New Year’s Resolutions & Managing Expectations
New Year’s celebrations have come and gone, and for many people, new year’s resolutions are already failing or the wagon is getting harder to stay on. Not to worry! We have everything you need to make 2020 your best year yet. Here are some tips to stay healthy and happy this year. Want more? Sign up for the mailing list for full access to our free resource library, which has self-development tools and more. In the meantime, read on for some tips on how to get a better start to 2020.
1. Stop worrying about what others expect
Many new year’s resolutions fail because we make them based on external motivation: what others think of us, what we think we “should” be doing to fulfill some external source of validation. When we don’t truly believe in a path, it becomes much harder to follow it.
Make this the year that you listen to your own heart and follow the path that’s right for you, even if that’s completely out-of-the-box and outside the realm of what those around you consider “normal.” Remember, there’s no such thing as normal, and what’s right for those in your circle may not be right for you. If those in your circle can’t support you in your different choices, it may be time to find another circle.
2. Give yourself some time
As much as I’m a huge believer in SMART goals, I also think some times we can’t see the forest for the trees when we concentrate too much on the details. We often worry too much about the end results and forget about the progress we make, little by little, each day.
We are not broken if we don’t achieve everything we’ve set out to achieve in the first few months of the year. We are not broken if we fall off the wagon. All we have to do is start fresh the next day and get back on again. You are not a failure if you fail. You are a failure if you stop trying. So fail. Fail well. Keep failing. Keep trying.
No one achieves great things the first time trying them, so give yourself some time to achieve your goals. And perhaps start with a broad goal, and move on to SMART goals once you’re a little more ready to take things in a detailed approach. For me, this looks like this: I know I need to lose weight. But I’m never going to achieve that goal if I don’t first learn to love and respect my body just the way it is, right now. So I’m giving myself some grace to achieve that broad goal first. I’m taking it step by step to learn how.
3. Practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude is something that most of us think we do. I thought I did it myself; I have much to be grateful for. I was given a second chance at life by being welcomed into a country where I had a future. I have a roof over my head, food on my plate, and clean water in my glass. I have a husband and children who love me. I enjoy the right to educate my children in the way I see fit, and I’m privileged to be able to homeschool them. I’m deeply thankful for all these things every day, and I don’t take it for granted. Yet, I’m not always grateful.
I believe being thankful for your life and being in a state of gratitude are two different things. I think when we are in a state of gratitude, that state informs our actions. I think it’s a lot harder to be angry or annoyed if your first reaction to everything is to remember gratitude.
If I’m starting to feel annoyed that the line in the store is taking too long, I can remember that I’m in line at the store because I have enough funds to buy nutritious food. If I’m starting to get impatient with my children, I can remember my gratitude for having them in my life. If I’m starting to get the blues about no longer being on the road (which everything in me tells me is my real home), I can be grateful for the stable life my children can lead and for the things stationary life provides.
Being grateful isn’t always easy, but practicing gratitude can make the rest of life easier. So practice. Practice daily. Take nothing for granted. Write down what you’re grateful for when you wake up in the morning. Let that gratitude guide you for the rest of the day.
4. Laser focus, little by little
We’re too distracted by our to-do lists. I know I am. And for those with ADHD or other attention problems, these distractions are even higher. Often, we want to do too much, too fast. I know I often fill my plate too much, and then get frustrated that I can’t accomplish all I set out to do.
So this year, let’s take one thing at a time. Just as we need to give ourselves time to accomplish our goals and desires, we also need to give each goal and desire its own time. Stop trying to do everything at once. As much as multitasking is a way of life in the modern world, we can still take pause to focus on one goal and one small step at a time.
I know I want to drop some weight, focus on slowing down the progression of my chronic illnesses, spend lots of time with my children, read more, draw more, write more, kiss my husband every day, meal prep, eat healthier, play more games, get together with friends more often… the list goes on and on. But it’s not humanly possible to do all those things at once, and perfect life balance is a myth. So take one thing at a time.
Choose one goal a week, one goal a month, even. Concentrate on that for a while, and put the others aside. As long as everyone’s fed and alive, the other things can wait a while. We don’t need to achieve “success” (whatever that means) in our 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s, even. We need to do what needs to be done and concentrate on little goals, one step at a time, or we’ll drive ourselves crazy trying to accomplish too much, and feeling like we’re failing all the time.
5. Celebrate everything
I’m as much a critic of “everyone gets a trophy” as the next cynic, but there’s power in celebration. Patting yourself on the back for a job well done can encourage you to keep trying (and keep failing, and keep trying).
This might resonate with other moms, especially homeschooling moms: some days, all I can do is make sure the kids stay alive and that I have a shower. And you know what? That’s an accomplishment. In a busy day of teaching school, prepping meals, and keeping the house in somewhat decent order, I’ve often done the job of 3-5 people, all while getting paid with hugs and kisses, which, while emotionally valuable, don’t pay for my hobbies or extra wants. I was able to do something, however little it may look in the eyes of a society that defines us by how much money we earn.
So, celebrate. Celebrate the small things. Whether it’s with a reverse checklist to show yourself what you’ve accomplished, or with 10 minutes to play with stickers or work on a hobby, or a 5-minute time out for self-massage, or simply a self-pep talk to tell you that you’re killing it, give yourself the time to recognize that while it may not feel like much, it really is. Especially if you’re a person dealing with chronic illness, every little accomplishment matters.
6. Help yourself to free resources to make things easier
The Internet is full of free resources to help you do just about anything. In the age of information, the amount of resources at our disposal can feel overwhelming. So remember to take one thing at a time, evaluate resources based on whether they’re useful to you, and move on if they’re not.
Our FREE resource library has lots of helpful things to help you learn to love your body, get healthier, get organized, accomplish goals and more. Join us in making 2020 the year you make yourself a priority.
Happy New Year, and may this be the year you love yourself just the way you are, while learning and growing each day.