I hope everyone has an amazing Christmas holiday with their friends and family. I hope it is full of JOY and memories are made!
I am one of those people that love the new year because I love new beginnings and the opportunity to think about my goals, what to focus on, and develop my plans to achieve what I want. Some may say I am extreme when it comes to setting goals and reaching them but that is just how I am built. Knowing that not everyone is the same I wanted to give some suggestions on how to set goals and ideas on some common New Year’s “resolutions” and how to take smaller steps to achieve your goals.
When you set a goal, you want it to be specific. If you say “I want to lose weight” what does that really mean? If you lose 1 pound you have reached your goal. If you say you “want to save money” and you don’t stop and get coffee one day, you “saved” money. So be very specific. For example, I want to lose 10lbs by May 1st or I want to save $5,000 this year. Once you have your specific goal, you need to come up with a plan to reach that goal.
If you want to save $5,000 this year that is $416.67 a month or $96 a week. What can you commit to cutting out of your weekly expenses to save $96. Maybe you don’t go out to eat as much, you stop buying coffee in the morning, you don’t buy extra food when you go grocery shopping, etc.
You will also want to track your goal to make sure you are on track to reach your goal. There may be a week you save $150 and another week is only $75 and that is okay because your goal was $5,000 for the year.
Recap on setting goals:
1. Be specific with your goals
2. Create a plan to reach your goals
3. Track your goals so you know if you are on track or need to change your plan.
Let’s talk about baby steps to the “common” resolutions/goals.
Common Resolution #1 – Lose Weight.
We all know one of the big new years resolutions is to “lose weight”, “get healthy”, “eat better” or “workout more.” All of these are very broad, making your goal to focus on your overall wellness is a perfect goal. Here are some baby steps to do that.
- Eat 2 fruits and 2 vegetables a day
- Move your body for 30 mins every day
- Limit your alcohol consumption
- Drink more water, every day drink a gallon of water
- Increase your lean protein
- Limit the amount of processed foods you eat.
- When you go out to eat look at the menu before you go and select your healthy meal, skip the bread, and drink water.
Book suggestion – The Obesity Fix, by James DiNicolantonio
Common Resolution #2 – Save more money.
Everyone has a different definition of what “saving money” is, what “financial freedom” means, and what “out of debt” looks like. There are some small challenges you can do to get you closer to whatever you consider “saving more money.”
- Bring your lunch to work every day, no more going out or having something delivered
- Make your coffee at home.
- Do a no spending month (you can start with a week if you need to), only buy essentials for the month.
- Pick an item you have way too many of and don’t buy anymore for the year. For me it’s leggings I have so many leggings and am always tempted to buy more, yet I have no need for more.
- Set up an automatic transfer into a savings account, kind of like a 401K payment, it comes up before you even know it is there.
- Declutter your house and sell items you no longer need or use and put that money into savings.
- Plan out all of your meals for the week and stick to just those items when you go grocery shopping, this is actually hard to do but it’s a great way to save money. I have found having my groceries delivered helps me save money because I don’t buy extra items.
- Find fun date nights and days with your spouse and friends. Go for a hike, a picnic, a walk, book club, game night, etc.
Book suggestions –
Know Yourself, Know Your Money, Rachel Cruze
Total Money Makeover, By Dave Ramsey
Women & Money, By Suze Orman
Your Money or Your Life, By Vicki Robin
Rich Dad Poor Dad, By Robert Kiyosaki
Common Resolution #3- Personal or Professional Growth.
This is another vague resolution because growth means different things to everyone. One thing that I do every year in January is look at an area of my life that I feel I need to learn more about or grow in. For example, this past year was emotional intelligence for me. Once I determined that was what I wanted to focus on I found multiple books about it, podcasts, videos, and articles to help me grown in that area. The first step is to find where you have a weakness (an opportunity) and start searching for ways to improve. If you are having a hard time figuring out what area you want to focus on ask someone you trust to tell you the truth of where you may fall short. I know it’s not easy to hear but everyone has areas to work on, remember no one is perfect.
- Books are a great way to grow, read 10 pages a day of a nonfiction book every day.
- Find podcasts that focus on the area that you want to grown in. Listen to them when you walk or drive.
- TedTalks and YouTube both have so many videos and resources on endless subjects, that is a great way to learn from others.
- If you are looking to grown professionally ask your boss or mentor for a “stretch” project, to help you get out of your comfort zone to force you to learn something new.
- Sign up for a class in an area you want to learn more about, for example cooking, entrepreneurship, music, art, meditation, etc.
The Mountain is You, by Brianna Wiest
Atomic Habits, by James Clear
Common Resolution #4 – Being Happier
Happier again is a different meaning for everyone. When I think of happier, I think being more grateful, being present, and finding joy. The first step to achieving this goal would be to add a few daily exercises into your day. The first one being a gratitude practice. To me this is the easiest way see that what you have is enough. The second daily practice I would suggest would be meditating. I know a lot of people don’t understand meditation, but it can truly teach you how to be present.
- Every day write down 5 things you are grateful for that happened in the last 24 hours, this practice takes less than 2 minutes a day but it is very powerful.
- Download the app Insight Timer, it’s a free meditation app that lets you select from thousands of meditations. I would suggest you start with guided meditations that are about 5 minutes or less until you get used to sitting still for 5 mins.
- Journaling is a great way to sort out what happy means to you, spend time daily or weekly journalling what you are thinking about, the emotions you are going through, and your dreams.
Joy Seeker, by Shannon Kaiser
The Gratitude Diaries, By Janice Kaplan
No Mud, No Lotus, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Happier Now, Nataly Kogan
Stolen Focus, by Johann Hari
Journal suggestion- 52 Lists for Happiness: Weekly Journaling Inspiration for Positivity, Balance, and Joy, by Moorea Seal