I was initially hesitant about doing a New Year's resolution post. You've probably already read 100 other blog posts and articles with the title "New Year, New You!" Is there really anything new I can add? However, after surveying what's been offered up so far, I realized there is one key thing missing.
If you've been on Pinterest, watched anyone be interviewed, or read a single magazine so far this year (like, in the past two days) you've probably heard things like "I resolve to eat better! smile more! stress less!" about a billion times. Every time I hear one of those phrases described as a "New Year's resolution," I shudder. How in the world can you either succeed or fail at any of those?
What I mean by that is this: there is absolutely no way for me to measure whether or not I have "stressed less" two weeks from now, six months from now, or when 2015 (good lord, 2015?!) rolls around. By phrasing my "resolution" that way, I've set myself up for certain success or certain failure, depending on what kind of person I am - if I want to make myself feel better, I can say "oh yeah, I was definitely less stressed this year." If I take a more negative view, I can mark "stress less" as yet another resolution that fell by the wayside.
As you've probably noticed in other posts on this blog, I am a HUGE proponent of being organized, being specific, and having a plan. I think New Year's resolutions are one of the best places where those principles should be put into practice. But how can I do that?
I'm so glad you asked!
I want to take a second to brag on my husband - on January 1, 2013, he turned to me and said "one of my resolutions this year is to make the bed every morning." Notice he didn't say "keep our apartment cleaner" or "be more organized." Instead, he picked one specific thing to focus on, and applied a measurable requirement to it. And you know what? He was 100% successful. We made our bed every single day in 2013.
For me, those two pieces are the key to a valuable New Year's resolution - specificity and measurability. Maybe that sounds overly scientific, but if you are serious about improving your life in 2014, I think being specific and measured in how you go about that is the only way to keep yourself honest.
So, I came up with a few specific and measurable personal New Year's resolutions. I plan on revisiting this post one year from now to see how I did - that's probably the best way to keep myself on track!
1) Instead of "exercise more" ...
By the end of the year, be able to run up the Lyon Street steps without stopping
I could not find a photo that does these stairs justice. The Lyon Street steps are a huge set of stairs at the far end of my neighborhood that go from the bottom of the hill closest to my house to the very top. The steps themselves span several blocks (there are ~300+ stairs in total).
Ever since I moved to San Francisco, I've intermittently run these stairs as a workout. However, I have never been able to run their entire length without stopping. I've decided that 2014 is the year where that will change - I'm determined to get to the top.
This leads me into a few sub-goals - like most people, I want to get healthier in 2014. But I want a way to measure whether or not I meet that goal. Resolving to be able to run the stairs will help me stick with my goal to go to Crossfit 3-4 times every week, and yoga once every week. If I stick to that plan, I will undoubtedly be in better shape by 2015 (and will also be queen of the Lyon Street steps).
2) Instead of "read more" ...
Read 18 books by the end of the year
At the end of 2012, one of my acquaintances posted on Facebook about how they had achieved their 2012 New Year's resolution to read 52 books in the course of the year. I was super impressed. That person's post inspired me to start tracking what I read using Goodreads. Last year, I tracked everything I read starting on January 1.
For whatever reason, in January of last year I half-heartedly resolved to read 13 books during the year. I didn't make it - I ended up only getting to 12. While 12 is still respectable, I know I can do better. So, this year I resolve to read at least 18 books during 2014. Hopefully that will mean less Facebook, more regular books for this girl.
3) Instead of "travel more" ...
Take an international trip (and no, our upcoming trip to BVI does not count).
This is the goal I'm most nervous about including on this list, because it will be the biggest challenge for me. Not because I dislike international travel (I don't) but because putting in the time to plan a trip is something that I have been incredibly lazy about ever since I became an adult. It was a near-miracle that we even planned our honeymoon.
My husband and I haven't really taken a trip just the two of us since our honeymoon, which I think is a shame. There are so many places I want to see, and I think we should fit in as much as we can before we have children. So, I'm resolving to go on vacation. Internationally. This year. Hopefully saying that here that will kick me into gear.
I sincerely hope that all of the information above is helpful as you formulate your own goals, whether they be New Year's resolutions, KPIs at work, or a list of things you want to do by the end of the day.
Now for a completely random subject change (and a window into my life lately) - if watching 30 Rock were a New Year's resolution, I would be killing it. My husband and I are not typically binge television watchers, but for the past few days we have been blowing through 30 Rock episodes like we're getting paid to watch them. I'm completely obsessed. Although I've seen most of the episodes before, watching them back-to-back in order has made me appreciate the jokes so much more. The fact that we live in a world where a large segment of the population doesn't understand or like the humor on 30 Rock makes me sad for this country. If you haven't watched it before, what are you doing?! Log onto Netflix NOW and watch away. You won't regret it (at least, I sincerely hope you don't).
Have a wonderful Thursday!