Rethink New Year’s Resolutions with these High-Vibe strategies

Photo: Mavenly + Co

Photo: Mavenly + Co

As New Year’s Eve gets closer it’s so easy to get swept up in the “New Year, New You” buzz. While I’m all about self-improvement and personal growth, I also realize that there’s a lot of societal pressure to set New Year’s resolutions or hyper-focus on losing weight or getting in shape. (Not that there’s anything wrong with setting goals around these things!).

At the same time, as the New Year approaches I look at this time as a period to reflect on the past year and spend some time visualizing what I want my life to look like in 2019. As much of an ambitious, goal-driven person that I can be naturally, I’ve learned a mix of strategies in the past few years that have really helped me rethink goal setting and have made a huge difference in my life.

To be clear, I want to share these things with you as a way to help you rethink New Years resolutions and know that you don’t “have” to do anything because you think you should. “Should” is another word for “expectations,” which I learned to ditch long ago and it’s a real game changer, y’all. ;)

Here’s an example: instead of thinking, “This year my resolution is to get in shape and workout everyday because it’s good for you and I should do that.” This type of goal comes from a place of obligation, not inspiration. Instead, a goal that may feel better and more exciting is, “This year I want to try some new exercise classes and workouts to find some type of movement that I enjoy and that’s fun. I know that if I have fun and enjoy the exercise, then it will become a healthy habit I will look forward to.” Which one feels better? Coming from a place of “should” vs “want.?” Reframing goals makes a huge difference, and helps you get close to your “why” as well. If you want to workout because you think you need to punish yourself for what you eat, I would encourage you to instead focus on a positive “Why” like feeling stronger and having more energy.

Here are a few tools and strategies I hope you find helpful as you reflect on 2018 and head into the New Year!

1.Do a Life Audit

This strategy is one I learned from the ladies at Mavenly + Co and let me tell you, it’s powerful. Especially if you are feeling overwhelmed and like you don’t have time to do all the things, this tool will help you get real honest with yourself about where you’re spending your time. The first thing you do in a Life Audit is write down your personal mission statement or why. I know that’s not an easy task, but you have to start here or else you don’t know how to prioritize all the things on your plate.

Here’s more info on a mission statement from Mavenly if you’re a bit lost: ”A personal mission statement will help you articulate your values, beliefs, determine your personal definition of success, how you contribute value to the world, and help you show others the current purpose of your life.”

Next, you take stock of all the areas of your life that you give time to. Every relationship, commitment, or other obligation. Then you get real about which things are getting you closer to where you want to be, and which ones are taking your time and energy without bringing much value to your life. For more information, I highly recommend you read this post over at Mavenly + Co for the step by step process.

2. Get clear on your Values, Strengths, Priorities

You’d think that everyone knows what their values are, but it’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer. Really think about it, If I was to ask you your top 5 core values, could you answer right away? And a value is not a person or thing fyi (like your family or money–while those are important, they are not values that guide your life and bring you fulfillment within themselves). Values are the guiding principles that give your life meaning. A tool that is really helpful for getting clear on this is the VIA Assessment, which you can take for free here: http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths-Survey. The VIA survey is technically a “character strengths” survey which in my opinion, is the same as your values.

3. Know your “Tendency”

Gretchen Rubin is one of my favorite writers (Read my interview with her about procrastination on Well+Good here). She researches and writes about happiness and habits, and her approach is so actionable and real. I like that she always says that knowing yourself better is the first place to start when it comes to happiness and personal growth. The Four Tendencies are the four ways Rubin found that people respond to expectations. And understanding how you respond to to expectations is key to creating better habits. Here’s a clip from my article that explains more:

“In her new book, The Four Tendencies, Rubin explains how understanding one small aspect of your personality could be a game-changer when it comes to procrastination: How you respond to expectations. (Do you buck when someone assigns you a task, or do you thrive when there’s structure?) As she sees it, you could be an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or Rebel (and you can take this quiz to find out which):”

Upholder: Discipline is my freedom.

Obliger: You can count on me, and I’m counting on you counting on me.

Questioner: I’ll comply—if you convince me why.

Rebel: You can’t make me, and neither can I.

4.Learn about setting realistic goals

Besides learning how to write realistic to-do lists (I’m guilty of writing 4-page long lists at the beginning of the day thinking I can get all of it done) setting realistic goals is another key strategy. Sometimes setting goals can be overwhelming, which is why to breaking them down into smaller steps is super helpful. Another strategy that can help is setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, timely). Learn how to do this here over at Mavenly + Co’s blog (maybe I should rename this post things Mavenly taught me about life?). ;)

5. Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul

Ok, ok I know this may sound a little Woo-woo, but the Desire Map is an amazing way to rethink your goals. Danielle Laporte’s main message is to first think about how you want to feel, vs. checking things and accomplishments off your list. Focusing on the feeling that you want first helps you find clarity in action and decision making. For example, maybe your goal is to move in 2019. Instead of just saying my goal is to move to a new city in 2019, you first ask yourself how do you want to feel when you move? What is the real reason? Is it to feel energized, connected, adventurous? Getting clear on that feeling first is really powerful since it shifts your focus from the “thing” to the feeling. Then once you know how you want to feel, you take action from that place.

I hope you find these tools helpful! Cheers to a healthy + happy 2019! xoxo- Mercey

Mercey Livingston