The headlines are pretty grim:
“It takes 32 days for the average person to break New Year’s Resolutions” (New York Post Jan. 2020).
“80% of people report abandoning their resolutions by February” (CNN Dec. 2021)
“Two-Thirds of people quit new resolutions with the first month” (Psych New Daily Dec. 2021)
Not very encouraging for people hoping to jump start healthy habits and improved wellness at the beginning of the year.
There is a plethora of articles, books, and resources all describing great resolutions and goals and how to achieve them. The challenge comes in figuring out which types of goals work for you, and sticking to the process until you do.
Research shows that most people set goals that are too big and too far out into the future. We imagine ourselves next December as healthy, fit, and strong. But when it comes to actually doing to work, we don’t have reasonable benchmarks to get us there.
I have a two-fold approach to new years resolutions. First, I pick a word of the year. This word is not a goal but an intention, a reminder of what to focus on for the year. It’s an underlying sense or energy to consider when planning and making decisions. My 2022 word is Vitality. Strange word of intention for the year, but hear me out. One of my favorite non-fiction books is Essentialism by Greg Mckeown; he states that “the essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many.” For some reason, this concept of ‘vital few’ has really stuck with me.
In 2022, I want to be less hurried and busy, more intentional with my time and energy. To do so, I am going to focus on what contributes to my vitality, which is the state of being strong and active. Projects, lists, activities, and other demands that don’t contribute to my vitality will be considered for elimination.
The second part of my new years resolutions are quarterly and monthly goals. In fact they aren’t even goals, but more like bullet points and projects I want to focus on. In January, I take my calendar and make a list of things I want to accomplish each month and quarter. I list books that I want to read, closets I want to clean out, events I want to plan. This process helps me stay on track when getting projects done, as well as plan ahead to manage my time.
As an example, my January list includes decluttering the kitchen, intentionally planning our summer camping and kids activities, planning our 2022 financial goals with my husband, and reading Bene Brown’s new book, Atlas of the Heart. My list includes both family and household obligations as well as something I want to learn and pursue.
Though it’s almost February, it’s not too late to think about resolutions and goals. I encourage you to dream big, but start small. Try a quarterly or monthly list of things you want to focus your energy on. The small things add up to big things by the end of the year, so get started in the right direction.
How do you set resolutions and goals?