• Vicky

Don't set a New Year's Resolution

Updated: Mar 31


Don't set a New Year's Resolution: A different approach to creating the life you want

Last year is over and you're getting ready for the next. And for the next decade. 2020 will be BIG, right? And you're going to set an awesome resolution...something that will change your life; or something you've been meaning to do for the last several years, but haven't. This will be the year it happens.


And it can be...if you don't set a resolution. The New Year's Resolution always tends to be a BIG thing. But that's the problem, right? We are setting resolutions that are too big to accomplish. Not because we want to fail, but because we want better for ourselves and every New Year is a new chance to prove we can be better.


The thing is, your way of life doesn't change overnight. Just because you set a big, lofty resolution doesn't mean things suddenly fall into place to make it happen. YOU have to change...and change is hard. We are creatures of habit. Habits are hard to change unless you make small changes one step at a time.


This year, don't set a New Year's Resolution. This year, try a different approach. One with less pressure but just the right amount of accomplishment to keep you moving forward.


Here I outline a few key steps to a Resolution-free New Year:

  1. Set a Theme for the year. Something that you can focus your efforts around and use when making decisions throughout the year. For example - my theme for 2020 is Simplify. How does this play out? When I think about my home, I don't need big plans to reorganize every room in the house (tried that one for many years), or completely redecorate...I just need to simplify. When I'm cleaning each day/week, I can consider how/what I can simplify at that moment. When I put together my teaching schedule, I used this theme to make sure I didn't overwhelm my calendar. I'm being more mindful to keep my calendar more open, but still teach the classes I want to teach.

  2. Once you have your theme, pick a habit that you would like to work on for the next couple of months. It takes time to change or create new habits, so give yourself a couple of months to work on, and master, just one. A lot of people set a Resolution to lose weight. This is great, but you don't just lose weight because you set the resolution. There are numerous habits at play including exercise and nutrition. You also have to be careful not to bite off more than you can chew because tackling too much at once can lead to overwhelm and discouragement. Pick a category to start with and find a habit within that you can work on and master before moving on to another.

  3. With your habit now determined, set up your accountability. Create your support group of friends and family that can help hold you accountable. Make a habit-tracking journal so you can track your progress and note how you are feeling (mentally and physically). Set up some reminders - on your calendar, in your phone, sticky notes around the house or office - to help keep your habit goal top-of-mind. Don't forget to include encouraging messages to help keep you motivated.

  4. Get going. Whatever your habit goal is, be mindful and aware and make progress. Some days you won't feel like doing a whole routine. The key is to do something, however small.

  5. Reflect at the end of each week to assess what worked. If you don't meet your habit goal for the week, don't get down on yourself. Review what you did accomplish and what you felt good about. Focus on that and try again next week.

  6. When you've mastered the habit goal it will become second nature to you. You now have a new habit and have made some progress towards changing your life. It is important to maintain this habit so it will continue to be a more natural part of your life.



Let's take a look at how this might play out. If we consider a theme of Better Health, we can approach this from so many angles. Here I've outlined two different paths, one with Exercise and one with Nutrition. (You can totally use these, and try them in whatever order might work for you.)


Theme: Better Health

Habit Category: Exercise

Habit: Get moving 2-3x each week

What this might look like:

  • Identify WHY you set this goal. For physical health? Mental health? So you can get about and about without getting tired? So you can play with your kids longer or do more activities with them?

  • Find a walking/workout buddy - someone to help keep you accountable.

  • At the beginning of the week, set time on the calendar to get moving (walking, go to the gym, etc). View these appointments as VERY important to keep.

  • Add reminders to your phone/calendar. Post notes around the house and your office space to encourage you.

  • The night before you plan to get moving, set out your clothes, shoes, water bottle, etc.

  • When the time comes to get moving, the first step is to get ready and change your clothes. Even if you're not feeling it. Once you've changed you've already crossed the threshold and you're ready to move to the next small step.

  • If you find that you feel low on energy or don't have time, just do a brisk walk or a home yoga practice.

  • If you don't meet your move goal for the week, don't get down on yourself. Review what you did that worked and that you felt good about. Focus on that and try again next week, with any necessary plan modifications.


Create a habit goal around getting more movement


Theme: Better Health

Habit Category: Nutrition

Habit: Mindful Eating

What this might look like:

  • Identify WHY you set this goal. Mindful Eating is the best place to start when working on your nutrition and how you fuel your body. Being more mindful is key so you can be more in tune with when to eat, how much to eat and what kinds of food make you feel healthy and vibrant.

  • Communicate to your family that you'll be focusing on Mindful Eating and what this will look like.

  • Before each meal, you'll take a moment to be mindful and reflect on your hunger level and on what you'll be eating. Each bite will be taken slowly and mindfully, savoring the flavor and texture of the food. When you start to feel full, you'll stop eating. This may mean meals will be slower and that you eat less food than planned.

  • There's no television or phones in a Mindful Meal. But you can enjoy the company of your friends or family.

  • Create a food journal so you can track how you felt from each meal, or perhaps journal once a day after having a few Mindful Meals.

  • Add reminders to your phone/calendar. Post notes around the house and your office space to encourage you.

  • If you feel that you don't have time for Mindful Eating with a particular meal, at least take a moment to reflect at the beginning and end of the meal. This can include taking a photo of your meal before you start eating.

  • If you don't meet your Mindful Eating goal for the week, don't get down on yourself. Review what you did that worked and that you felt good about. Focus on that and try again next week, with any necessary plan modifications.


Start your nutrition goals by setting a Habit Goal of Mindful Eating

*Need help finding a habit goal? Join my Facebook Group, UPLIFT yoga + fitness Community, for weekly challenges to help you discover ways to become your healthiest self in 2020. In January we start with a few challenges to help you identify where we are going: Bucket List Challenge, Fast Forward Challenge, Into the Future Challenge and 5-minute Journal Challenge. Each week is a new challenge - and while you can't change your habits in one week, you can discover something new or ways to improve an existing habit that you can focus on for a longer period.


Once you've mastered a Habit Goal you will need to continue it, but it will become much easier, less effortful. And you can move on to a new one. Through a year of tackling and mastering several new Habit Goals, your life at the end of the year will look different (hopefully better) than how you started the year. Isn't that what we're all striving for?

This year, don't set a big New Year's Resolution...set a theme and pick a habit to create or improve over the next few months.


May you find peace and better health in 2020.

Happy New Year!!

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