If I stuck to every New Years resolution I’ve ever made, I’d be ordering a healthy lunch in fluent Spanish on the beach in Tenerife while wearing a bikini that proudly showcases my abs, and you would be reading this blog along with thousands of other people.
Instead, I’m sitting on my couch bundled up in a fluffy bathrobe and socks to avoid turning on the heat, I just ate slices of deli meat for lunch while conversing in English to my dog, all while my abs remain hidden underneath a solid layer of fat. Oh and if you’re reading this and you aren’t my mom, congratulations to me, I just doubled my reader base.
Why are New Years resolutions so hard to stick to? Why does motivation tend to leave us as soon as February hits? If you want answers to those questions, ask a smart person. Or just type it out on a blog and call it good. As someone who easily loses motivation in the world of self-improvement, I’m selfishly making this blog post so that it’s in writing and on the Internet for the world to see and to keep me accountable – I am going to stick to my resolutions this year. Now when anyone Googles my name in the future, they’ll see this blog post and will immediately know whether or not I’m a failure. Sorry, future me.
Even though many people go into a new year overflowing with motivation, they also go into it with a lot of self-loathing.
“My finances suck.”
“I only have one dog.”
I could go on. For many of us, resolutions stem from feelings of inadequacy. While it’s good to know your flaws and always be in search of way to improve yourself, you need to add in a little self-love to the equation, something I truly struggle with.
My fiancé and I spent Christmas back home in Colorado and after saying something self-deprecating, my future mother-in-law said, “I wish you had Michael’s eyes so you could see yourself the way he sees you.” Hearing her say that really got me thinking – if you spend all of your time focusing on your flaws, it doesn’t give your strengths any time to shine.
You know when someone asks you what you like to do for fun and you freeze up? Your internal dialogue goes, “Is sleep a viable answer? I like Netflix… Okay, this person is going to think I’m lazy if I say that. Eating is cool, but we all have to do that. Come on, be interesting. Say wakeboarding! You’ve done that. No, don’t say wakeboarding, you did it once and you sucked at it. Come on, think, what do I do for fun?”
Finally you realize these inner thoughts have been going on way too long and you say something stupid, like watching cat videos, and it isn’t until after the conversation you remember that you love hiking with your dog, skiing, reading murder mysteries, salsa dancing with your partner, cooking ethnic foods, things that truly make you interesting, and all this person knows about you is that you like to watch cat videos when you secretly hate cats.
Now if someone asked you what your flaws are, I bet you’d be able to answer that much more efficiently. We easily pick ourselves apart and rarely build ourselves up. I made a list of the resolutions I want to put fourth in 2018, which I still intend to stick to, but I’m adding something else on there – learn how to see yourself the way others do, unless that person is an asshole.
So let’s talk about sticking to a resolution. Since I’m the first person to always give up on a resolution, maybe don’t heed my advice, but I’m going to implement something new this year. Something that worked for me in a mid-year’s resolution in 2017. Coming up with a resolution is only half the battle; make it stick by explaining to yourself why it’s important for you to make that change.
If your resolution is to read more books, ask yourself why that’s important to you. You want to meet more people, so you join a book club. Maybe you want to know more about a particular subject. Perhaps you want to have all of the best words like Donald Trump. You want to expand your imagination and become more understanding of other people and cultures. Or you might be looking for a mental escape from our crazy world by delving into a new one. Whatever it may be, truly manifest your resolution by telling yourself why it’s important to you.
My fiancé and I both came up with our own lists of resolutions, then sat down and shared with each other why we picked each one. We decided that in an effort to keep these resolutions and hold each other accountable, whenever we have dinner together (he’s a pilot and is gone many nights), we will take 10 minutes after we eat to put away our phones and write down what we’ve done that day/week in the name of self-improvement, whether that’s picking a healthier meal at lunchtime, putting money into savings instead of spending it, etc.
In addition to acknowledging my efforts towards self-improvement, I will write down one thing I did that day that I absolutely slayed. Maybe I had a great day of sales at work, or maybe my skin was looking fresh that morning. Whatever it may be, I have to write down something that shows my self-appreciation.
I love that I have such a wonderfully supportive fiancé who loves me for me, yet isn’t afraid to hold me accountable. Putting this information into a blog post is a little personal, but it will definitely hold me more accountable now. The more people you share something with, the more likely it will manifest itself into something great because you’re afraid of failure and letting people down. Share your New Year’s resolutions with someone – a friend, a significant other, a Tinder match you’ve never met – and make sure that person holds you accountable. Self-improvement is hard. If it wasn’t, we’d all be Beyoncé by now. Give yourself more credit for steps you take towards bettering yourself and don’t get down on yourself for slipping up every now and then. That’s my number one goal for 2018. So without further adieu, here are my 2018 goals and resolutions:
- Get married. Duh.
- Buy a house
- Grow my blog
- Less living through a screen, more living in the present
- Make a budget and stick to it
- Travel more
- Squat 100 lbs
- Feel good in a crop top
- Compliment more, complain less
- Meet more people
- Floss daily
- Pet more dogs
- Read more
- Improve flexibility – be able to do the splits again
- Do a pull-up
- Practice 10 min of Spanish 5x/week
- Be better to myself
It’s a long list, but nothing on there is impossible. To make resolutions easier to stick to, make them as specific as possible. I’m the type of person where if I wrote down, “practice Spanish more often,” I’d do one Duolingo lesson at the beginning of the week and call it good for the rest. Make it challenging, but also don’t make perfection your goal. I want to get better at Spanish since it was my dad’s first language, but I’m being realistic with myself in noting that becoming fluent within a year is highly unlikely. The more realistic your goals are, the more likely you’ll feel encouraged to work towards and achieve them.
Surround yourself with people who encourage you, who motivate you, who want to see you succeed. Resolutions are hard, so utilize the buddy system to help you with accountability. If your friends hate New Year’s resolutions, find a way to bribe or blackmail them into going to the gym or conversing in Spanish with you. And while we’re on the topic of bribes, it’s okay to bribe yourself. AKA: Treat yo self. While my fiancé and I are saving for a house, we have different treats for when we hit certain milestones, like fancy date night or a weekend getaway. If raising a dog has taught me anything, it’s that treats are great motivators. Just use human treats, not dog treats.
Now this has gone on for far too long, so let’s wrap it up. Long story short, resolutions towards self-improvement are good, learning to love yourself is even better, and sticking to a resolution is a resolution all in itself. What are your 2018 goals and resolutions? Let me know in the comments and as always, thank you for reading and stay shameless!