So it’s been a while since you last made those New Year’s resolutions and maybe even a couple of months since you may have broken a few… Don’t be too hard on yourself though, everyone breaks their resolutions from time to time and it’s a lot of hard work trying to keep them 365 days of the year!
We often take comfort in the fact that if we do indeed break a few of our resolutions during the year or forget what they were, we can just wait for another year to start and begin the goal setting process all over again. But why only make this an annual exercise? Why do we wait to set our objectives instead of continually updating them? Now could be a great time to set New Month’s resolutions and begin achieving them every 30 days instead (may seem a bit more realistic too!
The 3 fundamentals of establishing goals
There are three fundamental elements to establishing more constructive goals and becoming a more productive person over the coming months: willpower, habit creation and bridging the gap between what you intend to accomplish and what you do accomplish.
- Every person has a limited amount of willpower and once it’s used up, then that’s it. We tend to exhaust most of our willpower during the day, for example: waking up early, going to the gym, eating a healthy breakfast and lunch, staying focused at work. Towards the end of the day, we are too tired to continue resisting temptations and usually give in like ordering a pizza or having a few drinks. Continuing our willpower strength across the entire day or even week is a difficult task to matter. That’s why it has to be done every day, pushing through our negative thoughts of giving up. This leads us to the next point…
- Our New Year’s resolutions usually relate to habits that we want to form but just haven’t quite gotten there yet. It’s tough to break old habits like sleeping in, eating chocolate, smoking or biting our nails. It’s even harder to replace the old habits with better and newer ones that could improve our life day to day. This is why it’s crucial to get into a repetitive routine from the start until it becomes something that comes naturally. If you find it difficult to go out and meet new people but it’s something you really want to do, then start slowly and begin creating a habit each day. Build confidence by talking to a stranger for a minute each day, go to at least one social event a week, talk and interact more with other social circles. Habits can be broken to form new ones if the effort is put in.
- The intention gap is something we are all guilty of – we intend to do something or change something (and we feel proud that we even created an intention) but actually turning this into a reality is a whole other story. There is often a wall of challenges to climb over before we can bridge the intention gap: procrastination, lack of willpower and temptation all get in our way. Making actual changes and completing resolutions lies at the heart of productivity. Intentions can turn into actions if we try hard enough, but we have to want to try and that’s the tricky part.
So stop waiting for January 1st and start anew each month! Resolve to eat better, sleep more, get outside and exercise more, spend less and give more to charity. Whatever you think will make your life better and more fulfilled, start right now and if you fall short of your goals… well there’s always another month to start again!
So where to start: maybe by compiling that monthly bucket list with a couple of fitness, financial, social and career orientated aims. We give you a helping hand with some resolution ideas to begin for each month; break it down to get on top of your goals!
The Calendar of Resolutions
January: focus on fitness
To start the year with a bang, get your health sorted and get fit! Start your first 30 days by trying new sports/classes/routines and get into the habit of stretching and getting up a little earlier for a run or some yoga. Maybe have a couple of objectives throughout the month like 30 minutes of cardio every day or walking 10,000 steps. Buy some new gym gear and try a new workout routine; whatever it takes to get you motivated to move each day.
February: personal reflection
The next month can start to incorporate more reflection on your personal happiness by understanding what’s good for your soul. You can start meditating each morning before starting your day or keep a journal to write down some of your thoughts and reflect back on those times throughout the month. Perhaps taking up reading could be more beneficial for your happiness and this can vary from novels to magazines to blogs.
March: food for thought
We have all had a resolution about nutrition and diet at some time in our lives. But that doesn’t mean there have to be dramatic changes to the way we eat. Start out slowly by eating a piece of fruit and a couple of veggies daily. Make sure you’re also aware of how many glasses of water you’re drinking and stay hydrated. Eliminating some sugary foods or caffeine/alcohol could also be a few choices you make each week. Stay up to date with nutritional news and read articles on food and health to give you some more food resolution ideas. Keeping track of yourself in a diet diary is also a handy way to stick to your targets.
April: reducing stress
Taking a moment to breathe and calm ourselves is an important part of any day. Sometimes with our heavy work load, piling bills and personal commitments, our stress levels rocket through the roof. Make sure you take the time to shift your attentions on your stress and work out a way to reduce it. Go for a long walk, get to bed a little earlier, take some time off work – think of all the little things you could do each week to make sure you are feeling more calm and relaxed in your day to day duties.
May: improving personal finances
This should a common practice throughout the year, but maybe it’s time to take one month of reviewing and changing money habits and applying better budgeting targets. Begin with a budgeting spreadsheet and keep track of what you’re spending and where. Learn to save money in different ways such as packing a lunch for work rather than eating out or searching for discounts when shopping. Clearing out clutter in your house and selling what you don’t need can also make you some extra money you may need. Start learning the benefits behind insurance plans and policies and what extras you’re entitled too as well. Read up on finance and get clever with how you spend and make money.
June: weighing up career opportunities
If you find yourself struggling to find any meaning or happiness with your job and you feel a bit stuck with your career, now is the time to reflect and change it around. You’re only halfway through the year and it’s never too late to shift your career path to something entirely different. Maybe you need to quit and take some time off to job search and work out where you want to work. Perhaps establishing your own business could be your ultimate goal. Whatever it is, you’re halfway through the year, now is the time to change your mind and make the next six months even better for your career.
July: acts of kindness
We can sometimes forget doing those few random acts of kindness can make someone’s day or even month! Put some time aside to think of a few selfless deeds you could do each week. A few suggestions could be donating to charity, helping a stranger carry their grocery bags, paying for someone’s parking ticket. If you want to think bigger, then get involved with a non-for-profit organisation to help those less fortunate. It’s the little things that count after all.
August: spreading your social circles
Whether it’s making new friends or reconnecting with old ones, expanding your social circle to include friendships from all walks of life can greatly improve your daily interactions. Pick up the phone and call your old school or university friends and see what they’re up to. Start sitting with different people on your work breaks. Go out more and socialise with people outside of your group of friends. Don’t limit your connections and spread yourself out more; your weekends will be booked with social activities in no time!
September: reflect on your relationships
This could be in relation to your family relationships, romantic endeavours, work relationships or friendships. If you’ve been slightly slack in spending time with your mum, husband, sister, daughter, boyfriend, best friend etc, then start thinking about how you can change your ways! Developing relationships and keeping them strong is one of the most important resolutions you can make this year. Call, write, visit more and invest the time into each relationship you have formed. These are the people who care about you the most after all, work on the relationships to make sure they will last.
October: learn something new
You’re never too old to pick up a new skill, language or hobby – what’s stopping you? Before the New Year begins, start something new earlier and continue it into 2017. Take up a sport like boxing or rowing. Not into sports? Try something a little more leisurely like croqueting or making a veggie patch. Taking up something that you usually would never dream of doing can put some spirit back into your step. Hobbies can keep you busy, entertained and feeling more accomplished the more you practice.
November: travel away from home
Taking a trip doesn’t mean you have to jet off overseas and spend all your money in Italy or France (if you do though, then go for it!) Take a day or two a week to go somewhere different and change up your routine. Most people can agree that a normal week goes something like this: home to work to gym (sometimes) to home. Then on the weekends we may take a trip to our local park or cafe, but a lot of it is spent resting at home or spending time with our loved ones. The constant routine can make us a little stir crazy so it’s a good idea to escape from time to time. This could mean a two hour drive to the beach or a trip interstate; the world is really your oyster. Travel the way you want and get away from your home town, the fresh air will do you good.
December: face your fears, stick to your habits and reflect
You’ve made it to the last month of the year, you’ve made many changes to your lifestyle and habits, but now the real question is: could you continue these resolutions into the New Year? Making habitual changes is one thing but actually maintaining your goals (and even adding to them) for another year is the real test. In December, it’s time to decide on any last minute objectives you would like to achieve in the month before beginning all over again. Facing your fears could be a great way to round off the year. If you’ve always hated heights, try bungee jumping or climbing a bridge. If you’re too afraid to talk to the cute guy or girl you see every morning on your way to work, find the courage to strike up a conversation. Face your fears and prepare to see a huge change in yourself when December comes to an end.
So what changes will you be willing to make for a month at a time? Start slowly and begin to build your goals based on what you’ve achieved each month. Don’t worry too much if everything doesn’t go to plan with your resolutions, you always have next month to start fresh!