Do you know those people who are absolutely terrible at New Year’s resolutions? The ones who can barely make it to February before they kick that well-intentioned goal to the curb once and for all?
Yeah, here’s the embarrassing thing: I’m one of those people.
In so many aspects of my life, I like to consider myself a fairly committed person—I follow through on things. But, any time I’ve made a resolution, I typically find myself making all sorts of excuses by the time the second week of January rolls around.
While I’m typically all too happy to throw up my hands and give up on those trips to the gym (seriously, who was I kidding?), it’s still discouraging. I end up feeling like I miserably flopped. I let myself down.
However, here’s the thing I’ve come to realize: It’s not that I failed, it’s that I didn’t set myself up for success in the first place. If I’ve proven over the course of the last 10 years or so that those standard resolutions don’t stick, why do I continue to set them for myself? Do I just like to feel disappointed?
Well, my friends, this year I’m changing the name of the game. I’m bidding adieu to those traditional promises that have never actually worked for me, and doing something totally different instead.
Gasp! No Resolutions? What Are You Going to Do?
Honestly, despite how I like to represent myself on Instagram, this concept isn’t groundbreaking.
As a matter of fact, it’s almost painfully simple: I’m going to sit down and pick a theme for each month of the year. Then, during that month, I’m going to do as many things as I can to maximize that assigned theme.
This approach bears some similarities to the idea of “framing your year.” But, what I like about this is that it works with a shorter timeframe. Rather than needing to keep something up for a whole 365 days, I get to switch things up every month.
To start a new month, I’ll write the chosen theme on the first day in my planner. Then, throughout the rest of the month, I’ll log the different things I did that contributed to that overarching idea. At the end of the month (and even the year)? I’ll have a detailed breakdown of everything I did to improve myself.
I’m still working on finalizing what my various themes will be, but I’ve settled on a few that I know for sure I want to work into the calendar:
From exercising more to freeing up more time for friendships, many of my previous resolutions have fallen into the buckets outlined above. So, I know those themes are solid choices in terms of pushing me to do the things I actually want to do.
Why I Think This Approach Will Work
This twist excites me for a few reasons. First and foremost, as I mentioned previously, I’m encouraged by the fact that I’m not roping myself into a year-long commitment, only to end up feeling disheartened when I can’t stick with it.
I think the constant switching of gears and the changing focus on new themes will keep things fresh, exciting, and motivating (which, let’s face it, I need).
Additionally, I love the variety that comes along with making a shift every month. Rather than needing to stick with one thing, I have the opportunity to explore a bunch of different life changes (both small and large). I might just land on some hobbies, passions, and routines that really work with me—things that I want to incorporate well beyond the one-year mark.
I’m excited to see how this approach ends up panning out. One thing’s for sure: It can’t go any worse than my previous resolutions.
Want to try this with me? Sit down and map out your themes for the next few months and then just get started! Oh, and don’t forget to tweet me and keep me updated on your own progress (and, you know, give me some accountability).
TopicsAchieving Goals , Tips , New Year's , Resolutions , Goals , Syndication , Productivity , Tools & Skills , Trending Topics
Photo of person writing courtesy of izusek/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, productivity, and the freelance life. In addition to The Muse, she's a contributor all over the web and dishes out research-backed advice for places like Atlassian, Trello, Toggl, Wrike, The Everygirl, FlexJobs, and more. She's also an Employment Advisor at a local college, and loves helping students prepare to thrive in careers (and lives!) they love. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her two rescue mutts or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author