5 Resolutions for People who Can’t Stick to Resolutions
Not everyone is cut out for the color-coded and highly regimented New Year’s resolution. Whether you have too many ideas or you’re feeling burnt out and looking for a gentler resolution system, here are five resolutions for you this upcoming year.
1. Practice Gratitude
Resolutions are centered around the idea of improving our quality of life in some way, this is a simple way to do so. Practicing gratitude has been studied and shown to improve physical and mental health. The good news for you: this is easy to implement in lots of different ways.
Go get yourself a fun notebook! Every day, write down three things you’re grateful for. Adding list items every day can help you see your world through different, kinder eyes. It also builds up a backlog of wonderful things in your life to reference when you inevitably have down days.
If you’re like me and LOVE buying notebooks but only seem to be able to fill 5-10 pages before they go mysteriously blank for the rest of time… here’s another way you can implement this practice. Simply try to be more aware when you’re feeling grateful for something. Did your child just deep belly laugh? Was that first bite of dinner absolutely divine? How about that conversation with a friend that filled you with warmth and happiness?
Pause and internalize your gratitude for a moment. A simple thought will do. Or take it to the next level by expressing it out loud. Gratitude can be wonderfully contagious. Express gratitude for your friend’s quirky laugh and how it brings you joy, or your partner’s small act of service for cleaning up the kitchen. Showing gratitude, even in small ways, can deepen the quality of your life and relationships.
2. Pick up Garbage
If you’re looking for something a little more concrete as a resolution this year, try picking up garbage when you see it on the ground. This requires zero planning and is literally something you do as you go. Live your normal life. No routine changes or checkmarked lists needed.
This improves your life in a couple of ways. One, you’re taking care of your planet and your community. Good on ya, mate! Two, you start proving to yourself that you’re the kind of person who picks up garbage. That doesn’t sound like much, but you’ll start to notice a difference the next time you want to tackle a larger project or when life gets rough and your mettle is tested. You’ve started creating evidence for your own brain that you are the kind of person who takes action, who cleans up and gets things done.
This is what I call “creating evidence for Future You”. You’re building up a data bank in your brain of small actions that equate to goodness and positive action. When the time comes that you want to try sticking to a more involved New Year’s resolution, you now have all of these little instances where you took action and had a positive impact on your environment.
This non-complicated resolution has an immediate effect on your environment and your wellbeing. It is a great habit to start building confidence in yourself and your ability to take positive action.
3. Sleep Routine
Another flexible resolution for you: commit to improving your sleep routine. Quality sleep is incredibly important to your physical, mental, emotional, and imaginative wellbeing. Okay I made up that last one, but I cannot be the only one whose brain turns to absolute mush when I’m tired.
Enhancing your sleep routine can look totally different from person to person, meaning you don’t have the pressure of sticking to specifics. Executing on this resolution can look like educating yourself about healthy sleep habits, setting a bedtime and wake-up time, or trying out different bedtime routines to help you wind down and get to sleep.
My bold statement: if you don’t already have a solid sleep routine, make this your focus for 2022.
I honestly stumbled on to a new routine this year that challenged me. As an ENFP, I don’t really love having a structure to stick to. I want my flexibility especially when I’m in the throes of a creative project. However, I started consistently going to bed early and getting up early and something magical happened: I actually finished tasks on time! I felt less tired as my body knew what to expect and I have gotten more done with a solid sleep schedule in my corner.
This flexible resolution will only give back to you. If you’re looking for a place to start, try reading about sleep or listen to a progressive muscle relaxation.
4. Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill is a pretty common resolution and for good reason. It’s in our nature as human beings to learn and grow! If you have a hard time sticking to a resolution, having a new skill you’re excited about could be just the thing to help you accomplish a goal this year.
My favorite way to implement this (as a person who is not-so-good at sticking to resolutions) is to think of a specific way I’d use my new skill. Is it playing a certain song on a new instrument? Improving a communication skill for a specific situation with my family? Or a new craft that would make the most excellent gift for a loved one?
Having a specific visualization of how you’d use a new skill can go a long way in execution. The trick is to set your end goal and then decide how best to get there.
This may involve taking classes or finding a youtube channel to teach you some basics. No matter what skill you’re learning, one constant is the need to practice. And with practice comes failure. It’s an inherent part of the learning process. So before you set out with your aspirations for your newfound skill, have a gameplan for how you will handle setbacks. Commit to taking a break for a predetermined amount of time so you don’t throw in the towel altogether. Rope in a friend to learn the skill with you so you have someone to motivate you to get back out there and try again. Whatever the case: don’t forget why you wanted to learn the skill in the first place.
5. Declutter and Organize
Similar to improving your sleep routine, this resolution is both flexible and highly impactful. Especially given our recent, collective stay-at-home experience, it’s clear that our physical surroundings have a direct impact on our wellbeing.
The beauty about this resolution is you can take your time or do it all at once. As a natural sprinter, I appreciate a goal I can fully dive into and complete in a weekend. But if you and I differ in that way, no need to worry. Take it a room at a time or just declutter your closet this year. Choose a space that you’ll see on a daily basis or one that you use often to maximize that feeling of accomplishment in sticking with a resolution! You can also finish this resolution in a short timeframe and not feel guilty because the effect will last all year.
You can also be flexible on the depth of your decluttering and organizing. You can commit to the simple tidy-up or dive in Marie Kondo style. Either way, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief and accomplishment by taking pride in your space.
Don’t See What You’re Looking For?
I’m all about blazing your own trail. Here are some tips to come up with your own simple resolution this year:
- Slow is smooth and smooth is fast: focus on incremental changes. Larger changes are harder to sustain over a long period of time.
- Small wins: create the evidence for Future You by choosing the little wins.
- Rewards and consequences can be helpful if you stick to them. I find involving another person is really helpful if you implement a reward system connected to your resolution.
- Set focuses, not specifics: Focus on improving an area of your life and leave the details for later. Set a focus on your physical health and let yourself go from practicing yoga to trying new recipes throughout the year.
Your turn! What’s your 2022 resolution?