Ahhhh, the new year! A time of renewal, rejuvenation; a fresh start. It can also be a time where people feel pressured to make these big, crazy changes in their lives or set extremely difficult and consuming goals.
We tend to look at the start of a new year as an opportunity to make change in our lives, which is an amazing perspective to have! With all of life’s stresses, though, we can choose to take on different goals. What does that mean? Below I’ve compiled some examples of alternative new year’s resolutions:
Ruminate on Mindfulness
Meditate for 5 minutes everyday for one full week. The next week, add 1 minute to each day and try to keep it up for another 7 days. If you forget a day or don’t feel you have time - that’s ok! Building healthy habits takes time and, usually, a slow fold into your daily routine. Keep going week after week until you feel like you’ve built meditation into your daily life.
Pick up a mindfulness book (like “Wherever You Go, There You Are” or “Peace is Every Step”) and read a page a night before bed. Reading before bed, instead of looking at your phone, can help calm your brain down and relax.
Take a moment to feel grateful once a day. You know that age-old phrase “Stop and smell the roses”? I love that phrase. It really rings true for me. Every time I stop to smell the flowers or look at the beautiful nature around me, I feel immediately grateful. Taking a moment to feel a sense of gratefulness for yourself and your world is good for your health!
Create Happiness Goals
In addition to being more mindful, making a conscious decision to create happiness in your life is a wonderful goal to have. Below are some ways that I have found to create happiness in my life. Perhaps they’ll inspire you too!
- Get coffee with a loved one once a week
- Find something to laugh or smile about once a day
- Do something for someone else without telling them
- Learn something new about your parents
- Take an art or educational course like ceramics, or another language
- Cook yourself a meal 3 times a week
Start a Trip Fund and Take a Trip!
Whether it’s to a campground in your area or to a foreign country, make time for traveling. Getting out of your normal day-to-day routine can be so rejuvenating and recalibrating. A way I like to save for trips is to earmark a small amount of cash from every paycheck in a “trip fund” or put it in my savings account knowing that a portion of my savings is dedicated to going on a trip. Making space in your budget for things like trips is not something most of us do. Most of the time we are concerned with bills and...well, bills. But if we plan ahead, we can find a way to incorporate more fun into our lives.
Start a Gratitude Jar or Box
A friend of mine once shared that for her resolution she was going to start a “Gratitude Jar”. Every time she felt grateful for something she would write it down and put it in the jar with the goal of filling it up. At the end of the year, she read through all her notes of gratitude and shared wonderful memories with her friends.
When It Comes to Fitness, Try Something New
I don’t know about you but, even though I love fitness and feeling good in my body, I get bored. If I do too much of the same type of exercise, I start to fall off and make excuses not to exercise. What I have found to be a great way to keep myself interested is to create variety in my weekly routines. Some weeks I focus on weights, other weeks I add in yoga, and other weeks I may do a dance class, a run and HIIT class. Keeping myself immersed in the learning aspect of training makes me motivated to continue.
Create Empowering Goals
Instead of creating goals like “Lose 20 lbs” or “Stop eating sweets” - you may consider setting goals that feel empowering when you accomplish them rather than poorly when/if you “fail”. For example:
- Be able to pick up your toddler without back pain
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator to your office for a whole month
- Have more energy throughout the day
- Be able to play with your kids
- Drink half your weight in ounces water everyday
- Ride your bike to work once a week
Create a Bucket List
While we often think of New Year’s resolutions as a time to set goals focused on money or your body, it might be a fun option to create a bucket list instead, like:
- Go skydiving
- Swim in the Pacific Ocean
- Go to an event that requires a fancy dress/tux
- Learn how to ride a bike, skateboard, etc.
- Learn to sing
- Drink out of a coconut on an island
- Take a selfie at one of the wonders of the world
Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) Goals
And, finally, for those of us who still have some health and fitness goals in mind for the new year, make sure you’re setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals. What to consider when setting SMART goals:
Goals that are specific have a significantly greater chance of being accomplished. To make a goal specific, the five “W” questions must be considered:
Who: Who is involved in this goal?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Where is this goal to be achieved?
When: When do I want to achieve this goal?
Why: Why do I want to achieve this goal?
For example, a general goal would be “I want to be stronger.” A more specific goal would be “I will dedicate 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week to exercise.”
To create a successful SMART goal, you must have criteria for measuring progress. If there are no criteria, how will you determine whether you are progressing towards your goal? To make a goal measurable, ask yourself:
How do I know if I have reached my goal?
What is my indicator of progress?
For example, building on the specific goal above: I will workout at home in the morning with a simple bodyweight routine. Every week, I will aim to add one rep to each exercise I do.
For many reasons, you want your goals to be achievable and attainable so you can realize that goal. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself but, at the same time, be able to envision yourself achieving your goal. Ask yourself, “Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing? Are there other ways to achieve my goal?”
For example, if getting a gym membership is not an option for you, you can find plenty of free videos online with exercise routines. You can also opt to go for a run or do a yoga routine.
Perhaps the most important pillar of all, your goal needs to be realistic. A SMART goal is likely realistic if you believe that it can be accomplished. Ask yourself:
Is my goal realistic and within reach?
Is my goal reachable given the time and resources?
Am I ready and able to commit to achieving the goal?
Setting a timeline for your goal is a great way to hold yourself accountable. If the goal is not time constrained, you may end up putting it on the back burner.
And there you have it! I hope your year is filled with growth, strength and happiness! Whatever your goals are this year, remember that you are perfect just the way you are. There is nothing wrong with wanting to grow and evolve in any way that feels good to you, but you are not bound to your goals if they don’t suit you anymore. Creating goals should be a roadmap to a life you are looking forward to but there is also so much to enjoy in the life you are currently in. You are allowed to change your mind, and your path - after all, sometimes life takes you amazing places when you open your mind to infinite possibilities.
Thank you for being you! Happy New Year!