting a book and not finishing it. Reading is an integral part of being a writer, and if I’m being completely honest with myself (and you), I don’t read nearly enough. This month I’ll be picking up my first book of 2015 and aim to be finishing it and starting my second by March.
UPDATE: I’m two-thirds of the way through an amazing book that has been on my shelf for years – The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. I intend to write reviews for the books I read in 2015, but for this particular publication I’m developing a series for the blog!
4. Take at least one dance class each month.
Dance was a major part of my life and identity from age three to twenty-three. When I graduated from college, I replaced dance with Pilates and yoga. While I love these practices, they are not and will never be dance. Yes, it is difficult to find adult dance classes, but now that I live in New York City, I no longer have an excuse. Booking a class in January will be step one!
UPDATE: I’m fortunate to have received a gift certificate to a local dance studio from two of my friends as a birthday present – step one is done!
5. Buy and learn to operate a serious camera.
Photography – both photographing and being photographed – are two of my biggest struggles as a blogger. I’ve avoided photography whenever possible in my first year of blogging and relied on my talented photographer friends when photography was unavoidable. In 2015 I want to face my fear of photography head-on by vowing to purchase my first camera and learn how to use it. Buying a camera is a big investment in time and money, so I know that attaining this resolution will require some discipline on my part (namely curbing my shopping habit). However, I know the long term benefits it will have for me and my blog and believe I’m up for this challenge in the New Year!
UPDATE: So far, January has been a very successful month for my freelance writing and styling business. After spending a lot on the move to NYC and the holidays, it feels amazing to be back in a place of prosperity! I’m developing an attainable system to set aside a certain percentage of my income to put toward a camera.