The beginning of the year really is a magical time – you start to see endless possibilities in the next 365 days, strive for things you may have lost sight of, and really want to overall better yourself, whether emotional, professionally, financially, or any way! I LOVE this time of year — and I’m a huge nerd for all the CHANGE and GOALS people set out for on January 1. But I also no longer set resolutions for myself — Instead, I set new habits and goals that are actionable and measurable. Check out my full breakdown of why you should choose habits over resolutions this year, plus I’ve included lots of tips to keep you on track!
SO what’s Wrong with Resolutions?
New Year’s Resolutions are almost like a distant dream that we have no way of tracking.
We typically set a NY Resolution like “be in better shape.” OK… what does this mean? That you’ll be a triathlete by the end of the year or that you’ll just eat once less bags of gummy bears? Who knows!
The problem with resolutions is they are vague and you can’t measure them.
Instead, habits can be tracked, measured and actually achieved.
Do you have 66 Days?
Did you know it takes 66 days for a habit to stick?
That’s SO many days — but that’s because you’re setting up a ROUTINE. So think about just 66 days of doing something consistently, you can form a new HABIT that becomes SECOND NATURE.
So if you think about the long run of your life and what you really want long term, 66 days for MAJOR change doesn’t seem all that big.
So how can we set habits into place and make sure we stick with the task long enough to create the habit?
Well, I’ve been doing LOTS of research on this topic lately. When I was looking at my major goals for 2018 — I realized some serious habits needed to be put into place because consistency is key with the type of goals I’ve set for myself this year.
For example, I want to declutter my house by the end of the year. I can’t just show up one day and tackle my house. Instead, I need to set daily habits to tidy, do laundry, wash dishes, etc.
Another example is that I’d like to get my inbox to zero. (I currently have 40K emails) This is something else that I can’t take care of in one day or even a week. I need to set daily habits in place to tackle this larger goal over time.
If you follow me on Instastory, then you may have seen that I invested in Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner for 2018. This is a quarterly planner that encourages you to focus on your biggest achievement goals for the year along with habit goals you’d like to create.
So needless to say, this planner has really got me focusing on daily/weekly habits that are ultimately setting me up to achieve my bigger goals for the year.
START WITH SETTING SMART GOALS
I decided a few years ago that I wouldn’t make resolutions — instead I live my year by a Word Of the Year AND I set SMART Goals.
I use SMART GOALS for every aspect of life — business, personal, school, fitness, you name it. I even help my middle school students set smart goals each semester and help my consulting clients set smart goals for their social media.
Here’s a breakdown for the SMART acronym. Your goals should be:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant / Risky
T – Time Bound / Trackable
Here’s an example of a SMART goal from last year:
- Run a Half Marathon in under 2.5 hours by January 2018.
- It’s a specific distance that’s measurable, achievable yet challenging, and time-bound with the date.
But goals don’t just happen. There’s no way I could just go randomly run a Half Marathon! You have to outline your STEPS or ACTION PLAN to reach that goal — and that usually includes setting up DAILY or WEEKLY HABITS.
Sure implementing NEW habits or lifestyles can totally uproot your current daily habits/routine, but if it’s something you really want then that’s OK. So maybe if your current habit is sitting on your couch in the evenings watching Netflix, you replace it with going to the gym each night. Do this enough times, and soon enough it’s just part of our routine.
TIPS TO IMPLEMENT HABITS AND KEEP YOU ON TRACK
Start Small To Prevent Overwhelm
Don’t set huge expectations that are likely not to happen. Because when they don’t happen, you feel like you’ve failed. If my goal is to run a Half Marathon, and I’m setting weekly running habits — I wouldn’t start by saying run for an hour everyday. That’s SO MUCH!
Instead, I’d say walk/jog for 30 minutes three times per week.
Or if I want to declutter my entire house (which I do), I wouldn’t say clean an hour every night. Instead, I’m starting with tidy my house for 10 minutes each night before I go to bed.
It’s all about creating bite-size chunks or baby steps that seem do-able to encourage you to keep going.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Plan for specific times to implement your habit and set reminders/alarms.
If it doesn’t get planned, then it probably won’t happen.
I got an Alexa for Christmas and she reminds me to tidy my house each night. I also will say “Hey, Alexa, tell me when it’s been 10 minutes” so I’ll run around the house seeing how much I can get done in that 10 minutes. Once she says my time is up, I’m done. Check that off my list!
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Use bullet journals, planners or even a piece of loose-leaf on your fridge to check off each time you complete your habit/task for the day. Do whatever you gotta do, but PHYSICALLY track your goals SOMEWHERE — not in your head. Plus, something about checking something off daily just feels glorious.
A little progress each day adds up to big results.
Don’t be hard on yourself.
If you miss a day, it’s not the end of the world. Just keep going. Pick up the next day and try again.
Research actually shows that if you miss a day here or there, it doesn’t affect your success of setting the habit in place.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
Think About Your Why.
This is an idea I’ve stolen from Michael Hyatt. Always go back to why is this goal or habit important? Sometimes we get bogged down, disconnected or lose sight of why we’re doing something in the first place. When you feel like this, consider why this was important to you to begin with. If you remind yourself of why it’s important, it can be a way to recharge, inspire and motivate yourself to keep going.
If you realize it’s not important to you, then maybe it’s time to re-evalute or adjust.
When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.
p.s. Here are some personal habits I’m working on now this first quarter of 2018:
- Tidy my house for 10 minutes per day.
- My main goal is to declutter my entire house by the end of the year. This is a tiny actionable step each day that will help me achieve that goal.
- I’m the world’s worst housekeeper, so 10 minutes per day seems doable to start.
- Engage/interact on Instagram for 10 minutes per day.
- Ok, so I once asked my friend who has like 40k followers how she had so many followers on Instagram and she said because she spends about FIVE HOURS on Instagram each day. Holy Crap. I don’t have time for that. I currently don’t spend hardly any minutes a day interacting on Instagram (and obviously I don’t see that much growth). So I’m just starting SMALL. I don’t have 5 hours — or even half an hour to spend on this, but obviously a growth in Instagram can lead to bigger brand collaborations, a bigger/better/closer community with you guys, so it IS important, but I’m starting small this first quarter.
- Delete/Sort/Respond to that day’s emails.
- Confession: I currently have more than 40,000 unread emails. One of my biggest goals is to get to an inbox zero. I can’t tell you how many emails that could potentially lead to new clients, collaborations, etc. that I never respond to. So my ridiculous inbox is causing anxiety, is unorganized and is leading to a lot of missed opportunities. I know I can’t tackle 40,000 emails in a day.. or even a week or month. BUT if I can start small with just taking care of that day’s emails ON THAT DAY it’s a start. Plus, I can block off time later to go through all the current emails. So that 40K isn’t going anywhere, but at least it won’t get BIGGER.
What habits are you working on setting for yourself in 2018??
p.s. Outfit Details:
I wanted to also tell you about this Cable Detail Chenelle Cardigan from Magnolia Boutique!!
I’ve been obsessed with this sweater trend lately and it really is perfect for our Baton Rouge weather. Layer it over a comfortable tee, or wear it to work (I’m really Team Cardigan for work!) — but it’s really versatile. Plus, once you realize how soft the fabric is, you’ll find plenty of ways to fit it into your look, promise! I wore mine for like 12 hours straight and didn’t even want to take it off once I got home! lol
Check it out here & you can get 10% off when you sign up for their email list!