New Years Resolutions Suck
For the vast majority of my life, I’ve been one of those people who set some pretty lofty New Years resolutions every single year.
And unsurprisingly, without fail, like many of you, by Feburary or March I stopped doing the things that I was supposed to be doing in order to keep those resolutions on track. By the time summer hits, they’re usually completely out the window.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting big goals, in fact I’m a big believer in the fact that if your dreams don’t seem a little crazy they aren’t big enough.
The problem with New Years resolutions is that people very rarely break them down into the daily habits that really end up getting you to that final level.
Maybe you set a goal to lose weight this year. You know you should be more active in some vague sense, so you buy a gym membership and go a couple times a week. You get the salad when your heart says get the curly fries. And eventually you miss a gym session because you end up stuck at the office. You opt for a few delicious sugar filled alcoholic beverages one night with friends, and next thing you know you’re inhaling every appetizer on the menu.
A month or two later and suddenly you see your gym membership on your credit card statement and feel a pang of guilt because you can’t remember the last time you were there.
We’ve all been there. It’s okay. Here’s my alternative.
Focus on creating a list of daily habits. Start small, like 1–4 things you can do every day. Each task should take under an hour. You can write these as a checklist in a planner or bullet journal, or as a note or reminder on your phone. Personally I find a daily record on my phone keeps me the most accountable, but it can be really powerful to keep a monthly tracker on paper so you can see your progress long term.
Do not wait until January to start this. In fact, do it right this very second. Just think of a couple small things that could improve your life and commit to doing them.
The great thing about creating these daily habits, is eventually they become so routine that you can add more of them or “level up”.
Let’s flash back to our gym example. Instead of focusing on a big vague resolution to lose weight or be more active, we’re going to start with a simple daily habit.
Every day I will complete one workout video from YouTube. (There are literally an endless supply of these, for all fitness levels, and tons of no equipment options).
Some days you might have an hour. Some days you might have 15 minutes. Some days this might be a 5 minute yoga sequence before bed. But every day you can realistically get it done, not only receiving the physiological perk of feeling accomplished by checking an item off your habit tracking list, but also slowly and steadily incorporating this behaviour into your daily life. Before you know it, instead of feeling like a chore, this is just something you do every day.
If you need a little inspiration (and to help keep myself accountable!), here are the daily habits I’ll be focusing on adding in time for 2020
- Workout for at least 30 minutes
- Practice hand lettering
- Create at least 1 new listing for Etsy, Amazon, or Redbubble
- Draft at least 1 new article for Medium
Notice that I’ve kept all of these goals simple enough that I can reasonably get them done in under an hour each, but also tried to remind myself that this is the bare minimum I would like to get done. If I get in a good workflow and write more or create more that’s great, but I’m not putting pressure on myself to do so.
These daily habits also serve my larger goal of expanding my creative business in 2020 (I consider working out an essential part of my working from home self care routine).
So what daily habits are you going to form this year?