Personal: How I Stick To My Resolutions

It’s that time of year again, when everyone starts committing to a new gym routine, the Whole30, and decluttering homes.

It’s also that time of year where we all remember that if we aren’t already doing something, the start of a new year probably won’t be enough to get us going.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m fully back on my workout regimen, eating more greens in a day than I did for the entire month of December, and my house has never looked better. However, it’s definitely not because the clock struck 2019.

I committed to working out regularly last May, and I still struggle with the habit when I get busy.

I first did the Whole30 three years ago, and it’s taken that long for me to build healthy eating into my lifestyle.

Yes, I Mari Kondo-ed my house this month, but only after nearly a year of trying to figure out what works for us in our space.

The point is, none of this happens overnight. And New Year’s Resolutions succeed when you prepare for them. Last year was a very unglamorous year for Aaron and me, but we wouldn’t be where we are now without it.

Here are three lessons I’ve had to learn to actually stick to my resolutions:

1. CHALLENGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

If your resolutions were to exercise, eat healthy, and get organized, you better have no job, kids, social life, or responsibilities.

Often we think that by developing expectations, we will be able to follow through with everything we expect of ourselves, when in reality, our expectations are not based on our personal experience with our goals. We think that just by declaring an expectation we will learn to achieve it.

Here are some questions I ask myself when navigating whether or not a goal of mine is actually achievable:

What has been your history with this practice? What elements or factors have led to your successes and failures?

Are you allowing room for these resolutions to take up the proper space they need to in your life? Or are you shoving them down your throat?

What have other people in your life noticed about your experience with this goal? Is there something you might be missing?

Resolving to do something is simply not enough. We have to devote ourselves wholly to the task, which involves both introspection and feedback from our community. By breaking down your expectations, you can give yourself the room to breathe that is required to truly change habits.

2. TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Think about how long it takes children to learn to read and write. What is the best way for them to learn? Endless repetition on a strict schedule for 30 days or by gently infusing the practices into their lives for weeks and years?

It might hurt your ego to compare yourself to a child, but being new to something means you have little-to-no experience with it.

Aaron has taught me so much about this. When we first got together, I was constantly like, let’s organize! Let’s budget! Let’s declutter! Let’s waste less! Let’s work out more! Etc, etc, etc.

However, of all the people in my life, he is the one who grows more than anyone else year after year. He sets himself to the task in front of him and changes what is in his control before moving on to his next goal.

Make sure you are at the right time in your life to dedicate yourself to what you hope to practice, and give yourself plenty of time to fail again and again.

3. WHAT IS THE WHY?

Changing habits and creating routines gets harder as we grow older. We get set in our ways no matter how much we try to be open and flexible.

If your reasons for these changes aren’t a direct response to whatever is happening in your heart and soul, they’ll barely crack the surface of your skin.

Any resolution that is rooted in how other people see or perceive you is not going to satisfy you, even if you do accomplish it.

This month there were many days where I was frustrated by the lack of progress in our goals to get our house ready for a few guests we will be having in February. I had to constantly remind myself why I cared so much. I wanted the house to be more organized so that I could be present with our friends when they arrive. I wanted to be able to have everything they will need prepared for them so that they feel comfortable away from home.

By reminding myself of this, I was able to come to the conclusion that putting myself through hell to “get it all done” would not foster the kind of environment I was hoping to create.

Make sure your resolutions have a “why” behind them that represents your personal values, otherwise, you will lose yourself in trying to achieve them.

In this nonstop, all-at-once culture we live in, it can be hard to navigate healthy goal-setting, so I hope this brings you peace and clarity!

If you are interested in reading a blog post on how I developed a healthy relationship with exercise and body image, you can read that HERE.

Let me know if you have anything more to add or what has been helpful for you in the comments below!