Tiffany Walsh reframes the idea of New Year's resolutions to help stay motivated to achieve her goals.
Come January, we all start to hear a lot about New Year’s resolutions. I love this idea, but I think that we are all familiar with the pattern of dreaming up grand plans in January that are very easily derailed by the end of February. It can quickly take a fun opportunity towards growth and instead lead down a road of discouragement.
Therefore, I have changed my thinking a bit on New Year’s resolutions. I do like to set goals for myself at the start of a new calendar year, it’s a part of wintry January that I truly enjoy. It lends such a feeling of freshness and excitement to a new year. Instead of calling them resolutions, though, I see my ideas as part of larger creative brainstorm towards longer term goals. That sounds like a wordier way of expressing the same thing, I know, but to my mind, intention is half the battle, and my intentions are to keep my goals positive and enjoyable, without creating stress and disappointment. After all, we do not always reach goals, and that is all right! They are part of a larger journey, and are there to give us something to aspire to.
Part of how I keep this process fun for myself is by making lists and brainstorming as many creative ideas as possible surrounding the goals that I am striving towards. I’ll get a new notebook or journal at the start of the year to write all of my ideas down in, and I find having a new space to write in inspires me to write down as much as I can. I will make a list of small goals, usually between five and ten. Some may be ideas I know I am pretty certain to achieve, others not so much, but I think that it’s good to include them anyway. It is ever so important to challenge ourselves, I am a firm believer in this philosophy! Then I will think of different ways I can work towards achieving these goals. I may include steps or other ideas towards reaching them.
So, for example, instead of having a resolution to: “get more fit this year.” I will list fitness related goals such as: “try out at least 2 new-to-me types of group fitness classes. Go on more walks, but at least four times this year seek out a location to walk outside of my neighborhood.” Having interesting ways of making the journey towards the goal fresh and fun heightens my interest in succeeding, and makes it much more likely that I will embark on the necessary steps!
For years now, I have found that this system works out well for me, and I look forward to it every January. Indeed, there are always a few goals that I do not reach by the end of the year. Sometimes I’ll include them again on the next yearly list, or sometimes I’ll find that I don’t really want to achieve that goal anymore. Either way, it was valuable to explore them and to find this out!
Do you have a system for goal tracking or resolution setting in the new year? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
About the Author
Tiffany Walsh is a wife and mother, a native western New Yorker, and a college librarian. She is a cradle Catholic who rekindled her childhood faith as a graduate student via her love of books, and is the author of Exploring the Catholic Classics, part of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women series. She enjoys writing about faith, crafting, dance, fitness and wellness. Visit her blog at Life of a Catholic Librarian.