I loooove this time of year. I'm a big New Year Resolution fan. Big time. I think it is engrained in my DNA from my dad and my dad's dad before him. You write yours down? I buy a BINDER. We're talking divided sections. Career goals, education goals, money goals, spiritual goals, physical goals... the more, the better. Do I achieve them all? Absolutely not. But writing them down, cutting out pictures to go with them, putting it all in one place - this is how we set it in our subconscious minds and give ourselves purpose for each day. And for the record, two years ago, when I pulled out all of my goals from the previous year, I had achieved all but two. (This year, however, not so much. But I'm going to go ahead and blame that on wedding brains. That's my story and I'm sticking to it).
The secret for me is that I don't dwell on the resolutions each day. I am a firm believer in the subconscious mind and letting it do your work for you. I think that writing things down is key - coming up with pictures to go with them even better. But then you can literally put this away in a drawer and if you've truly set the intention in your mind and believed it, the goals you have set will happen. You can spend so much time planning on doing something that the opportunity just passes. Write it down, believe you can and will do it and then... just do it.
Some are harder than others. Some things you WILL need to work at every day (fitness, weight loss or gain, better nutrition, etc. ) Some are more abstract (be a better mom, wife, boyfriend, whatever) and those don't need to be fussed over as much.
Reaching goals comes from making changes in our lives. Making changes usually comes from creating new habits. Notice that I said creating new habits instead of breaking bad habits. Anybody that has tried to break a bad habit knows that it can be SO HARD. What is a little easier and much more positive however is creating new, healthier habits. You are focused on the positive this way instead of dwelling on the negative.
For example, if you make a resolution to stop spending money on credit card purchases, it can seem daunting to constantly tell yourself every day "no I can't buy this," or "no I can't use my credit cards," or "no don't do this, I want to get out of debt." Notice the words are all negative - no, can't, debt, etc. Nobody would feel good thinking this way all day. Instead, replace the bad habit with a good one - why don't you start a jar and every time you work out, put a dollar in the jar. When the jar reaches a set number (say $50 or $100) you get to buy your treat. You are not only promoting a healthier lifestyle but also promoting healthier financial habits because you just saved up cash for something you wanted instead of throwing it on a plastic credit card and creating more debt. And look at the positive verbal messages you will be sending yourself - "I went for a walk, I'm a dollar closer to those boots!" Not a workout person? Whatever. Create a different positive commitment to yourself. Every time you clean the house you put a dollar in a jar. The idea is to focus on something positive. If you want to eat better, don't start by throwing out all of the sweets in your house and vowing to never drink a soda again. Start by focusing on the NEW habit - healthier food. Buy some extra fruits or veggies next time you're at the market. Replace one cup of coffee a day with herbal tea. This doesn't have to feel overwhelming and studies show that changing everything all at once can lead to failure. Do a little bit at a time focusing on the new habit, even if it's just to eat one banana every day. Focus on the new, good habits long enough and the old, bad habits will eventually fall away.
Set your resolutions! This country is in a time when finances are tough, our future is uncertain, and life is getting scary. In my opinion the best thing we can do is focus on improving ourselves as individuals. First, strengthen ourselves as people, then ourselves as family members, then as community members, then members of the nation as a whole. If everybody did this in their own homes, imagine the difference we would see in the big picture.
Cheers to a new year!