Every year around this time, so many people started the year off with catching up on to do’s, making resolutions they felt they needed to make to create a new them. I’m going to be the person that tells you – don’t do it. And if you’ve already begun, let’s adjust the plan.
You don’t need to be new, maybe just refreshed, reorganized, updated, reignited, energized, reset a bit. And to be clear, it’s not that goals aren’t good, as research does tell us it’s important to set and write goals, giving us a chance to know when we’ve met the finish line. But often the word resolution is almost like a dirty word, and we often give up before we’ve even begun to change our habits or we feel let down when we just can’t hang. Let me explain a few other options to consider.
Project? Or a Task?
One reason so many of us don’t complete our goals is because we have a hard time making the time for them, as we have long to-do lists. And, with our lists, we struggle to accomplish all we need to do because we write items down as PROJECTS instead of TASKS. Comparing explanations on a variety of sites, this one stands out to me as one of the most helpful ways to get a better grasp on tackling a to-do list and making more time for me.
You see, these are smaller TASKS which can be checked off a list versus a larger PROJECT that gets carried over week after week and never done. Just like you wouldn’t write “plan a wedding” on your to-do list (you’d say, book the caterer, find a photographer, etc.), look at the things you have to do and make sure they are manageable and something that can be crossed off, including your goals. This gives you a better chance of getting them done, leaving you with less stress and more time.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the things you have to do and not having enough time, consider tracking the time you spend every day for a week or so. Just put a sheet of paper up where it’s handy – on the fridge, in a planner, etc. – and see what you’re spending your time on. Be smart and be honest. There are many rules around this, but consider not touching something more than once a day and carving out specific time for specific tasks. That way, you don’t spend time making steps back and forth like a mouse in a cage, and instead, you can take more moments to pause, to breathe, to relax, to do anything for yourself than just work in your house.
One extra tip with this, once you find the chunks of time that work for you: set a schedule, laminate it, and reuse it either daily or weekly, crossing things off as you go with a dry erase marker.
Losing Weight with Exercise and Diet
This is likely on your list, and let’s be honest, it’s on mine, too. But think about how long it took the weight to get there. Months? Probably years, right? And think about why is the weight is there? Maybe life changes like having kids, losing a parent, getting a new job. With my background in health coaching and health education, I can promise you this: there’s no quick fix and you cannot spot reduce that one area you wish all the weight would come from.
So, let’s tackle this in two ways. First, exercise. Find one or two days you can move a little. Think 10-20 minutes, max. Consider getting something fun to follow – maybe a DVD from the library or finding something interesting on YouTube. Or just Google or Pinterest workout plan, like these on www.darebee.com. Just move. See how good it feels? As you can, either add a little more time, do this more than once a day, or find another day to add it in. Don’t do so much to start that you can’t pee the next day.
Next, diet. And I don’t mean diet. Instead, just plan ahead – just one week at a time – and get the kids and hubby involved. Pick a different fruit or veggie to feature, look up recipes, but keep in some of your favorites, too. Save time by making enough to have leftovers or frozen fixes. Try this for one month, and then shuffle your plans so you start back over – time saver!
Date Nights with Your Partner
My husband and I work opposite shifts to avoid childcare, so date nights are few and far between and this used to be a frustrating thing for the two of us, as we met in a bar and had a fairly active social life before kids. Reframing and redefining date nights saved us. Rather than feeling time has to be spent out of the house, adding $40 or more in babysitting costs, consider things that make you happy in the home.
Consider crafting, internet cruising, Netflixing and other DIY projects you can tackle in the wee hours of the night. Make a late-night snack fun and sit on the porch or the deck in the moonlight. Or try getting ahead on planning something like a vacation or an upcoming birthday – taking the stress and last-minute details out of the mix. I hope to get back to a time when dressing up and going out is possible, but for now, focusing on quality time has really made a difference.
Let’s Make This Happen
Before you start working on your new plan, I encourage you to take a step back. Think of the things that are going right in your life and make that a list. What have you done well in the past 12 months? Most proud of? If you had to make an infographic of the quantifiable things you’ve completed – consider not just the loads of laundry, the stacks of dishes, or the times you’ve been thrown up on this past year. Consider instead how much time did you give to yourself? How often did you put a smile on the face of your kids, your spouse, or a friend?
Then, just briefly, consider what’s missing from this list and that’s what I’d encourage you to focus on for the New Year. Was it a vacation that you wanted to go on? A big purchase you haven’t yet made or an upgrade to the house? Or is it something related to your personal growth or wellness that needs some attention? If you try one or two of these ideas, maybe this will help you find that new you – a more organized, thoughtful and accomplished you this year.