Here we are greeting another January, and if you are like most people, you find yourself making the annual New Year’s Resolutions. When we ask our friends and families what they have on the horizon for the New Year, they share their resolutions with us, or they share their goals or desires for the coming year. Maybe they come up with something we were not thinking about, and we wonder if what they share may be a good fit for our lives. We may then make the decision to start our own list of New Year’s Resolutions.
What does your 2019 list look like? Lose weight, eat healthier, save more and spend less, spend more time with family and friends, get a new job, go back to school, write that book? The options are endless. And no matter how hard we try, we can all fall into the resolution trap. And no matter how much harder we try, if we are honest with ourselves, before the end of the first quarter, many of us have forgotten what our resolutions were and those lists we made are nowhere to be found.
Several years ago, I made the conscious decision to NEVER make another resolution for the New Year. After years and years of disappointing myself and years and years of not losing the weight, not saving the money, not changing my eating habits–you know how it works–I got fed up and realized that I needed to do something different, something that would work for me. I figured out that I was just not a resolution person. I decided that resolutions were not a good fit for me.
I agree with the concept of creating new traditions or goals for the New Year. The start of the year is an exciting time to begin something new. January is a wonderful time to restart the timer and work on getting things accomplished. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, January is derived from Janus, an ancient Roman god who was defined as the god of doorways and gates as well as the god of beginning. So how apropos that January is a time to start new journeys and adventures?! But there are some practical things you can do to make the new year a new start—even without the list of resolutions.
Instead of making resolutions, look through your journal(s) or back to your vision boards to see where you were the previous January. What were your thoughts, your goals, your dreams, your aspirations? What did you want to achieve, what did you want to accomplish, what did you want to do with your life? Reflect on what you have done and what you may not have done 11-12 months later. If you made a vision board in January, review the vision board to see what visions have manifested and what visions you need to continue to work to manifest. This is the foundation for a plan for the new year.
This period of reflection can help you to focus on results instead of resolutions. Looking back over your achievements and accomplishments can help you to put things in better perspective instead of the pressure that often comes when achieving or not achieving resolutions. By focusing on results, you will be able to celebrate your success and concentrate on creating more successful accomplishments in life. Results over resolutions should become your focus.
So how do you focus on results instead of resolutions?
- It all begins in your mind. Results have more of a positive connotation. When you focus on what is positive, you are more encouraged to work on those things. Make sure that your mind is focused on the positive and focused on results.
- Have an honest period of reflection about what you want to do and what you can realistically accomplish. We often take on more than we can realistically handle, which leads to not being able to make much progress. If you know that you have a hectic schedule already, DO NOT add anything to that schedule without first eliminating something else. Do not add more to your life than you can realistically handle. This will prevent burnout and stress. This will also help you achieve the results you are looking for.
- Don’t wait until January 7th (or any magical day) to start. Results can happen immediately as soon as you make up your mind to do something. If working out is what you want to add to your life, start now;, this will remove some of the resolution stigma, and you will have results as soon as you get started. With results, the sooner you start, the sooner you will see progress.
- Keep the end in mind. There is a reason that you have decided to do some new things and change some things up in your life. Remember why those changes were important to you and keep them in mind as you take the necessary steps to achieve your goals. Never forget why you started.
- Do not get sidetracked. Life happens, things happen, and when they do, it is not the thing that stops you, it is your ability to recover. If you get off track, start again, keep moving and most importantly do not become discouraged. Go back and revisit #4. Don’t let anything or anyone keep you from living the life you deserve.
Think about the last few resolutions you made. How many of them were successful? How many of those resolutions did you realize? Hopefully, the answer was all of them. If not, understand that at the end of the day, you are not bound to make any resolutions at all. However, no movement toward your goals and dreams means no progress which equals stagnation and that’s not good. So, if resolutions did not work for you in the past, in 2019 start looking at creating results.
As we move into this new year, begin with a new mindset. If resolutions work for you, great! I wish you all the happiness and success in meeting those resolutions. If resolutions have not worked for you, I encourage you to try to work toward creating results in your life. Allow yourself the space to celebrate your success and to work as hard as you can on achieving your goals and living the life you deserve in 2019! The world is waiting on your results!
Sharice Bradford, Ed.D., is a life strategist. She can be reached @drsharice.org