Everyone approaches the new year as a time for starting fresh. We often have big aspirations for what we’ll accomplish in the new year, often near the point of entirely reinventing ourselves. Unfortunately, while we may approach the first week of the year with extra zeal, it tends to fizzle out before the end of January.
If you’re looking for a new way to approach resolutions that you can achieve, while protecting your health and healing in the year to come, you’re in the right place.
#1 - Think of the New Year as a Time for Rebirth
At its very core, the winter season is a time for introspection. The colder weather creates the perfect backdrop for turning inward and evaluating not only what you’ve accomplished, but who you hope to become.
Before diving into all you want to achieve in the new year, take time to reflect, ask yourself a few questions:
What am I most proud of from the past year?
What brought me the most joy over the past twelve months?
Why did those accomplishments bring me pride and satisfaction?
How can I create opportunities to feel that way more often in the new year?
Where did I face the greatest challenges?
What obstacles prevented me from accomplishing my goals? Did I anticipate them?
Armed with that personal insight, you can make educated decisions about the goals you should set for yourself and the new habits to implement.
#2 - Be Practical as You Envision Your Future
Building a vision board is a great way to see the future you could accomplish and put more meaning behind the goals you’re setting. It changes your mindset from accomplishing a task to reaching a new version of yourself.
Set goals on your vision board that will be practical to fit in your daily routine. You can't work out for 3 hours daily - you have a job. A practical alternative is waking up a little early to do 15 minutes of yoga before you start your day.
"I have really been focusing on one habit at a time until I became a version of myself that was in alignment with the life I envisioned."– Less Alfred, Balanced Black Girl Podcast
#3 - Build New Habits
While it's good to set intentions, sometimes creating a new habit can work better. For example, instead of saying, "I'm going to lose 15 lbs.” You might build a daily walking habit. By creating a habit, you’ve immediately made your goal more achievable.
If you have a hard time establishing new habits, consider habit stacking. For example, if you already go to get coffee every morning, plan on taking a short walk once you’ve gotten your coffee. Circling back on our daily yoga practice, you can build yoga into your morning routine. After you make your bed, do fifteen minutes of yoga before beginning other tasks for the day.
It can take a while to build a habit, but the most important thing to remember is that if you miss a day, you can still pick it right back up the next day. One of the most detrimental mindsets associated with new years’ resolutions is that if you miss one time, you’ve failed and have to start over again. Instead, just keep going — each day is a new opportunity, and you don’t have to wait until the beginning of a new week, month, or year to try again.
#4 - Set Goals with Others
Achieving your goals doesn’t have to be lonely. Work with accountability partners to keep you on track and motivated. It can be fun to build your vision board together (at Brush Box, we love vision boarding with friends!), then check in on each other as you work toward your goals.
Knowing others are invested is motivating! Just as you want to help your friends stay accountable for their goals, they’ll be invested in helping you achieve yours. It can be helpful to share updates on how far you’ve come and ask about the progress your friends are making.
Sometimes it can be hard to see how far you’ve come, accountability buddies will be a contact reminder and check-in on your growth. Perhaps most exciting of all, you can celebrate your wins together.
#5 - Break it Down
Turn your big goals into smaller, achievable milestones. Just like turning an intimidating goal into a regular habit can make it more achievable, breaking your goals into smaller milestones can keep you on track, and motivated.
When you set an enormous goal like “Save $10,000,” you’re very likely to be so intimidated that you never start. Instead, consider how you can break this down into smaller, bite-sized chunks. This will ensure you know exactly what to do next, and you get to celebrate your progress more often.
For example, that same goal could become:
Set up a dedicated high-yield savings account for my goal.
Take my spare change from around the house, my car, etc., to the bank and make my first deposit.
Evaluate my spending habits and identify opportunities to cut costs.
Cancel a subscription I no longer use and set up automatic recurring deposits of that amount into savings.
Begin a side hustle to earn an extra $50 weekly and put all of it into savings.
Ask for a raise or explore other employment opportunities. Move my extra earnings into savings immediately.
Grow my side hustle to earn an extra $100 weekly and continue putting it all in my savings account.
Now, instead of one daunting goal, you have seven achievable steps, which you can celebrate accomplishing along the way. As you complete each step, take the time to appreciate how far you have come, and evaluate what you can do next.
Start the New Year
with New Intentions
The new year doesn’t have to be a time to overhaul your entire life. Instead, with small, intentional changes, you can achieve everything you’d hoped. If you miss a day or don’t quite hit a goal you’ve set, don’t be discouraged. Continue working toward the milestones and celebrating with your support network along the way.
Brush Box was founded to support healing through art. We believe everyone is creative and taking time to channel that creativity can be transformative. Reach out if you’re interested in a facilitated event or accessing therapeutic workshop guides.