habits · new year's resolutions

To resolve or not to resolve? You decide

EMM, not Emma.

We share a lot of Emm’s positive art on our Facebook page and you can support her on Patreon .

[Drawing of a cactus saying “It’s okay if you don’t want to make a New Year’s resolution.”]

But if you decide “yes” and go ahead and make resolutions, there’s lots of good advice about making them stick. Lots of it is even the kind of advice we like to give around here. Here’s 5 things that I find make a difference.

1.Start small. If you’re not going to to the gym at all, don’t resolve to go everyday. That’s likely too much. Pick something more manageable, like 3 or 4 times a week. See Best advice ever (in Tracy’s world): start small.

2. Pick things you can control (habits, not outcomes). My fave app for habit tracking is called 7 Weeks (thanks TT!) but there are lots of good ones out there. Here’s a list of 24 best habit tracking apps.

3. Don’t overwhelm yourself. As tempting as it is to think “whole new me!” it’s probably best not to set out to learn to meditate, improve your French, quit smoking, make your bed everyday, pack your own lunch, read a novel a week etc etc all in one year.

4. Don’t aim for perfection. It’s not all over if you miss a day, or even a week. People like all or nothing thinking and tend to say “well, that’s over.” But you can keep on going.

5. Reach out! Lots of us like some kind of accountability. Find other people who share your goal and check in with them.

Also I think it’s worth reading Gretchen Rubin’s piece on resolutions, those of us who hate them, and how to do better by lightening up. I also like this article on resolutions recommended by therapists.

3 thoughts on “To resolve or not to resolve? You decide

  1. The last few years I’ve taken the “challenge” approach. Somehow the word works better for me than resolution. And I do have an all or nothing tendency I need to monitor. 2018 challenge was no shopping for clothes, shoes, bags or jewelry. Only a few hours to go!! For 2019, I’m trying to figure out. No online shopping for same list?? But it’s such an easy way to buy essentials and running shoes. Or I’ve been thinking of no bottled water, but I’m addicted to sparkly water and it feels festive when everyone else has a glass of wine and I don’t. Plus, last night I tried to talk a restaurant into putting soda water from the fun into their flat water carafe and they refused and my partner was mortified to be out with someone being a pain in the neck customer. So there’s that. I need suggestions of refinements or parameters for those possibilities.

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