Last night my mom called, and while on speaker phone talking to my son, she said, "Emmett, what New Year's Resolutions are you making this year?"
I piped in with, "Statistic show that New Year's Resolutions don't work, mom. The average resolution lasts 23 days, and then goes to shit, and then we return to our old habits."
"But, it's still a good exercise for one to reflect and create and plan," she replied.
I scoffed, because obviously I know better (after all, this is a huge part of my business, right?? Helping people create healthy habits, that have long-lasting impact), but then I woke up this morning and realized that she was, as usual, 100% correct.
Because it is a good exercise. Because taking time for closure and renewal is important. Because dreaming and visioning is a vital part of creating a life worth living to its fullest. If we don't dream, what is there to expand into? If we don't set the bar, what is there to aspire to?
Will we achieve all our goals? Will we become the radically new people we secretly hope we will become every year on this day? No. We absolutely will not, and we already know this. But we can expand and grow; we can dream into a greater vision, and when we lose our way, we can return to that vision for recalibration and motivation.
So, if you, like me, didn't do much about this whole New Year's Resolution thing, and are sitting here on New Year's Day thinking, "Huh, I should maybe do something about this," here's an exercise:
- Reflect. Too often we decide to radically change everything without looking at what's gone right. So spend a few minutes, however you choose, whether in a journal, or in a list, or just in your head, reflecting on all of your accomplishments of 2016. Did you start a new job? Did your kid have a milestone worth celebrating? Honor these accomplishments. Lean into them. Chances are, you accomplished more than you even realize. Give yourself time with this.
- Offer gratitude. When you've listed all your amazing accomplishments, take a minute to offer gratitude, to God, to yourself, to the Universe, whatever you believe in. When we practice gratitude, we connect more deeply with our experiences.
- Plan. Look at different areas of your life, and rate your current level of satisfaction: motherhood, relationship, career, health, finances, fun, personal growth, and anything else you can think of. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied or fulfilled are you in each area? For those that are lower, what ONE THING could you do to improve? Don't make it radical or too far reaching. Just one small step to set you off in the right direction.
- Act. Now that you have a couple of small steps to take, commit to putting them into action by actually scheduling them in your calendar. If you plan on going back to the gym, put it on the calendar now. If you plan on being better about meal planning, schedule your shopping and prep time each week NOW.
- Check in. Schedule a time to check in on your resolutions each month. The reason resolutions fail is that we don't take consistent action towards them. Taking time to schedule a monthly check-in will help remind you what you committed to, and what you want to achieve.
Talk your kids through this process. What accomplishments are they most proud of? What do they want to improve in 2017. My son is super-proud of having become class president at his new school, and he has chosen to take the dogs to the park twice a week, and to "work out" every day.
Happy New Year. May all your dreams come true in 2017. With focus, attention and commitment, they just might.