There are many different ways we can resolve to change. How do you find success in making changes in your life?
I used to never make resolutions – much like Melina shared in her post, it seemed like when there was something I wanted to change, there was no time like the present. But over the past few years, I’ve found the resolution process has evolved for me… though my goals may not be S.M.A.R.T. goals, they instead serve as guidelines for my year.
For instance, one year I decided to strive to create intimacy over distance. As the year progressed, I looked for the ways that I could build bridges with the people I encountered. I found myself evaluating my approach to life, and making more choices to bond with my friends and family, and began overcoming my shyness to have more meaningful conversations with strangers. A few years on, it’s become a habit and an often unconscious choice. There are still times when I sense a growing distance between myself and others, and I take that as a sign to evaluate if I’ve been maintaining that goal.
This year, I have three areas of focus. The first is to love every moment. This has been my personal mission statement since a 7 Habits of Highly Effective People class in early 2010. It is both a reminder to be in the moment as well as a reminder to love. Last year had a lot of positives professionally but was an extremely challenging time personally. Which meant that a lot of the time I was either worrying about the future or finding my thoughts stuck in the past… and it was hard to put my focus on the present. Though I still felt like I was loving in the moment, I wasn’t seeking to love each moment that I faced. Making this my primary resolution will help me to remember that each moment offers its own truth, and that if I focus on being in the moment and loving it, I will feel more at peace.
Which brings me to my second resolution – to live well. This encompasses some of the standard resolutions – to exercise more, or to eat healthier – but also reminds me that it is okay to engage in the occasional indulgence. If I’m too strict with myself, I’ll undoubtedly throw my hands up in frustration, and it’ll be some time before I reconsider what it was I hoped to accomplish. So, I won’t be hard on myself if I skip my workout every once in a while, or if I have a rich dessert while out with friends… but it helps me remember that making indulgences part of my routine instead of an exception to my routine will hamper my ability to live the life I want. This also means putting more thought to what it means for me to live well financially. Over the past several months, I’ve been making it a habit to save money, while allowing myself to spend in the expenses I budgeted for. This has helped to change my relationship to money, and I’m putting more thought to the best value I get for my dollars. There’s a lot of value in saving for the future (investing in my ability to make choices down the road), but I also need to remember that it’s okay to be more generous in my entertainment budget – for I value creating memories with my friends in the present.
Lastly – I’m working on cleaning as I go. Yeah, a little different from my first two… but one that is admittedly necessary for me. I’m in and out of my house a lot, and if I put off washing my dinner dishes, or leave my dirty clothes on the floor, my small apartment can look messy in a matter of days. And the messier it looks, the easier it is to procrastinate (even though it only gets worse! Auugh!). Now when I find “extra” time while my dinner is baking or simmering, I do a quick patrol through my house to look for things I can attend to. The more I break it down into smaller actions, the easier it is to remain motivated in (and achieve!) my goal.
So for me, resolutions serve as good big picture reminders for the smaller changes that I can make throughout the year. This allows me to achieve the most success in making lasting, positive changes in my life. Do you find resolutions help you to make changes? Are your resolutions big picture like mine, or do you find success with S.M.A.R.T. goals that break it down? I’m always interested to hear what works well for others!
Sasha may be the shyest social person you’ll ever meet. She joined Verity in 2009, with a couple years in the Credit Union Movement already tucked under her belt (amidst coffee-making and bagel-slinging, running a non-profit, and trying her hand at farming).
An eternal optimist (except, you know, when she’s not), she enjoys exploring her surroundings and having adventures with friends; yoga, running, reading, writing, and good food. Though not a remarkable cook, she is nonetheless a sincere one and admits she’d be better if there were three more hours in every day. When not doing one of the many activities mentioned in the previous two sentences, she counts herself lucky to be peacefully at home, cuddling with her partner and their cat.