When I was a little girl, my dad would give me a pen and paper and we would sit down in our living room to write down my new year resolutions. One resolution I made every year was that I would stop being so chatty in class because well, I LOVED to talk. I talked so much that after every parent teacher conference my dad would tell me that my teachers loved me “BUT,” he would mimic, “she cannot stop talking.” After winter break, I was ready to be the quietest child in the room. I tried so hard and replaced my chatting with wide eyes and deep breaths because I REALLY wanted to talk. And then one or two days later, there I was interrupting my teacher and talking to my classroom bestie again feeling like I could breathe again.
A couple of months later my dad would come home from parent teacher conferences and we were having the same conversation we’ve had since kindergarten. “Pamela, you’re doing great in school but you have to stop distracting other kids in class.” “Okay, papi. I’m sorry. I’ll try my best.” I tried my best but over and over again but I just couldn’t stop talking.
Each year, I revisit this ritual of creating resolutions for the new year for myself. Throughout the years, my approach has changed and in the last year I have a new way of approaching New Year resolutions.
At the beginning of each school year, I’ve asked my students to engage in creating resolutions for the new year. Usually the prompt asks them to state something they would like to learn this year, something they want to learn or get better at and finally, one academic goal. Most years, I’ve had them set these goals, write them down and we have displayed them outside on the bulletin board for everybody to see. I could not tell you what my students accomplished with their New Year resolutions because once they’re set and hung up on the wall for people to see, I have not always revisited their goals with them.
That brings me to one of the most common patterns I’ve experienced with New Year resolution. We set them and most of the time, we just forget them. In light of this pattern, memes like the following have appeared…
To be honest, they crack me up. Like, I’ve read these on my phone and have laughed so hard that I slap my knee and the knee of whoever is next to me. Yes, I hit others when I laugh. It’s a problem.
I don’t want people to be discouraged because as funny as these memes are, I don’t believe in them. I believe in setting goals for ourselves and I believe that the new year is a perfect time to rejuvenate, reenergize and reflect. You won’t be a new you but I do think you can be a better you. For a lot of us, the holidays means spending time with loved ones that energize us and make us feel our best. It’s a time where some of us indulge in food, experiences and travel that we don’t always get to enjoy so why not also use this time to set some goals for ourselves?
At the beginning of 2018, I tried something I little different. I still wrote a general list of what I wanted to accomplish for the year but I had one overarching goal. My main goal was to practice discipline and monthly goal-setting and reflection. At the end of each month, I sat down and reflected on what I accomplished and set goals for the next month of what I wanted to accomplish and continue in the new month. Before I moved out of my apartment, I had a visual of the goals I accomplished each month.
My goal was to develop and grow as a person. My goal was to make sure that I was investing in my goals so much that they became habit and a part of me. Since the beginning of last year, I always have a book I’m reading although this upcoming year, I want to be better about prioritizing reading. This year, I am so much better at sitting down to write and putting what I write out there. The goal is to create a continuous year of growth and reflection. I hope the guide helps!
Guide to Setting New Year Resolution and actually sticking to it.
- At the beginning of 2019 create a general list of everything you would like to accomplish this year(hobbies you want to continue, health and fitness goals, professional and personal development goals, traveling goals, writing goals, new things you would like to try)
- The next day, sit down and set goals for the month of January that you can focus on and prioritize. I would usually set 3 goals for the month. If you would like, set a SMART goal. Use my friend’s Nia’s blog post on setting SMART goals to do this (SMART Goals) This is extremely helpful because it helped me get invested each month.
Ex) My priority this month will be reading, exercising and skiing. I am going to read two books by the end of the month. I am going to schedule and attend at least 3 work outs for each week of January. I am going to go skiing at least two times this month and continue practicing!
- At the end of the month, sit down and reflect on what you accomplished. Display it somewhere if you like visuals. Ask yourself: What did I accomplish this month? You can stick to your priority goals but you can also add something you were grateful for like an unexpected trip somewhere or visit. If you did not reach your goal, you can adjust for the new month or write down why it was difficult to reach.
- Create 1-2 new priority goals for the next month.Your priority can stay the same as the last if you are not feeling like its complete habit yet.
Ex) I’m going to continue to read at least one book a month. I will continue working out three times a week. I will continue skiing at least twice a week. This month, I am going to practice cooking new healthy recipes.
- Continue going through these steps each month.