Welcoming a New Year is a time filled with revelry and celebration. But when the party atmosphere clears, it’s a time for introspection, a time to take inventory of our lives and decide if changes should or need to be made through the annual tradition of making resolutions.
Some resolutions roll off the tongue easily – like “getting healthy” or “losing weight.” Who doesn’t feel good about deciding to make better choices for their health and quality of life? Sadly, our conviction (spirit) is willing but alas, our resolve (flesh) is weak. Those resolutions often fall quickly by the wayside, discarded and left in a cloud of dust.
We make resolutions and then usually, we break them.
I sat down and asked myself a question. How can I ensure that I’m better equipped to be faithful in my resolve to keep my 2018 resolutions and make lasting, beneficial changes?
And then I edited a post my husband had written about his 2018 writing goals for his blog, The Haunted Pen, and I decided NOT to make any resolutions. Dave never mentioned resolutions. He doesn’t believe in resolutions and his reasons made perfect sense:
What’s a resolution? I’ll tell you. A resolution is a vow that’s invariably broken by mid-January (if it’s lucky enough to last that long). Now replace ‘resolution’ with ‘goal,’ and things take on an entirely different meaning.
- Resolutions are rigid
- Resolutions are behaviors or actions that either get done or they don’t
- Goals are dynamic, flexible and fluid
- Goals are a series of actions that lead to accomplishment
If I made a resolution saying “I want to write more,” it could mean anything. It’s a loose proclamation that’s open to interpretation. It invites failure. But if I set the goal “I want to write at least 1,000 words every day,” it’s precise. A better goal, of course, would be to state “I want to write at least 1,000 words every day that are related to my blog or work-in-progress.”
And so without further adieu, here are my Goals for 2018:
Feed My Body
Choosing ambiguous phrases like “losing weight” or “getting healthy” immediately set you up to fail. It’s a pretty daunting task to decide how to achieve those generalities that will surely test your mettle and willpower.
I’ve set smaller, specific, doable and achievable goals, and given myself time to adopt these behaviors so they become second nature. Once I’ve accomplished that, I will then move on to setting larger, doable and achievable goals, with an action plan that’s designed to help me remain steadfast in my pursuit of success.
I’ll feel good when I accomplish my first set of goals, which will put me in the right frame of mind to tackle the next phase. I have a long-term plan set up in phases that I’m comfortable with, confident in for changing/modifying my behavior and designed for success.
Drink more water
- I commit to drinking more fluids daily, including 32 ounces of water
- I will keep a 16-ounce water bottle with me throughout the day, and will achieve my initial goal after I have drained two of them
- After 60 days, when I have given myself the needed time to adopt this new behavior, as well as giving my body the needed time to adjust to the increased fluid intake, I’ll consult my action plan and add another 16 ounces to bring my daily water total to 48 ounces
- After another 60 days, I’ll revisit to see if it’s time to add an additional 16 ounces to bring my total to its final goal, 64 ounces of water, along with the other fluids included in my daily intake
Eat more fruits and vegetables
- I commit to eating a minimum of one fruit and one vegetable each day
- After 60 days, I’ll consult my action plan to see if this goal needs tweaking with the addition of a second fruit and a second vegetable to my daily intake
- I commit to dedicating 20 minutes a day, three days a week, to exercising with the toning bands, toning cord, fitness board and free weights that I own. They will give me options to exercise different parts of my body and to keep my exercise time from becoming boring
- After 60 days, I’ll consult my action plan to see if I need to increase my work out time, add new exercises or add another piece of equipment to my routine
- I’ll also continue to park far (as in at the end of parking lots) from my daily destinations to make sure I’m walking more
- I commit to stocking the fridge with fresh tap water and beverages of zero calories/no artificial sweeteners (flavored sparkling water, flavored seltzer, iced tea made with stevia), fruits and vegetables along with 100% fruit and 100% vegetable juices. I will also keep Red Rose Sweet Temptations Lemon Cake tea bags (zero calories and comes pre-sweetened with stevia) on hand. It’s a sweet and decadent treat.
I know it’s better to eat fruits and veggies than drink them, but this way I negate the excuse that I don’t have any fruits/vegetables or I’ve run out of them. My toning bands, toning cord, fitness board and free weights will be kept in plain sight to remind/motivate me to use them.
Feed My Mind
Inspired by my husband and his website – The Haunted Pen – I’ve decided to heed the sage advice of one of his favorite authors, Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft):
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
- I commit to reading a minimum of 20 minutes every day – any type of literature – books, newspapers, magazines – for the next 60 days. Now that I have my new glasses, there are no excuses to keep me from tackling All By Myself, Alone (Mary Higgins Clark), Heart Shaped Box (Joe Hill) and Host (Robin Cook), along with the magazines and newspaper I subscribe to
- After 60 days, I’ll consult my action plan with the intent of adding 10 minutes to bring my daily reading time to a minimum of 30 minutes
- I commit to writing a minimum of 20 minutes a day, three times a week, for the next 60 days
- After 60 days, I’ll consult my action plan with the intent of adding more days of writing or more time spent writing to this goal
- I commit to writing a minimum of two blog posts per month
I believe that success in achieving your goals can be summed up with these four simple steps:
- Make a plan
- Set doable, achievable goals
- Start with and embrace small goals – lofty goals usually lead to disappointment and frustration
- Set yourself up to succeed – for example, if you want to change your behavior so that you eat healthier, make sure you have healthy food and beverage options on hand; if you want to cut out junk food/sweets, that’s easy, don’t buy them; and introduce variety into your meals by Googling “healthy recipes,” printing them and making them
Be ready, there will be setbacks along the way, but that doesn’t have to signal the demise of your goals. Don’t get discouraged or view those setbacks as failures. Learn from them. Figure out what went wrong and why. Change or modify your goals. Remain positive and enjoy your successes. Wish me luck!
What are your goals for 2018?
Drop me a line in the comments below. I’d love to hear your goals for the coming year.