Before we get to our 2023 New Years Resolutions recipe for “success”, let’s address the moment. Christmas has just ended and we’re in that awkward in-between stage of waiting for the new year to start. That moment of waiting for January 1st so we can hit start on all our rhythms and goals and magically watch ourselves succeed in all of them, all at once, overnight.
I know that sounds wildly unrealistic and obviously you don’t think like that (she said with a note of sarcasm). And yet that is often how we think, whether consciously or subconsciously.
We tend to live in this in-between week as if there’s a magical switch that’ll click when January 1st rolls around. While nonexistent in December, this switch will turn all our 2023 new years resolutions, desired rhythms, habits, and goals into a reality, almost overnight. Or at least by the end of January, right?
And for the first few weeks, we’re super motivated to make that happen. We’re patient with ourselves, gracious with the process, and charged up.
But what happens when January 22nd or February 3rd rolls around, when the progress we had envisioned for ourselves is nowhere to be seen? Or maybe even that we’re moving in the opposite direction of what we envisioned?
In Eeyore’s words from the movie “Christopher Robin”, we tend to see “disgrace, shame, humiliation.” Dramatic? Maybe, but often the state of our heart can lean into this posture, sometimes without us realizing it, and we act accordingly.
We either give up on the rhythms and goals in a huff and say “better luck next year”. Or we slowly fade them out, claiming some life circumstances that normally wouldn’t stop you, is suddenly too much.
Before I go too far, I do want to caveat that for some of us, this past year (or years) has been really rough. We have experienced great loss, struggle, and etc. This new year might feel like a really great fresh start and we also might still be carrying a lot of baggage. To the point where seemingly trivial life things do feel overwhelming and derailing to new rhythms you’re building. If this is you, know that the words I write are not meant to be a critique or a call to “just get up and try harder.” That is not and will not be the solution or even a solution. If this is you, instead, allow yourself to move into the rhythms with grace and patience. To take the step forward and acknowledge that there might be a few steps back in the process.
Which actually is a great segway for all of us in asking, well how do I stop the pitfall of giving up? Or rather, how do I help myself move through the pitfall of wanting to give up when it happens?
Here’s my two suggestions for helping yourself prevent the pitfall and move through it if/when it happens:
Before we dive into those 2023 New Years resolutions and hit purchase on any of the equipment that will supposedly help you achieve them, write out the purpose behind the rhythms, goals and habits you’re going after.
Writing out what your purpose and heart motivation is behind the 2023 resolutions will create a sense of internal motivation which will create a sturdier foundation to fall back on for when the process of achieving that rhythm/habit/goal becomes hard. Generally, internal motivations outlast external motivations as they are not dependent on, you guessed it, external factors that are uncontrollable and unpredictable.
And yes, I truly mean write it out. When we go through the act of writing, not typing or texting or voice memo-ing, we are more likely to engage our brains with the information being written down. Thereby, we are also more likely to comprehend, reflect on and remember what our purposes are (link if you don’t believe me).
Take time to write out your purposes behind the desired dreams/goals/rhythms/habits for 2023.
We shouldn’t be surprised that this is one of my two suggestions. I am a planner designer after all.
We all need a plan for how we’re going to tackle those dreams/goals/rhythms/habits. It’s beautiful to have it all written down, but without actionable steps for how to go about them, they’ll just remain as beautifully written words and ideas until December 2023 rolls around.
Turn them into quantifiable and tangible steps with a plan.
Coming up with a plan helps us have more manageable tangible steps towards the bigger loftier less measurable dreams/goals/rhythms/habits we aspire to.
Write down your actionable plan steps for the New Years resolutions you’re going for in 2023.
Once you have the plan, then, and only then, evaluate if or what are the tools that will help you in the process of developing those habits/rhythms and achieving those goals.
Would it be helpful to get yourself a habit tracker so you have a paper accountability partner for going after those rest goals? Would it be helpful to download a breathing meditation app? Would it be helpful to purchase a fitness notebook or meal planner?
If no, then don’t get those! If yes, then figure out where you’re going to get those items from.
Here are a few of our favorites from our shop:
Regardless of whether you are team 2023 resolutions or team no new years resolutions, my encouragement is that each of us would spend some time reflecting on the 2022 year in preparation for the 2023 year. Whether you set goals for yourself or not is not the point, reflecting well and preparing in some way for the new year helps prevent the slumpy and yet abrupt feelings we sometimes experience when new years or transitions happen.
With joy & gratitude,
For other resources on rhythms and planning for resolutions and goals, see the below links:
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