How many times have we created a killer list of new year’s resolutions that we’re sure will turn us into the super-foodie, yoga master, book worm, marathon runner, fitness model (or whatever) that we want to be – or at least think we should be? And how often do we go through the year feeling guilty because we’re struggling to complete even half of the things we planned?
In theory, new year’s resolutions are great – but in action they often overlook the fact that self-improvement is a process. We can’t make instant changes in our lives that will turn us into brand-new people.
So… we’re gonna go ahead and cross this out:
New year, new me.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not knocking goal-setting. But maybe there’s a different way to do resolutions for 2018 that can help us better ourselves, without the unnecessary pressure.
Here are a few alternatives to new year’s resolutions to consider:
1. Setting Intentions
Think: setting intentions for the year, instead of resolutions. If you tend to be hard on yourself, these can be an awesome, gentle way to set goals. Intentions can still be specific and realistic, but they put the focus on our mindset instead of just our accomplishments. We love these examples of positive intentions from Brit + Co:
“Be as kind to myself as I’d be to my best friend.”
“Look forward to exercise like it’s a luxury rather than an annoying obligation.”
Micro-resolutions: small changes turned into daily habits. In other words, maybe we shouldn’t decide to go to the the gym every day in 2018 if we’ve never worked out before. Start small and think realistic (like taking the stairs at work once a day). Micro-resolutions are a great alternative because they’re not as daunting. They can be small changes to activities we’re already doing – instead of something totally new/unfamiliar. And, maybe most importantly, the smaller the resolution, the more specific and personal it can be.
3. Theme of the Year
Choosing a theme can be a great way to guide our actions throughout the year. It can be something like: being present to the moment, having more fun, or being spontaneous. Or it can even be as simple as a word: adventure, balance, or contentment. It’s something small and simple we can come back to when the going gets tough, when we have decisions to make, or just when we need a little extra encouragement throughout the year.
4. Bucket Lists
It’s not often that we look at new year’s resolutions as something we look forward to in our year. They usually end up becoming some sort of burden or obligation as time goes on. But bucket lists are fun! They include the things we’ve always wanted to do but keep putting off. So, what if for 2018 we set our new year’s goal to: JUST DO IT (thanks, Nike!). What if we went into the year thinking about all the great, fun (maybe even selfish) things we’re going to do this year – not all the ways we’re going to deprive ourselves of the finer things in life?
5. Anticipation Lists
Similar to bucket lists, anticipation lists are a visible way to record what we’re looking forward to in the year ahead. They can help us focus on the positive and be grateful for the good things happening in our lives. Think of it as your: “positive vibes only” list. Sounds like a pretty sweet way to kick in the new year!