Do you like New Year’s Resolutions?
I know they can get a lot of flack…why wait till January? Why feel like you need to change? Why make these grand goals you won’t be able to keep? I know there are some haters, but personally, I LOVE them.
I love the time of contemplation that takes place at the end of the year and the sense of a fresh start in January. I love how December draws us towards celebration and being with those we love. It is a huge month to focus on the many blessings in our lives and turn our eyes upward. Then, come January, I love thinking for the new year. I love the evaluation that takes place in order to name the places I feel content in, and also the areas I would love to grow in.
I also love that January is a time where everyone else is doing it too. It’s the difference between running a 5K by myself on a Saturday morning or running it in an official race with a giant group of people. There is so much momentum!!
By now you can likely guess that I am making resolutions for 2020, and I thought I would share a few questions I have found helpful to ask myself before I even get to the actual nitty gritty resolutions. These questions help me filter through my grand goals and intentions to find what really matters to me.
Without further ado, here are some question I ask myself before making new resolutions.
1. DID I KEEP LAST YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? AND IF NOT, AM I UPSET ABOUT IT?
This one has to do with your resolutions from last year. It’s a simple question to ask yourself: did I keep the resolution, and if not, DO I REALLY CARE?
I will give you an example of both of these for me looking back from 2018:
1: learn to sew. This is a resolution I made last year and when I see it on my list, honestly, I could care less I didn’t learn. It hasn’t impacted my life at all and I don’t regret that I spent time I could have used learning to sew on doing other things. It’s not a resolution I am making this year.
2: read more actual books. This is something I can look back on for 2018 and say I really didn’t do well. I chose scrolling and Netflix over actual pages and I feel lacking because of it. It’s a resolution I want to make again and get more specific about how to achieve it. My kindle is currently on the charger and my Libby app updated. Next, I need to make a list of things I want to read. Baby steps!
So, in 2019, I dropped the plan to learn to sew. I also made a rule that my phone was not allowed in the bedroom at bedtime. Only my kindle. And in 2019 I probably read more books than the previous 3 years combined!
As you look back on 2019 resolutions that failed, don’t beat yourself up! Ask yourself this simple question and learn from it.
2. DO I ACTUALLY WANT TO DO THIS?
Basically, you are asking is this something I actually want to do or something I think I should be doing because others are.
This question is IMPORTANT! Because while the momentum of New Year’s Resolutions is helpful, it only really helps you if you personally desire the end goal of your resolutions. There are going to be a lot of people doing sugar-free diet’s and new workout regimens and book clubs, but before you jump on board, be sure you ask yourself: DO I ACTUALLY WANT TO DO THIS?
And if the answer is no, you don’t need to feel an ounce of guilt that you aren’t partaking. You might be eating just fine! You could very well be very content with your current workout regimen. Just because a large group of people is doing something does not make it right for you, and that’s ok! Don’t take precious time training for a marathon you have no desire to run. Your resolutions are YOURS after all. Make them and own them.
**there is one caveat to this question…please read on…
3. DO I NEED TO DO THIS?
This is the caveat to yesterday’s question, because sometimes there are things we know we need to be doing and we need to take ownership there.
I’ll give you a personal example: Last year, I resolved to charge my phone in the kitchen at night. That way, when I went to bed, I was officially off. No texts, no internet, no scrolling. If I wanted to use my phone I had to physically get out of bed. I know the “do not disturb” feature works for some people, but I would end up grabbing my phone to set a quick reminder, see the red circle that I had a text, which reminded me to look at something on the internet, and before I knew it 30 minutes would have gone by. My phone in the bedroom had directly influenced my sleep.
I did this perfectly until September, but once Millie was born I started keeping the phone by the bed so I could look at things during those night feedings. However, now she’s sleeping longer and I still have the phone in the bedroom. I have found myself using it before bed and seeing priceless minutes of good sleep pass away before the bright screen. While I love laying in bed and looking at my phone, I know I NEED to keep it outside the bedroom at night. It is having a negative impact on my sleep and therefore my life.
So today’s question for resolution making: is there something you NEED to be doing for the sake of your health, family, finances, etc? And if so….look forward to final question number four!
4. HOW CAN I MAKE THIS WORK IN MY SPECIFIC SEASON OF LIFE?
Bye now, hopefully, you have learned things that you don’t really care about, focused in on what you do you really care about, and also taken stock of things that need to change. Now, how do you implement it in your *specific season* of life?
You might’ve noticed that I use the word ”season” a lot on here. I do it on purpose. Thinking of things in terms of a season of life really helps me to focus on how to thrive in the specific circumstances I am given, knowing it won’t always be this way. For instance, in 2018 I knew that I would love to exercise first thing in the morning, but my specific season with a newborn made that extremely difficult. Sometimes Millie woke up at 4 AM, sometime she wke up at 5 AM, sometime she woke up at 6 AM. I really didn’t have a good way of knowing and it was very hard to plan around. So, in that specific season, exercise didn’t happen first thing in the morning. But that season didn’t last forever! Now, going into 2019 she is weaned and sleeping all night and I have found a new morning routine that works for us. And again, it won’t always be this way, but it is right now. I get to choose a new way to make it work that helps me to thrive.
Thinking in terms of seasons helps me not to freak out when it’s hard, and also to be grateful when it’s good.
Maybe for you it’s your kids being in school, or a busy season at work, or a pregnancy. You need to ask yourself how to implement your resolutions in a way that works in the current season you are in, NOT in some future season you wish to be in. Your circumstances are very specific to you and our most probably very different from half the people that you follow on Instagram. Fight hard to learn how to make things work for you! Your schedule, your needs, your wants, your financial situation.
In fact, you have my permission (for what it’s worth) to take January as a trial month. Set your resolutions into effect and use this upcoming month to figure out how to make them work for you. You’ll fail some. That’s all part of the learning.
I hope these questions have helped you with making some good, meaningful, doable resolutions this year.
Cheers to 2020!