6 steps to meaningful, actionable new year’s resolutions
With just a couple of days left until 2019, I definitely have resolutions on the brain. I write them every year and set lofty goals (one of my 2018 resolutions was to run a marathon, and I did it!), even knowing that I may not get around to achieving all of them. While I strongly believe we can commit to a new goal any day of the year, the calendar change feels significant, and it’s worth it to reflect on the past year and evaluate where in our lives we want to make adjustments.
In fact, I think the practice alone is worth doing, even if you don’t accomplish any of your resolutions. It’s incredibly important to live meaningfully and structure our lives such that we feel fulfilled. Routines and habits, though grounding when carefully planned, can make us feel drained, purposeless, and stagnant; the act of sitting down and asking, “What do I want to do differently and what do I want my life to look like?” can rouse us from this state of being. Even the most wildly unachievable goals can materialize when we take steps towards them, but to do so takes intention - and the decision to act.
how do you identify what your resolutions should be?
First, evaluate how well you know yourself. Starting with this gives you a foundation to build on. Do you have a clear understanding of your values and motivations? Do you have a good grasp on what your most formative experiences were? If these questions have you scratching your head, read this.
Now that we got that doozy of a step out of the way, identify the areas of your life that are important to you at this stage. Religion, health, and career are my priorities at this stage, so my resolutions center them.
Be specific about your goals - “eat better” and “pray more” aren’t actionable! The more detailed you are, the clearer your path forward will be. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include a resolution that you aren’t sure exactly how to achieve. Which brings me to…
Be bold! Don’t just choose safe, realistic resolutions. Stretch goals should be on your list. Like I stated in the beginning, it’s okay if you don’t meet them; the process of working towards them will change you and build your self-worth if accompanied by the right mindset. Dream wild, crazy, thrilling dreams! You are not inherently less capable or deserving than anyone else.
Create a plan that you can incorporate into your life. This is one reason it’s so important to understand yourself well; the better you do, the better you can mold your habits and productively correct your mentality where needed. If you know you struggle to go to bed early, for example, taking the time to ask yourself why and learn what you find rewarding about being up late will help you come up with a habit change that feels just as satisfying.
Believe you can accomplish your goals. Don’t just go through the motions and berate yourself the whole way through. Practice affirming yourself, and watch the journey become one of difficulty to one of transformative, impactful growth. Believing is just as important as doing!
This is a hefty list that will have you thinking and working hard, but it can be done, whatever “it” is to you. Even if you don’t get through all six items, completing any number of them will have substantial benefits, particularly in getting you to take inventory of your life and state of mind. I believe you can accomplish whatever you want, and you should too. Happy New Year!