January is assumed to be one of the most productive months of the year. Many people attempt to “begin again” or make a goal in hopes of bettering themselves. This is a 4,000-year-old practice — civilization has tried and failed for thousands of years to better itself. Yikes. I am thinking it is time we change the way we discuss our goals and hopes to change. Let’s create some resolve around resolutions.
As we approach the end of January, those of us who care about resolutions and take them seriously should analyze our progress toward the goals we are attempting to reach. I would say any resolution is worthy of a goal because it is all about how you want to improve or change your atmosphere. Typically the most popular resolutions include some form of fitness, weight loss or becoming “more healthy.” But a lot of the time I don’t even know what that means. Those terms should not be defined by a gym, a friend or the world. They are meant to be defined by you. A goal should be set for yourself, not for another person or even in competition with others. Be mindful of the root of your resolution — that will help you focus on what the true goal should be.
A change of environment is a great place to start with goals and their rewards. Sometimes we view resolutions as a catch-all — we decide to create a general goal. Instead, if we focus on a measurable or specific goal, I think it becomes easier for us to manage rewards and achieve our resolutions. There is nothing wrong with starting small! Tiny victories are everywhere and easily attainable if framed in a positive way in our minds.
For example, trying to become cleaner. Putting away clothes or doing dishes can be annoying; therefore, we put them off, and over time they build up to become more frustrating. However, if I decide to focus on putting my dishes directly into the dishwasher instead of the sink or hanging up the jacket I wore instead of throwing it on the back of a chair, I can achieve a cleaner environment over time because I am forming better habits. The reward comes from achieving the small tasks. Creating these habits tied to resolutions pushes us to reach whatever goal we have decided to make. We should be more positive about our habits — they completely change our environments when we take small steps toward a larger goal.
I only say all of this because I have really struggled with keeping resolutions. Making a list of goals is simple, but checking them all off is definitely easier said than done. I have learned there are much better ways to achieve my goals when I frame them in positivity. I used to hate running and general fitness. It was exhausting and not typically an exciting part of my day. So, I decided to view going for a run as a reward. Having a long day and feeling sluggish? Having writer’s block and feeling uncreative? That’s okay, I get to go for a run later. Being more positive about my goal made me love tying up my sneakers and getting out there, even in the cold. I covered my resolution in a positive light in order to feel better in general. I urge us all to view our resolutions as reward-centered. It completely changes how we make resolutions and what they are about.