new year, new you…the bold way to make “resolutions”

“NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!” blare the headlines of every magazine, newspaper, and website article. The start of the new year also brings the advent of Resolution Season. I myself am a great maker of resolutions. A keeper of said resolutions? Not so much.
But this year, I’ve decided to do it differently. Too often, our resolutions feel more like a punishment than an attainable goal. How many of us have made depressing resolutions like, “I vow to only have dessert once a month” or “I will never, ever, EVER miss a class!”, only to find ourselves crumbling under the stress of these regiments after a few weeks? Or, if you’re like me, it’s more like a few days.
For 2015, I’ve decided that the key to success in new year’s resolution resides in their presentation. I’m not going to stress myself out with strict rules. Instead, I’m going to set goals for the year, and make a resolution to not punish myself when I waver from my purpose.
My first recommendation for your resolution is that you retitle it to a goal. I find the word goal much less looming than resolution. A goal is something you work towards, taking steps (whether they be small or large) to reach it.
For example, I might have resolved to exercise every single day. But I know that this resolution would crumble with my first stress-filed Monday. So instead, I might set a goal: I want to participate in a 5k by April 2015. This overarching goal means less stress and more sense of achievement as I move towards the big picture.
Getting to this big picture sometimes requires lots of little steps. So to keep my goals this year, I’ve decided to break down some processes into smaller, bite-size pieces that I can reasonably accomplish.
A good example of this is my goal to keep a clean room. To achieve this, I’ve set smaller goals and made a list of chores to do on certain days each week. Monday is laundry day, Friday is vacuum and dusting, and I’ll try to make my bed and wash dishes every day. When broken down into smaller goals, the goal of a clean room is much easier to keep up.
Also essential to these processes is the idea of not punishing yourself. I realize that I won’t always be able to keep up with this schedule. Some Mondays, no washers will be open in the laundry room, and some Fridays, I’ll be too busy with rehearsal to clean up. And that is okay. Be sure to write yourself a free pass once in a while as you work towards your goals. The new year shouldn’t be a time of punishment; I’m striving to make it a year of growth and self-worth.
Going along with this idea of re-wording resolutions, I’ve decided to “billboard” my goals in a way that I will remember. Billboarding means creating a memorable word or sentence to remind yourself of your goals each day. It should be catchy, happy, and remind you of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
I’ve developed a sentence about my goals for 2015. “Live Compassion. Pray More, Worry Less. Work It.” This billboard reminds me of my goals to be kind to everyone (including myself), to let go of excessive anxiety, and to “work it” in all aspects of my life, doing the best I can do and showing my authentic self.
This idea might seem kind of cheesy, until you put it into practice. When someone cut in line at the grocery the other day, I came close to losing my cool. Instead, I remembered “Live Compassion,” took a deep breath, and moved on with my life.

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