I get overwhelmed and let down each year when I am asked “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” Why? Because I immediately think back to last year’s resolutions and realize that I fell short in a couple  areas.

I say to myself: “Really? I am so busy. I have a million things on my plate and the last thing I can do is commit to something for an entire year!”

If I set goals that are personally unattainable (or simply unrealistic) I will fail. I will fall short of these really high standards I have set for myself.

On the contrary, if I do not set any goals, I will not strive to become more than who I already am. I believe we are already pretty great…but we can be better!

Do you have a bad habit? (Shh, I won’t tell!)

Do you have tons of goals that you can’t even dream of tackling because you don’t feel you will be able to finish them?  Do they seem out of reach?

That is actually a good thing! Not because I don’t want you to reach your goals (that couldn’t be further from the truth), but “good” because I want you to have to try to reach your goals. If they were really easy, you would already be doing them, right?

According to USA.gov, here are some of the more popular New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Drink less alcohol
  • Eat healthy food
  • Get Fit
  • Manage debt
  • Manage stress
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle
  • Save money

I can personally tell you that, in the past, I have tried (and failed) at many of these – and this isn’t even the complete list! (Please tell me you can relate?)

I have decided on a new approach

Instead of just resolving to get something done all at once, let’s break it down into little manageable bite-sized chunks!

If I set out to “Eat healthy” and then get invited out with my girlfriends to eat amazingly tasty appetizers during happy hour – I have just failed. If this happens on January 3rd, why do I need to bother continuing with my resolution for the rest of the year?

Bite-sized chunks

Rather than “Eat healthy food,” I will focus on making each month healthy. Each month has its smaller, more attainable goal that falls under the more broad category of “Eat healthy food” (or whatever your resolution may be).

These smaller goals don’t have to get stacked one on top of the other; so that I am totally healthy (and missing all things foodie that I loved), but I may choose to let them build up. That is up to me and I can play it by ear. I may decide to keep each change in effect for an entire year, by the end of the year having made 12 big changes. Or, I may decide to make 12 independent changes throughout the year. Either way – it is my choice and I will feel good about it.

Here is how we can choose to tackle “Eat healthy food,” one month at a time:

January: Switch out your white flour for whole wheat flour when baking, cooking, or buying bread from the bakery.

February: Skip dessert. Anytime you long for a sweet, make a smoothie with frozen fruit or enjoy some trail mix, or my personal favorite, frozen grapes! No, it isn’t as good as the dessert, but it is only for 30 days and you may find that by the end of the 30 days, you don’t “need” dessert quite as much as you used to.

March: Pack you lunch every day. You control what you put in your lunch so you have complete say over what you are eating. No risk of accidentally eating junk, simply because you were hungry and had no other options.

April: Cook dinner at home 6 nights out of each week. Sound tough? It is only for 30 days! On the seventh day order a pizza, Chinese food, or anything else that suits your fancy. You have been very disciplined and you deserve it. You will feel so much healthier controlling what you eat this month. Bonus tip: cook extra and take it for lunch the next day. Now you are also keeping your March goals a reality, but it isn’t much extra work!

Okay, you see where this is going! You have your own personal goals and can pick and choose what you want to tackle – when you want to tackle it. Perhaps you do week-sized bites, or even one day at a time.

Resolve what you want to accomplish, and dissect until it is totally doable. I choose to find one that is easily dissectible into 12 pieces because I think one month at a time is a pretty easy approach (and a bit easier to track than daily or weekly!)

Let me warn you – it will still be a challenge. You will still have times when you do not want to finish what you have set out to do. But when you are looking at the bite-sized goals and tackling each item, one at a time, you will find it is easier to persevere.

Go ahead, ask me why I am writing this after New Years…

That is an easy one for me to answer…because I have already made and forgotten about my resolutions and feel I may not be the only one. Because I believe it is never too late to decide to make your year better – self improvement is just around the corner…one small bite at a time!

Are you with me?  Have you made any resolutions? What is your goal for this month?

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  • pdm

    frozen  grapes are great for snack/sweet urges

  • Jennifer

    As someone in a helping profession as well as a (previous) yoga instructor, I couldn’t agree more!  With clients or students were starting to make changes, I encouraged them to go small.  For yoga students, the beginning of every year was the “I’m Gonna Look Great In A Bikini Year” and then 3 weeks later they were not at class (or the gym again).  Mostly because they had decided they were going to work out every day, an hour a day.  It’s too much on the body (physically) and too big a commitment just starting out.  I would remind them that working out 3 times a week at 20 minutes a time was already an hour a week more than they were doing.  Once they learned how to incorporate these small increments of time into their schedule, they were able to find even more time to exercise (or read, or paint or whatever).
    Same thing with social work, getting clients to start with small, attainable goals is the only way to success.  Once they find they can meet these goals, their gain momentum into making larger changes on their lives.  The journey of a thousand miles does indeed begin with one step – and thousands of other steps along the way.
    Thanks for the reminder that we all struggle in meeting these goals.  Sometimes Change is so scary we sabotage ourselves.  But sticking with something for 30 days doesn’t seem quite so daunting!

  • Language is huge! Thanks for this…it gives me great new ideas! ~Nikki