My family was never big on New Year’s Eve festivities. I’m not exactly sure why. Outside of my mom’s nightly glass of red wine, none of us are big drinkers. My dad and I are both a bit introverted. And none of us like crowds. Growing up, our New Year’s Eves were always quiet but enjoyable. My parents made amazing, fresh seafood (which I didn’t grow to appreciate until my early teens – I didn’t understand why we couldn’t go more gourmet with some decent hot dogs or something) and we snacked on all of our favorite munchies until they inevitably fell asleep before the ball had even begun to drop.
New Year’s Eve was always very close to an average night for us – just a little more calorie dense. I think the lack of festive hype also contributed to my disinterest in new year’s resolutions.
My mom always told me she never believed in resolutions – she felt they were merely extreme pipe dreams that left people burnt out and discouraged by mid-January. Instead, she preferred to pick a word and place focus on it throughout the year – “patience,” or “kindness” or perhaps “buy your daughter designer bags.” That’s one word if you say it fast enough!
I’ve always considered myself to be a self-starter, so I never truly relied on New Year’s Resolution to kick-start my goal pursuance, but in recent years, I’ve found New Year’s to be a good excuse to recalibrate.
New Year’s resolutions that are made in a dire attempt to see major changes over the course of one year will likely be met with disappointment. “New year, new you” is asking a lot, if you ask me. New Year’s resolutions that focus on incremental progress and continued self-growth are the ones I find to be most successful and long-lasting.
Now, I like to use New Year as a chance to tidy up my mental file cabinets; check in with myself, mind, body, and spirit; discard what I’m not using and sharpen the focus on what I do. Here are the things I’m aiming for in 2019:
BE MORE INTENTIONAL
For as hyper-focused and driven as I am in some ways, I’m horribly lazy in others. I know this about myself. I’ll throw clothes on the floor of my room instead of simply putting them away immediately. I’ll leave paperwork on the counter rather than sorting and filing mail in a timely fashion. And please, don’t even ask me about my skincare routine. It’s non-existent. In 2019, I want to be more intentional in the ways I organize and maintain my life. This is an on-going goal. For those of you who were around last year, you’ll remember I completely revamped my home storage. I took time and effort to invest in products that would help me keep my home a little more organized. I’m really happy and proud to say that I’ve successfully maintained that organization over the course of 2018, and this next year, I’d like to take it a step further and bring that organization into my day to day.
GROW THE KIND COALITION
One of the highlights of 2018 for me was launching THE KIND COALITION. When I got back from my destination wedding in July, I opened Twitter and found myself completely disheartened by the vitriolic exchanges that had become so normal. I felt like I had to contribute something more to society than another biting opinion, so The Kind Coalition was born. I’m fortunate enough to have teamed up with three amazing anti-bullying nonprofits, and 50% of the profits from all of our sales will be donated to support their initiatives. The majority of my 2019 will be spent focusing on growing sales and awareness.
CONTINUE MY FITNESS JOURNEY
In March of 2017, Mike and I got engaged. I must have spent the rest of 2017 celebrating because by December, I barely recognized myself after all of the weight I’d gained. I adopted a rigorous workout regimen (well – rigorous for me) to ready myself for our June 2018 wedding (this was my main new year’s resolution last year) and I’m proud to say that I went from 139 lbs in December (heaviest I’ve ever been) to 123 this past October. I’m happy to chat with anyone about how I did it because losing weight is not easy for me. I have a small frame and it doesn’t take much for me to gain and everything for me to lose. I fell off of the wagon in October, and starting in January, I’d like to find a workout routine that integrates smoothly into my daily life without asking me to be at the gym six days a week like last year. I’m not necessarily looking to lose weight anymore – just maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I’m not sure if it’s apartment living or what, but lately, I’ve found myself to be very clutter-sensitive (this kind of ties in with my intentional goal). I hate feeling like I have too much stuff and even ‘out of sight out of mind’ doesn’t seem to apply – I don’t want to have to rifle through my closets to find the clothes I ACTUALLY feel good wearing or through my junk drawer to find a lighter or through a pen cup to find a working pen. Anymore, I don’t want stuff for the sake of stuff – I want less and better. One of my main goals for 2019 is to adopt a 25% more minimalist approach to life. Don’t get me wrong – I love warmth and décor and as many handbags as you care to send my way. But I’m starting to feel like I want fewer things and better quality of what I do have. I’ll spend a lot of this year getting rid of the things I don’t use.
So, these are my goals – now it’s your turn. Here’s how I decided on these goals:
1. Sharpen existing goals
Is there a goal you’ve already set in motion? What is it? Identify the progress you’ve already made and identify the things that have gotten you there. What has worked for you especially well? Start by asking yourself what you’re doing that you can do MORE of. Not every goal has to be a complete life revamp. It’s okay to build upon existing progress and continue to strive for expert-status.
2. Understand how to classify your goals
I’ve written a lot about how I classify goals: there are short term goals, medium term, and long-term goals (stretch goals). Understanding where your goal falls is key to setting a realistic timeline for success. Launching a multi-million dollar business, though it could happen overnight, is much more likely a long-term goal. Developing the logo for said business, however, is absolutely a short-term goal. Understanding goal timelines and classifications will help you to break down your goals into small, incremental, and accessible steps so that short term goals begin to inform medium and long term goals and boost your morale instead of break it.
3. Be realistic and be kind
This is really important. Last year, when I set out to lose weight for the wedding, I could have declared that I wanted to look like Jennifer Aniston, but I knew that I would be setting myself up to fail. Jennifer Aniston and I have two very different bodies, and as healthy and thin as I might become, I wasn’t going to become Jennifer Aniston. In order to stay the course, your goals must be realistic and attainable. Part of this is understanding yourself – know what motivates you, understand your values, and be aware of your own pitfalls. Knowing yourself and your limitations is KEY to setting productive goals. This doesn’t mean that you can’t set stretch goals – it does mean you have to take into account what is mentally and physically possible with the time and resources you have.
4. Let go of what’s not working
Maybe you have goals from 2018 that just didn’t pan out as you’d hoped – there is NOTHING wrong with letting go of stale goals to make room for new ones. It doesn’t mean you failed – it means you are changing and evolving and becoming a clearer, more defined version of yourself. Each phase of life serves to teach us something – what did you learn about yourself from this old goal? What can you bring with you to the next goal? What can you do better or differently this time around?
There you have it! What are your goals for 2019? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! Oh – and in terms of stretch goals, keep at them. When I was 14, I knew I met the man I wanted to marry. See below for my best accomplishment of 2018 and proof that persistence pays off 🙂