Jump Start Your January Today

Steps to health new year's resolution

My husband was always big on New Year’s resolutions, so when we got married, the first week of January was devoted to coming up with and sharing our resolutions. By mid-March, most, if not all, our resolutions would have faded. And every year, we would go through this exercise with little success. One year, my husband decided to start on his resolutions in December and when January came, he told me he had already started working on his resolutions! The following year, I decided to do the same and start a month early. My resolutions for that year lasted several months beyond my usual burn-out in February or March.

When I had my daughter, though, the time for resolutions got shifted again for me. We didn’t operate in a January to December calendar anymore, we started our year in September. For the past three years, I’ve started the practice of setting my intention and kicking off a few resolutions for the year in September. Here are a few things I’ve learned from starting my new year in September.

  1. You can start anytime in September – it doesn’t have to be the first day. Use an app like HabitBull to keep track and check off your progress. You can also print one by doing a search in Google. It helps to see the progress and it’s rewarding to check off the boxes!
  2. Pick a word or theme for the year. I like to pick a word for myself each year and I will write it down in my journal and on a Post-It that I stick on my desk and on my laptop. I also try to get a stone engraved with my word for the year. It’s a great tactile reminder and I love looking at my small collection of stones from the years past. The word I choose is something I want to focus on for the year. It might be something simple as the word, “Yes,” which could represent focusing on new opportunities and stepping into them. My word for this year? Team – it represents that I am not journeying alone and asking for help is a good thing for me. I want to surround myself with a team where we can help one another.
  3. Categorize your resolutions and limit them. If you are like me, you might have a long list of resolutions you want to tackle this year. Well, I’ve learned that the long list can sometimes be discouraging and overwhelming. I found that I like to categorize and focus on a handful of areas for my resolutions. I have a health, self, family and growth resolutions. For my health, this year, my resolution is to go to the gym regularly and do a meatless Monday. I also have discovered the importance of doing something for myself, which is why I included that as one of my areas of focus. Last year, my self and growth resolutions were combined when I decided to take a knitting class. It was fun to learn something new, but also to do something that was enjoyable to me! It was also limited because it was a 8 week class. Your resolution doesn’t have to be all year long.
  4. When you fail, start over again. That’s the beauty of starting in September. Even if you mess up, you can start over again and your brain won’t be there to just tell you to give up. You have some buffer time before your brain hits January!
  5. Have fun and be realistic. I still remember one year that I made a resolution to become vegetarian and I was so miserable. I longed for my favorite buffalo wings and dreamed about them frequently. Three months later, I couldn’t stand being a vegetarian and ordered some buffalo wings that I ate by myself. I felt incredibly guilty and bad after-so much so that I gave up the other resolutions I had made. I bet if I had done something like a meatless Monday as a resolution I would’ve had much more success in sticking to it and way more fun trying different vegetarian recipes, dishes or restaurants once a week. I also think it would’ve been a more realistic goal for this meat-lover!
Good luck with your new year resolutions!

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