It’s that time of year again! Christmas is almost here, and many people are starting to think about their goals for the new year. I have mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions, myself. I mean, I think they’re wonderful if you actually stick to them. But I, like so many people, have struggled to meet the goals I set for myself year after year. Why, you ask? Well, perhaps they’ve been too lofty. You know what I mean…how unchecked motivation can sometimes cause you to bite off more than you can chew? Mount Everest, here I come! Or maybe they weren’t specific/measurable/incremental enough. Maybe the lack of accountability allowed me to take too casual an approach.
Regardless of the reason, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I have had no problem talking the talk and a lot of problems walking the walk.
Long term anyway. Last year, I resolved to buy nothing new for an entire year, excepting food and other consumables of course…oh, and underwear (check out my post on the merits of buying used). I actually made it until April or May without wavering. Typically my motivation peters off much, much sooner than that. I did take away a valuable lesson, though. The more people you tell about your resolution, the more likely you are to stick to it. At first, I was so jazzed about my goal of buying nothing new that I told anyone who would listen. And it worked! Just knowing that I might have to account for any unauthorized purchases kept me very honest. Eventually, though, my resolution went the way of the dodo.
Nevertheless, I am approaching 2019 with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm. We have exciting plans for our summer vacation (stay tuned!) and a lot of work to do before we get there. Not to mention, I have many of the same aspirations that make up the classic New Year’s resolution list. I’ve decided to take my own advice and tell as many people as possible about my plans. In doing so, perhaps my efforts will be longer lasting. I may tweak these a bit as the weeks go on, but I feel pretty certain that they are winners. So here they are: my resolutions for 2019!
1. Prioritize family time. It is so easy to let all of the chores, errands, and to-do’s leak into the areas of your life that matter most. I am so guilty of this. When someone wants my attention, my immediate response is typically, “Hold on, let me just finish X, Y, and Z.” How sad.
While I understand that sometimes you just have to get one thing done before you focus on another, that cannot be the case 24/7. Especially when your beautiful child is growing like a weed before your eyes, watching your every move, and mimicking every profound or stupid thing you say or do.
I want to do better in this area. So I resolve, whenever possible, to honor family time by giving it my full attention. This means sticking to the routines I’ve laid out for myself so I don’t have to worry about when I’ll actually get to complete the aforementioned X, Y, and Z. It also means putting down my phone during those couple of hours between the time we get home from work/daycare to the time my daughter goes to bed.
2. Exercise 4 or more times per week for at least 30 minutes. As I wrote this, I actually yawned. How many times have I made a similar commitment to myself and broken it? I’m embarrassed to admit. This time is slightly different, though. This time, I’m not approaching exercise with the ultimate goal of losing weight or being ultra-fit (although both of those would be glorious outcomes).
Rather, I am acknowledging exercise as a vital component of my happiness and mental health.
I’ve been told that 30 minutes of daily exercise is more effective than therapy.
I believe it. Exercise not only makes me feel happier and more relaxed, but also less driven to stuff my face with feel-good-now-feel-bad-later comfort food. I see you, refined carbs….
3. Stop eating after 8:00 PM. You know how it goes…the kid’s in bed, the work day is done, the snacks are beckoning from behind that cabinet door…I don’t know about you, but this is a dangerous time for me. I think that when I start being mindful about this habit, I’ll begin to see significant changes in a handful of areas.
4. Stick to our budget categories. When you don’t have a specific financial goal laid out in black and white, it’s so easy to lose sight of what you are striving toward. Our financial goals have changed over time, and each time we reach one we tend to go through a period of relaxed spending. This spells doom for our budget. Suddenly, we discover that the money we thought we had for something was actually spent on something else. Talk about anxiety. I’ve included this as a resolution, because it’s a prerequisite to resolutions 5 and 6. In order to achieve our current financial goals, we will need to be diligent about sticking to our other budget categories.
5. Channel as much money toward our emergency savings account as possible until we hit our target. Because we would all do well to have a little extra money set aside for a rainy day. My husband and I follow a paper-based budgeting system. It’s nothing fancy, but it is detailed. We assign our dollars to predetermined categories before they even enter our bank account. Once our direct deposits are processed, we sit down and allocate all of our funds into their respective budget categories. In other words, we know exactly how much money we have to spend and how much can be channeled toward savings. We arrived at a number based on our current income and plan to diligently apply AT LEAST that amount to our emergency fund every month until we reach our savings goal. I say “at least” because we hope to apply any unused money from other non-savings categories (i.e. pocket money, entertainment, etc.) in order to reach our emergency savings goal more quickly. If all goes as planned, we should reach this amount in 4 months time (April 2019).
6. Build up our travel fund. This one is the least specific of all my resolutions, because it will require some research to determine just how much will be needed for our summer vacation.
The plan is, once the emergency savings account is fully funded, the entire amount that was being contributed will then be channeled into our travel fund until we reach our [to be determined] goal. Think Dave Ramsey’s “debt snowball”…only this is more of a fun snowball. The Olaf of snowballs, if you will.
7. Establish and stick to a consistent schedule for blog posts. I’m including this resolution here in the spirit of transparency, and because it’s something I’ll be striving toward this coming year. What I really want is to grow my blog following (what blogger doesn’t?!). As a newbie (like, this is my third post ever), I have no concept of how long anything takes in the blogosphere. But I do know that there are a few specific steps I can take to encourage more people to visit, subscribe to, and take value from my blog. One of those steps is posting interesting and timely content on a regular basis. I aim to always favor authenticity and honesty above follower count. So, in lieu of choosing an arbitrary number as my goal, I will instead focus my attention on producing regular, quality content. More details in the weeks to come!
So, that’s it! My 2019 New Year’s resolutions. Am I hesitant to share them? Yes, of course.
Our resolutions directly reflect the areas of our lives where we feel the weakest and, thus, the most in need of intervention.
But, as I mentioned before, having to answer only to myself has not been a successful strategy in the past. So, I’m just going to leave these right here.
And y’all, I’m not waiting until January to start working toward these bad boys. I’m going to strike while the motivation is hot, which is now. I will keep you posted on all the big stuff (and probably a good deal of the nitty gritty) as I go. Wish me luck!
I’d also love to hear from you! Do you share any of the same resolutions?