Historically, I am pretty good at following through on my New Year's resolutions. It's mostly just a part of my personality. I am goal driven, and I choose things that are attainable. In 2015, I resolved to learn to shoot a gun. I had lived in a hunting friendly area near an Army base for the better part of two decades, I had only once touched a handgun (unloaded with safety on). My encounter was terrifying and brief. That year I experienced shooting a musket, a handgun, a semi-automatic rifle, and a fully automatic rifle in another all in one day, and I have never touched another gun since.
In 2016, seven months pregnant and in the middle of moving to a new house, I resolved to make no resolution. This was probably my hardest to keep. At times I was desperate for a goal of my own to work toward, but I forced myself to stay in the moment in that first baby year.
In 2017, I resolved to buy nothing new if I could find it used instead. Clothes, furniture, electronics, toys -- I was the queen of thrifting, hitting up seasonal consignment sales, checking Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, going to garage sales. As a result, we paid off two smaller student loans.
But for 2018, I have nothing but huge, gigantic goals, and not a single one feels more important than the others. Instead of one big resolution for the year, I am developing an entire list of things I would love to accomplish on a daily basis. I'm calling them my daily resolutions.
Do you have a few lofty goals for 2018? Did you make a New Year's resolution?
If so, I have news for you: you can be successful in achieving your goal. Your New Year's resolution does not have to fail. I have a strategy that might help.
Have you ever heard of the psychological term "chunking'? Basically, it's a lot easier to remember larger things if you can break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks. For instance, the number "20124890" is a lot easier to memorize if you break it down into smaller chunks: "2012" "24" and "90."
I have some big goals that I would love to work toward in 2018: write a book, be a more present parent who is not distracted by technology, live an active lifestyle, stick to a personal budget. These goals are absolutely monstrous. Impossible, even. And, I can't seem to pick which one is the most important for this year.
By breaking my larger goals--like being more active, eating healthier, and being a more present parent--down into a daily list of goals, it makes them more attainable.
For instance, did you know that people who make their bed in the morning are happier and get more done? (If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.) And, you are also happier if you spend more time outside?
Like me, I imagine that you probably have some lofty high hopes for this next year. There is probably a way that you could chunk that goal down to a daily, weekly, or monthly basis so that it's more attainable.
Here are my 2018 daily resolutions:
- Wake up early
- Make bed
- Get dressed (including shoes, hair, face)
- Swipe the bathroom
- Run the dishwasher
- Go outside for at least an hour
- Drink water
- Complete one load of laundry
- Read my Bible
- Read out of another book
- Get on the floor and play with my son
- Know tomorrow's meal plan before bed
- Write for a little while
- Spend less than 60 minutes total on my phone all day (I use the Space App to time track)
Today is January 5, and I am pleased with my progress on my daily resolutions so far. I have been adding and subtracting a few things depending on my day (no, I did not spend an hour outside in the -10 degree weather), but these daily tasks have been fairly attainable for me. Overall, I think these will contribute toward succeeding in my other goals by having me focus on doing a little bit every day.
For instance, by spending more time outside I am more likely to be more active, it's a great parenting decision for my preschool aged son, and a natural daily dose of vitamin d really improves my mood. I like to split this into a two chunks, 30 minutes each, in the morning and the afternoon, but sometimes I will split it up into even more chunks throughout the day.
By keeping up with home maintenance in little ways, I won't feel as overwhelmed as daily cleaning piles up. When the house gets messy, it bothers me first, and I am the one who benefits most by keeping up with small daily chores.
Getting on the floor and playing with my son is not only a way for us to bond, it allows me to be more creative. Play is important for adults too.
Know what the best part about daily resolutions are? You start fresh each morning.
If you get behind on laundry, for instance, my entire year is not ruined. Yes, maybe yesterday I failed in a few areas, but today is always new, and I always have a fresh start to make good decisions toward what I hope to achieve. If you are consistently struggling in a daily resolution, you can always adjust it too. Take it off the list, or make it easier on yourself by breaking it down further. (When I had a younger baby, put clothes in washer, put clothes in dryer, and fold clothes were all separate items on my to do list, and all three were very rarely completed on the same day.)
It's been 5 days. Have you given up on your New Year's resolution?? Is there a way that you could chunk down your goal? Could daily resolutions help you achieve your goals in 2018?