Whether you're a New Year's fanatic like me or you are a nonbeliever of resolutions, it's safe to say the ending of one year and the beginning of another allows us space to stop and reflect on where we are in our lives and possibly where we would like to be. If you've found yourself creating the same resolutions year after year simply to end each year disappointed, it's likely you aren't alone.
This past year especially I found myself stumbling into 2016 and similarly leaving quite disillusioned with a lot in this world. As I thought more and more about it, I realized that although the year had been tough for more than one reason, and for many different people around the world, I had accomplished and learned so much about myself throughout the year as well, which is why I'm labeling it the year of self-growth.
With the end of a heavy 2016 drawing to a close quickly however, I started putting undue pressure on myself to perfect the magic of the concept of a New Year I love so much - a fresh start with life changing resolutions in hand - just to counteract what I felt like was a messy start last year. With this realization, I soon decided to strike a healthy balance between accepting the reality that New Years is just like any other day of the year, while also appreciating and taking advantage our society's collective motivation for a clean slate and another chance.
This is all to say, if you've never believed in resolutions or have had a rocky relationship with them as well, there may be a couple reasons holding you back from achieving these goals. It may also help to know that even as a self-proclaimed self-help junkie, I spent so much time worrying about having the perfect start to 2017 that I didn't end up having my ducks in a row by the first. There's no need to put pressure on yourself because every day is the perfect opportunity to start living the life you've always dreamed of (can you tell I'm obsessed with Oprah and all things motivational). I've decided to take the first weeks of January to reflect and come up with some resolutions that are backed up with smaller achievable action-oriented goals. For those of you who have made it this far through the article and are wondering exactly where to start, I may not be an expert but I thought I'd share my process with you and some resources that I've found helpful in creating and achieving New Year's resolutions.
1. Review the past year + write down your dreams.
I can assure you that it is neither ridiculous nor selfish to carve out some time just to reflect on your life and dream of all the possibilities you're too afraid to let in because of whatever reason, be it money, time, family, friends, or society. The first step to achieving your dreams is letting yourself believe they are possible. So take out a pencil and a sheet of paper and get to work imagining everything this alternate extremely cool version of yourself wouldn't be afraid of doing or wanting this year. While you're writing down all the possible resolutions you can think of, keep in mind that behind this alternate version of yourself is you, which is more than enough already as is. It's important to appreciate your life and yourself as it is now while also pushing to achieve and change the things you want to. So while you're filling out a list of resolutions with building a workout routine and drinking more water, create a parallel list with things you're happy happened last year like saving money and traveling somewhere. If you need more structure, yoga guru Kassandra has a YouTube video outlining how to go about reflecting on 2016 and thinking about 2017 that I think provides an awesome start to this next step.
2. Organize, prioritize, and come up with an action plan.
To make sure we are able to follow through with our resolutions, it's important to have a plan for when we falter. If you're anything like me, after step one, you've probably come up with a ridiculously long list of ridiculous things you'd like to do this year, including everything from learning a new language to starting a rock band. I say dream big, but also if you want to see progress, Warren Buffett has an awesome article on prioritizing which resolutions may be most important to you, especially in matching the vision you have for your future. Another resource I found super helpful in creating an action plan behind my New Year's resolutions was minimalist living and expert in all things aesthetically pleasing, YouTuber Michelle B, who has an amazing video series on how to translate your resolutions into goals you can actually achieve, as well as tons of tips, ideas, and inspiration.
3. Check in with your progress and keep motivated.
Last, but definitely not least, is the follow through. Undoubtedly, the planning and visualization of your resolutions is super important, but ultimately the hard work put behind them leaves you a lot more satisfied at the end of the year, when you're able to look back and realize all your achievements and progress, as you are well on your way to living the life you really want. That's why it's important to keep yourself motivated and accountable, whether that be through creating an inspiration board so you can be reminded of your life vision every time you walk into your room, or through weekly goals and check-in's. Establish a routine that gets you excited to wake up every morning and be prepared with a plan for when you're not that into all the work, and before you know it you'll be crushing 2017 like nobody's business.