While the first few weeks of December are the busiest time of the year in many industries, lots of employees enjoy the benefits of a few days of well-deserved rest between the Christmas holidays and the new year. Before diving into the eggnog, why not get an early start on planning out your New Year’s resolutions? Having a plan in place before waking up with a champagne hangover on January 1st will make you all the more likely to stick with your resolutions from day one of 2019.
PLAN AHEAD: Planning ahead means that you’ll have extra time to contemplate your resolutions and set realistic goals. One of the primary reasons we fudge on our New Year’s resolutions by mid-February (or earlier!) is setting the bar unrealistically high for ourselves. Saying, “I’m going to go to the gym six days a week!” is admirable, but let’s face it, that’s not doable for everyone. If your sights are set on hitting the fitness center, but you haven’t actually made it there since June, shoot for four days a week to start. Equally important is not trying to change too much at once, especially with more major goals–you might be able to juggle calling Grandma once a week along with doing more thrift store shopping, but trying to quit smoking, start working out, and beginning the Keto diet may leave you feeling overwhelmed. Planning out realistic steps by the end of December will give you more time to evaluate your own personality and schedule, and to map out the necessary actions for achievement.
CREATE A REWARDS SYSTEM: Implementing a rewards system for yourself, such as treating yourself to a scoop of ice cream once you’ve hit the gym for two weeks straight, is another highly effective method for motivation. Remember those gold stars we got for good behavior in kindergarten? The same principle holds sway into adulthood. If you’re a planner, create a calendar or checklist to track your progress, and figure out when and how you’ll indulge. Knowing that there’s a massage waiting for you after you keep the kitchen clean for a month will make you all the more eager to get started–maybe even today!
KICK THEM OFF EARLY: Setting your resolutions early so that you have defined and realistic goals in place by January 1st is a good first step–however, actually putting your plan into action before the new year is even better! Those few extra vacation days during the holidays can serve as a perfect time to begin your plan to read one book per week; or limit your TV time to an hour each night. While financial and health goals might be a little more difficult to begin during the holiday season, with last-minute shopping and Aunt Cindy refilling your wine glass every time you turn your back, making even a small step towards your resolution (putting aside $20 in an envelope, taking a walk around the neighborhood with the kids) is still better than nothing.
Whatever you want to achieve in 2019, bear in mind the old adage: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Take a step back during the busy holiday season and think about what you want to accomplish in the next year. Share your plans with your friends or family as you dig into the Christmas ham, and ask them to hold you accountable, even when you feel like quitting–your loves ones might even offer strategies that never crossed your mind, or offer to join you in volunteering or beginning that new diet. Taking an hour before January 1st to really contemplate your goals, and your plan to achieve them, will increase the chances you’ll actually implement and stick with your New Year’s resolutions.
Happy Holidays from the Treehouse Partners team! What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2019, and how do you plan on sticking with them?