Despite what all the memes might try to tell you about how it's inevitable — and humorous — that you'll fail at all your attempts to be a better version of yourself starting in the new year, the reality is that simply doesn't have to be true. Yes, it can be tough to stick to lofty goals you set for yourself on Jan. 1, but it is also totally possible to use the gift of a new calendar year to put new healthy habits into practice.
For me personally, this last year was proof I could make resolutions that I actually accomplished and stuck with throughout the whole year. Here are some simple steps to consider when trying to take your goals from resolutions to reality.
Write them down
Find a journal or a piece of paper or even a note in your phone, something you'll be able to reference easily, and write down your goals for the year. You can get crazy with spreadsheets and categories and pretty colored pens, or you can just simply bullet out a few of your resolutions in the front of your notebook. The key is having a record of what you want to accomplish so you can revisit it often, and also be able to check in on your progress throughout the year.
Have a plan
A goal on its own is great, but having actionable steps planned out for achieving that goal makes you so much more likely to be successful. For instance, if you know you want to start doing more yoga, you'll probably want to decide your budget for classes on a monthly basis, where you might want to take them, and what days and times of the week work best for your schedule. Also, how will you measure this goal? Determine what will cause you to look back at the end of the year and be proud of yourself for achieving what you set out to do — i.e. making it to at least two classes a week for the year, or being able to nail a pose that was difficult for you when you first started.
Share your resolutions with others
I'm a big fan of asking people what their goals are for the coming year and getting to share mine with them in return. This past year, I spent NYE hosting a small dinner party at my house before hitting up our local bar to ring in the new year, and over dinner we all took turns sharing our resolutions for the year. This practice invites the people close to you into your plans and allows for greater accountability throughout the year and built-in cheerleaders as you start accomplishing your goals!
If you're ambitious or overly excited about things like me, it can be easy to get carried away with coming up with one too many goals for your year. Be mindful not to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to planning for the new year. Try limiting your big resolutions to two or three things you want to work on, or come up with one goal per "category" in your life — i.e. health, fitness, work, finance, etc. If you have too many goals to keep track of, or you choose something that's too big of a leap from where you're at now (such as going from not meditating at all to trying to spend 30 minutes every day meditating come Jan. 1), your plan won't be sustainable, and you'll be more likely to give up.
Celebrate your milestones
Choosing to become a more healthy and full version of yourself is no small feat. And making those changes shouldn't go unrecognized or uncelebrated by you! As you reach certain milestones you set out for yourself — turning your phone off for two hours every night for a week straight, learning one new healthy recipe per week, making a budget and sticking to it for a month — come up with ways to reward yourself that will make you motivated to keep going. Growth and progress should be celebrated, and it's important to create moments to be proud of yourself for the good things you're doing for your mind, body, and soul.
End-of-year reflection and goal-setting doesn't have to be hard or scary. Keep some of these simple tips in mind as you approach your new year's practices, and most of all, allow yourself to be excited about the positive changes you're choosing to embrace for your life. Cheers and a happy and healthy new year to you!