How crazy is it that spring is already here? It's pretty cool outside here, but feelings of newness and invigoration are undeniable for me. Flowers are blooming... okay, they mostly bloomed in the 75º February weather and froze over in March. Regardless, spring is about new beginnings and new life.
That goes for the baby squirrels under my deck, the tulips poking out their leaves, and all the ideas I've been hoarding in my notes app.
I have a question for you, and I want you to be honest. How are your New Years resolutions going?
If they're not going so well, know you're not alone. According to a U.S. News & World Report story, more than 80 percent of resolutions probably failed more than a month ago. There are a number of reasons NYR don't work out for people—one of which, I believe, involves the very name.
New Year's resolutions. New. Year's. Resolutions.
The funny thing about today? It's still 365 days away from this date last year, and next year. I think the holiday we call New Year's is important to recognize, and can be a great time to reset and try to change. Symbolism can be a great tool.
On the other hand, we make SUCH a big deal out of it that it can directly set us back.
New Year's Day is a temporal landmark. That's the idea that when there's a clean restart, people are more likely to actually turn their aspirations into reality.
The thing is, New Years comes at an inconvenient time for change. How many cookies did your family send home with you after Christmas? How much candy and leftovers do you have from all the festivities? Do you just let it all go to waste for your new lifestyle? Not to mention that you likely let up on your workout schedule and developed some hard-to-break habits over the holidays.
One study found that people buy more healthy food in January... but their junk-food-buying habits didn't change from what they were spending over the holiday season (during which they bought 15 percent more junk food than usual).
Don't get me wrong, adding healthy foods in is a great way to change your habits, but at some point you've got to take some of the junk food out of your cart to make a difference.
Making new habits takes time, and if you try to do everything at once it can be overwhelming. It can also be incredibly discouraging if you falter by mid-January.
Today is the third day of spring—but that doesn't even matter. Every day is what you make it. It can be anything you want it to be! If take advantage of that, maybe March 21st of 2018 can be your one-year anniversary of finally making that change you wanted to make.
So right here, right now, I challenge you to make a plan for one thing you want to change in the next year. Oh, and I want to help!
Download your free guide here, and then come back and keep reading below to make your plan!
Making the plan
Step 1: Choose one goal you want to achieve in the next year.
Follow the guidelines below to help you out.
- It has to be something you can reasonably achieve in the next year. Don't choose things that aren't within your control, or that could take years to achieve.
- It has to be challenging. Yes, it has to be achievable, but choose something you've struggled with for a while, or that isn't so easy you could do it in a week. We're looking for a transformation of some sort. If you don't challenge yourself, you won't grow.
- It has to be worth it! Really think about why you want it. Make sure it's something you really want, or you won't do it.
Step 2: Set objectives to make your goal concrete.
What has to happen for you to reach your goal? Let's go back to that example of "getting healthy." Getting healthier means different things to different people. You might want to lose weight, build muscle, lean out, lower your cholesterol, run a marathon, or even just breathe easier on the stairs.
Choose three end results that make up the big goal you chose, and write them down. But be specific! Instead of just vaguely saying lose weight, say how much you want to lose. Say where you want your cholesterol to be. Say what kind of exercise you want to be able to do. Make it measurable so that at the end of the year you can know exactly how far you've come.
Step 3: Break it down into action steps.
The best way to achieve a goal is to break it into bite-sized steps you can incorporate daily. So what small steps do you have to take to make your objectives a reality? Choose a few actions that will help you meet each of your objectives.
So if one of your objectives was to lose 20 pounds, maybe you decide to do that by eating home-cooked meals at least five days a week, exercising for at least 10 minutes five days a week, and only eat dessert twice a week or on special occasions.
These actions should be things you can start doing immediately, and that you can feasibly stick to. I'm not saying they shouldn't be difficult, but if you're out of shape, committing to working out for an hour five days a week right away is a recipe for failure, or even injury. If your favorite hobby is baking, cutting out sugar entirely probably isn't an option you'll stick to for long.
Remember, you can always adjust your goals to make them more challenging as you get used to them.
Step 4: Check in and adjust as you go.
Set a date each month in your calendar to evaluate how things are going. Are you making progress? Have you faltered or given up on certain action steps or objectives? That's okay!
It's not ideal, but now is the time to think about whether you need to adjust your goals to make them more doable, pivot, or suck it up and renew your commitment.
Setting an actual date in ink will help you keep yourself accountable instead of just giving up until next year.
Step 5: Evaluate how well you met your goal, and move forward!
Listen, I want you to go at your goal with everything you've got. The thing is, nobody is perfect. We all have our struggles. Don't let all your self-worth or happiness be conditional on whether or not you met your goal.
Be happy with any progress you made! Celebrate your successes and think of ways to keep the train rolling ahead! Make a plan so you don't fall back into your old habits.
If you didn't meet your goals, let it go and move on. You tried, and at least you have a starting point. You know your weaknesses and what you need to work on. You know what obstacles you'll face and
You can take this plan or leave it, but I really encourage you to think about where you want to . There are so many ways to make a change, and I don't presume to have the best one. I just know structure, mindfulness and planning are what work for me.
Just remember, you don’t have to do it all at once. You don’t have to do it alone. You don't have to quit because you had a bad couple of weeks.
Over the next few posts I'll be sharing some of my goals, tips for making big changes in the kitchen, and more!
I would LOVE to hear about changes you're making in your life. In the comments tell me ONE big change you want to make this year, and how you're going to make it.
Will you use this plan? Do you have a different method?
Are you struggling with anything related to cooking or food? Can I help? Let me know :)