Can you believe it's a whole new year?
It's that time of year when we all have to get used to crossing out 7's and replacing them with 8's in our dated correspondence. It's the time of year when dozens of sad-looking Christmas trees line the streets, reminding us that the festive season is over.
And... it's that time of year for resolutions!
Supposedly, only 8% of New Year's resolutions are actually kept. But hey, that's no reason not to try! After all, even a small minority still has somebody in that bucket, and this year, I want us all to be telling ourselves, "That somebody is going to be ME."
I've tried quite a few approaches to New Year's resolutions over the years - most notoriously, I started this blog on January 1st, 2016! - and I've tried tips and tricks like categorizing them in various ways (e.g., Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Mental), emailing them to myself as a reminder, scribbling them in journeys, using my best friend as an accountability partner, and more. And I'll be honest: Most of these ways haven't worked terribly well in the past.
But while writing my book Those Happy Moments, I delved into the topic of "Forming Happy Habits" in Chapter 7, which streamlines the importance of
- Taking daily baby steps;
- Staying focused; and
- Forgiving yourself for not doing this sooner
It really is that simple!
So this year, in order to do just that, I'm creating a Top Ten List of 2018 Resolutions, which you'll find below, along with an accompanying vision board to help my focus along the way. Some of these have already made it onto my list of resolutions in prior years, but that's ok because, again: I forgive myself for not doing them sooner.
Tip: Don't just focus on resolutions that sound "pretty" or "impressive" to you - focus on WHY you want to achieve them, and write that down too!
So without further ado, here are my ten:
- Be able to carry a conversation in German: I moved to Hamburg in September 2017, and while I know enough of the language to get by, I want to be able to actually meet people, get to know them, and embrace my new country.
- Do the splits for the first time in my life: When I did my Yoga Teacher Training, we were discouraged from setting goals like this. And this is one of those aforementioned constants on my annual list of resolutions. But you know what? I'm turning 37 this year, and I believe consistent positive work on my body is something I can do better on this year, so setting a goal can help me focus on this!
- Hold a freestanding handstand for 5 seconds without a wall: Ditto to #2, this aims to help make me a more balanced, committed, self-challenging person. I can currently hold a handstand for zero seconds, so there's honestly nowhere to go but up! (Literally, in this case!)
- Sell 1,000 copies of Those Happy Moments, the book: This is almost a hilariously high stretch goal, considering that in the two weeks since it was released, I've so far sold 59. And I was originally going to put this goal down as 500. But then I read a quote on Facebook to "Set a goal... then double your ambition and cut your deadline in half." And you know what, why not set an ambitious goal for something you believe in? Even if you don't get all the way there, might you not get closer than if you hadn't tried?
- Publish my first novel: Now that I've published one book, there's no reason I can't publish another, right? Because, surprise: everything gets easier the second time around! Can you still call yourself a writer even if you've only written one book? Of course you can. Same way you can call yourself a runner after a one-time jog: if you believe in yourself and keep doing the thing you've already done, then you've earned that title.
- Earn $20,000: I should start by saying that this is a totally arbitrary number that simply sounds good to me. I've just left my solid, safe corporate job as of December 31st, 2017, where i was earning a lot more than that. I'm incredibly lucky that I have a roof over my head and savings in the bank, but I'm going to have to figure out where to make that $20K come from, and that will take work. It might mean taking my fancy-pants-MBA self down to work at a coffee shop or tutor English or sell clothes, but I'm betting I may find more value in doing that this year than I've found in earning vastly more by sitting in a cubicle in years past.
- Visit at least three new countries: Anyone who knows me - or who's read Chapter 5 of my book - knows that I loooooove going on adventures. And while adventures don't have to be far from home, I get a definite "yay, yay, yay!" feeling when seeing new places. Plus I'm lucky to live in Germany now, which means a simple train ride or cheap flight opens up so many possibilities. But whether you too love travel or not, what could your next adventure be?
- Go on one solo trip: Now that I won't have any more business travel, I don't want to let myself forget just how fulfilling it can be get away by myself. No imposed activities, no friends/partners insisting on the things they want to see, just me doing my thing! I'd encourage anyone - again, whether or not you enjoy traveling far from home - to try a day trip or weekend alone somewhere.
- Detox, detox, detox: I mean detox in every sense of the word. I'm currently detoxing from all the junk I ate (and drank) over the holidays by participating in both Dry January and Veganuary, for instance. But I also want to detox from my time wasters. I cannot tell you how much time I shriveled away in 2017 on checking Facebook 20 times a day, reading articles on People.com, or even just mindlessly skimming news headlines that didn't add value to my life. And you know what happened since then? I got a year older, and I have that much less time left to add value to anyone's life, including my own. This year, that's got to change.
- Move to Berlin: This is a bit of a weirdly-specific outlier on the list, but it's something my boyfriend and I are targeting for later in the year, and I want to make the most of planning it successfully, accomplishing it, and enjoying a new home together! And in the meantime, I also want to make the absolute most of my remaining time in Hamburg in this first part of 2018.
So there you have it: My Top Ten for 2018! I've mocked up a little Vision Board below to remind me of these, along with general words and feelings I'd like to describe my attitude towards life, like: "I am happy" (a must!), "Freedom," "Create," and "Seek Magic Every Day." Each of these represents the essence of why I started Those Happy Moments, why it's worked so well for me and my overall happiness, and what I hope others can get from it too.
I'll be posting monthly updates on how I'm doing on these resolutions, so please check back in throughout the year!
So now it's your turn: What are YOUR resolutions for this year? WHY are they your resolutions? How will you incorporate daily baby steps, focus, and forgiveness into getting closer to realizing them?
I'd love to hear from you at any point on your journey, as we all tackle this new year with a smile a wink, and a renewed desire to make things happen.