If you’ve spent a decent amount of time on social media over the last few years I’m sure you’ve stumbled upon the typical end-of-the-year Facebook statuses, Instagram captions, and tweets that start coming around this time of the year, EVERY year. You know the ones I’m talking about “New Year, New Me!” and “Next year is going year is going to be MY YEAR!” Depending on who is saying those statements you miiiight believe them or (more often than not) you roll your eyes to the back of your head and think “yeah…sure.” Many people meet these statements with contempt and thoughts similar to “You didn’t accomplish anything the last three years; what makes you think next year is going to be any different?” or my personal favorite “Why wait for the New Year to make a change? Just do it now!” What do I think? I think there is a gray area that needs to be explored when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions and everything surrounding them.
As you can tell by the title of this post, I completely believe in New Year’s Resolutions and people striving to become better people and achieve various goals as the years go on. However, I do believe that in order for people to be successful in achieving their goals and sticking to their resolutions we must think of them way before December 30th or 31st and maybe even before the month of December even begins. I was listening to an old episode of one of my favorite podcasts “Behind the Brilliance” from Lisa Nicole Bell and she was talking about getting a running start on the New Year in the end of September/early October. While I did love that episode (as well as the whole podcast in general), I don’t necessarily believe that you are doomed to failure if you didn’t start planning your New Year goals, plans, and resolutions by the end of September. You can still be successful if you sit down, reflect, analyze, and come up with your plans by the end of November.
Many of you are probably reading this and thinking “Well thanks Mara that only gives us a mere few DAYS to get to our $#!+ together. Well, I apologize but you’ll be happy to know working on timing of blog entries is one of my many resolutions, haha. Your next thought might be something along the lines of “Why must we have it all sorted by the end of November?” I’m going to tell you why. In my opinion, by mid-November enough of the year has gone by and we have endured enough failures (and hopefully successes as well) that we can accurately reflect and analyze on our year, patterns, and behaviors to see what worked, what didn’t, and what we need to avoid completely in the following year. If you are able to solidify your New Year’s Resolutions and Goals by the end of November you can get your trial and error out of the way without making yourself feel hopeless in the New Year.
Whenever I try to make resolutions there are quite often times that I make them without the realistic expectation that changing my habits overnight will be extremely hard…if not damn near impossible. Making our New Year’s Resolutions randomly a day or two before without giving it much thought, we don’t allow ourselves enough time to work out the kinks through trial and error that is needed ultimately to make a lifestyle change. If we were to spend the month of November reflecting, brainstorming, and analyzing we will be more likely to succeed because we have already invested so much time in and developed attachments to these resolutions and goals. I have a personal example from late last year and early this year to prove my point. One New Year’s Resolution in particular which is a popular and very common one was “to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.” While I was successful in losing weight over the course of this year, I could have been even more successful if I had already started thinking about it prior to December. I wasn’t able to actually establish a successful routine until mid-February if not almost the end of February. I think by not reflecting on WHY I wanted to lose weight (besides superficial reasons like I want to be sexy by my graduation) and not giving myself time to adjust my lifestyle accordingly, I had already set myself to go into the New Year without any momentum and no plan for success. Luckily for me, I didn’t let my lack of success in January discourage me. However, this is not always the case for many people.
So how exactly does one come up with their New Year’s Resolution in November and make sure they achieve their goals in the upcoming year? Since I barely dropped this news on y’all with a week left in November, I’ll give you a condensed step by step guide.
- Reflect on the past year: What did you do well this previous year? What areas could use improvement? It’s sometimes easier if you do it month by month if you don’t know where to start.
- Create a list of your Goals and then your Resolutions: Base these on your previous answers to the question “What areas could use improvement?” First make a list of goals and then make resolutions that would be needed to achieve each goal.
- Analyze them and discover your why: Are all of your resolutions truly important to you? Are any of them superficial and based on how others perceive you rather than how you truly are? Why are these your resolutions and goals? How would your life look like if you didn’t achieve them?
- Edit your list: Make sure everything on your list is for you to achieve things that are based on yourself and your happiness alone. You want to make sure they will give you a truly fulfilling life and not just a life that looks good on the outside. WRITE THEM DOWN.
- Plan, Plan, PLAN: What resources do you need to establish the necessary habits for you to be successful? Break each resolution down to monthly check-ins that will allow you to track your progress.
- Act on them now: Decide which resolutions you can start on now so you can get the kinks and bumps in the road out of the way now. WRITE THIS DOWN TOO.
- Be accountable: Stick to your resolutions once the year begins! You have spent too much time on them so far to just leave them abandoned.
There you go! Less than 10 steps will help you on your way to having a successful and life-changing year. After you finish reading this blog entry, walk away from your computer screen, put your phone down, and get to work! January 1st will be here before we know and it and I MEAN…you don’t want to be the person in the same spot 365 days from now. Answer the following questions in the comments to get your brain working towards these steps!
What is one area of your life you hope to work towards and experience improvement in the New Year? What is one goal you hope to accomplish by this time next year?