|Some of the snow from Tahoe last weekend.|
It is, of course, a bit naive to imagine that with the flip of a calendar page we can begin afresh. This week is not so different from last week. We are not younger (just the opposite!), we are not wiser, and we do not have appreciably more willpower. So this mad exercise of writing resolutions with the coming of the new year might seem like a bit of a waste of time.
Then again, why the heck shouldn't we go forth in unbridled optimism and expect to change ourselves and the world simply because it seems to be January again? If not now, when?
I, for one, love making resolutions. And then, of course, I proceed to break almost all of them. Which seems like it might be a bit depressing, but actually really isn't the point.
The point is sitting down and imagining a rosier future, setting priorities, and feeling a sense of direction, of inspiration. Then, of course, life gets in the way. Which we can't change and we really shouldn't want to anyway. But one or two resolutions usually sneak through kept and unscathed (bonus!) and I get a clearer sense of what's really important, and maybe do better the next time I sit down to write out my ideas for the future.
So anyway, in that vein, here are some ideas for making better resolutions at the beginning of the new year. Feel free to use the ideas you like, and toss the ones you don't. We're very flexible here.
1) Choose a word for the year. There was a time in my life (not exactly the span of a year, but probably not off by much) when that word was vulnerable. And then a couple of years ago I chose brave. This year I think I might choose persevere (and buy the matching ring? Can I really justify that?). Gretchen Rubin chose bigger as her word last year. Find a word that speaks to you, inspires you.
2) Don't make resolutions, instead sort out your priorities. There are certainly times in our lives when we can't do everything on our list, or that's asked or expected of us. But we can do what we value, and what we do shows what we value. I started exercising much more when I told myself, "Health is my priority."
3) Don't set goals - create systems or habits instead. Evan has signed himself up to run a couple of races, thinking they would make him work out more. Mostly, it didn't work. But deciding to go to the gym three times a week, and making the plan to meet me there at a specific time, has worked splendidly (although we fell off the horse a bit during the holidays). I'm also hoping to use this myself to create blogging time, by scheduling it on the calendar for a specific time each week.
4) Whatever your aim, create some kind of way to track it. The easier the better. I sleep so much more now that I wear a device that tells me how much sleep I'm getting, and as a result I'm happier, healthier, and more energetic. You can also try out a habit tracking app like Lift.
5) Reassess frequently, and don't worry about giving up on things that aren't working out. Anything you quit just gives you more time to do what you really value, and finding out that you don't value something as much as you thought you did can be very freeing.
What about you? Want to add any tips or share something that's worked for you? What are you resolving to do this 2014?