New Years resolutions are anomalous. Some people have an idea of what they want to improve, some have specific measurable goals, some have one word to define their upcoming year… I’ve tried them all, unsuccessfully. A year is an awfully long time to keep track of one thing. Our lives are ever changing and our goals should be self renewing which is why it is so hard to keep with your one resolution for a full 365 days.
For me, a new year marks a new focus.
This year I am trying something different. I have long term goals in mind that I will work at in seemingly tiny increments, one day at a time, until I reach my goal: whenever it may be. My two focuses are similar to the standard resolutions:
Losing weight, building muscle, drinking less or eating better have been everyone’s resolution at one point or another. Long-term speaking, 40 lbs lost is my goal. The reasons are straightforward and so simple but as I’ve looked back at past resolutions, this goal has been the same since 2014. That sort of makes me feel like a huge failure. Thankfully, I have a new plan to reach my goal… small steps.
I’ve been working with a health coach at Thrive Culture where I work on habits that will re-shape my behavior over 2017. The year long program gives one habit to work on every two weeks in which you build upon throughout the year. The first three habits I have layered are washing my face twice/day, eating slowly (aprox. 15-20 min/meal) and eating until I’m 80% full. I’ve had a video chat every other Monday with my health coach Michael to discuss my progress and talk about what’s working well or other ways to help me reaffirm my habits. There are also a daily emails that have videos, surveys or tasks to help me stay focused on my habits.
The foundation of the program is to slowly build habits that will become life-long routine. I will admit that, although the habits seem simple, I am still struggling to make them the norm. Eating slowly has been my biggest struggle. Meal prep for the week on Sundays has been my biggest asset to eating slowly. When snacks are prepped and bagged I’m more likely to, not only get more fruits and veggies in my diet, but also keep my body sustained throughout the day rather than being ravenous when I sit down for meals. Chaos ensues once Mondays hit and there are appointments, dance class, work and working out filling up the days.
This program is working well for me because it doesn’t eliminate sugar or require me to be at the gym for an hour 6 days per week to see results. Instead, I focus on my habits. I really nail down and layer the foundation habits to be successful later on when the harder habits come (like adding in more veggies or x amount of time working out). Baby steps.
Getting organized, downsizing, getting rid of junk drawers or going paperless has been many American’s resolutions. America is a consumer centered country where people are often categorized by the things they own. When people meet for the first time the first question is typically ‘what do you do?’ The general response to this initial question is telling them how we make money, as if our title defines us. For me, the answer is Marketing Director but that doesn’t really tell you anything about me. My title doesn’t tell you that I’m a wife, mom of a preschooler, that I am a freelance writer and blogger, that the song ‘When You Wish Upon a Star‘ or the mention of Walt Disney makes me tear up of happiness or that I get anxious and snippy towards my family when the surfaces in my home are cluttered. My title is the smallest portion of how I should be answering that question.
Things also define us. I’ve been listening to The Minimalists podcast and I’m becoming more and more a believer in the minimalist way. I’ve considered myself a ‘materialistic minimalist’ owing to my struggle between wanting all the beautiful things and needing a clear environment for a peaceful mind. I see people I know that live with only their favorite things and are happier than the people with massive houses.
I’m somewhere in the middle but I’m realizing that all the ‘things’ are not making me happy. The time I take to clean, repair, update and organize all my ‘things’ is not worth missing out on time with my family. When Sophie asks ‘Mommy, can you play with me?’ I want my answer to be ‘yes’ more times than ‘after I clean X or fix Y.’ We spend 8 hours at a job we’re not wildly passionate about to make money to build this wonderful environment for our children when all they care about is our attention. That makes my heart hurt.
Because my husband and I have different views on this, I am not able to convince him that we should both quit our jobs, downsize and live in Costa Rica working less and playing more. Instead I am slowly minimizing my ‘stuff’. This month I am combining two challenges for myself to kick off this process. 1. The Pop-Sugar 30 Day Cleaning Challenge and 2. The Minimalist’s 30 Day Minimalism Game. I usually do a cleaning challenge in the spring and a de-cluttering challenge towards the beginning of the year. I wanted to pair them together at the start of the year to kick off my long term metamorphosis to minimalism.
The key is minimize my life and my possessions to free myself from the weight of ‘things’. This is not a process of throwing away our family’s possessions just to later feel the need to replace them (as I have in the past). In the past I’ve donated clothes, books and decor just to leave a hole to fill with new things. I’ve partnered up with my best friend and sister for these challenges and will keep them up to date with my progress.
The new year marks a new focus. How do you make and keep your resolutions? What are your goals for 2017? I’d love to join up with you if you’re interested the challenge! #minsgame is the tag for The Minimalist’s challenge.