The month of January goes one of two ways:
- You throw yourself into New Year’s resolutions, planning, etc.
- The holidays and the cold weather have drained you and the thought of resolutions makes you want to crawl into a hole
Typically a new year is a time for you to reflect and create new goals. But why put all this pressure on ourselves to implement these changes up front? Why not create a year of resolutions, aspirations and new fun things you want to experience?
For the last two months, I’ve been listening to Gretchen Rubin‘s podcast Happier that she does weekly with her sister Elizabeth. Among other pearls of wisdom, each episode starts with a try this at home tip: a digestible idea to help you create better habits. A few, liking setting an alarm for bedtime, resonated with me. They’re also super easy and fun to try.
As I planned for the new year, I remember the podcast, these tips and recognized that a list of lofty resolutions wasn’t going to work for me. Actually, it never has.
So instead, I started focusing on a couple of things that hopefully will male me a little happier and a little healthier. So far for the month of January, I’ve implemented:
- Packing breakfast and lunch daily
- Tracking workouts at the gym
- Walking during one call a day at work
- Writing blog posts while at the gym (eliminates the pressure to find another time to write)
Now for some ideas I thought were good but aren’t sticking:
- Getting up 30 minute earlier to do yoga.
- Going to bed at a consistent time
- Taking a lunch break to read
I’m not totally giving up on these ideas but need to look at them differently and assess if now is the right timing. For example, instead of a full yoga class in the morning, maybe it’s ten mindful minutes of stretching. These smaller changes do have a bigger impact and absolutely remove the pressure of trying to do too much.
I can only speak for myself here: pressure doesn’t help me but it might work for you. We all need to meet ourselves where we are. Nobody needs more pressure or stress. Certainly, I’m not perfect, but these smaller changes have helped my mood. overall well-being and happiness.
What are your thoughts on New Years resolutions? Any helpful tips to share on how to implement new rituals or habits?
In last week’s post, I talked about how stuck I’ve been recently. One way I’ve be able to start taking baby steps forward is using the routines I previously had in place. They’re familiar, comfortable and have made each day easier. But why are routines and rituals so important?
Most of us have routines in place unintentionally. If you catch same train every day or brush your teeth before bed, you have an established routine. Those are unconscious decisions we’ve made for a while. The routines that are more important are the ones we intentionally decide to implement in our lives.
My friend and creator of more happy hours, Jullien Gordon was the person who got me thinking about intentional routines and rituals over two years ago. At the beginning of each year, Jullien creates his New Year Guide, which allows people to focus on goals in each area of their lives. He helps people dive deeper in how they’ll achieve the goal, what obstacles they’ll face and how to implement more consistent routines in their lives.
I just finished filling out my guide last night and was completely energized by it. There’s something about writing down aspirations for the future and your plan for achieving them that excites me. During this process, I was reminded of how chosen routines will help me along. For example, I’m running (hopefully not trotting) Mudderella this summer with my super talented runner friend. I’m totally intimidated and know training more regularly is a must. So I thought about what I could intentionally do to ensure I stick to a training plan. Some of my thoughts included:
- Telling as many people as possible about the race. These people then will help to hold me accountable and will hopefully check in to see how I’m progressing
- Starting smart and pacing myself. I’m not going to be able to run five miles immediately. It’s more about setting realistic goals, like running for 30 minutes twice a week and gradually increasing from there
- Thinking about the big picture. So it’s not just about running since there are obstacles included in this race. Eating better and meal prepping will help; so will strength training. One routine I wanted to start that’s been a struggle is doing a bit of strength training in the morning before I get ready for work. No matter what I tell myself or how early I set my alarm, I haven’t been able to jump start this one. Any ideas you have to help are appreciated.
You can apply my tips listed above to implementing any new routine. You also shouldn’t try to create a bunch of new routines at once. You’re going to be so focused on getting each one perfected that they won’t stick. Like with most everything else, it’s a balancing act. Give yourself permission to mess up a routine once in a while. Getting frustrated isn’t going to help.
Ultimately, routines and rituals energize you and help create consistently across all aspects of your life. Believing in and harnessing their power will absolutely help you achieve your goals. Share some of your favorite routines or rituals on the comments section!