How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You’ll actually Keep

Notebooks for goal planning

Today is Monday, January 15th. That means that by now, 80% of us have already given up on our New Year’s Resolutions. That’s if you made them at all – in the poll I created on Instagram, 75% of you said you didn’t make resolutions, but instead preferred a “Word of the Year,” a single word or phrase to focus on throughout the year.

I have a hybrid approach that combines the best of both. I’ve developed this method over several years, refining and adjusting the process along the way. I started with classic resolutions I’d make in January, and forget about until the end of the year, and then feel guilty that I hadn’t accomplished what I set out to do, and amazed at how different what I thought I wanted at the beginning of the year was from what I wanted at the end. This method of setting goals certainly wasn’t having much of a positive impact on my life. But I couldn’t give up on the idea.

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Make It A Ten

“On a scale from 1-10, how committed are you to these goals?”

I pondered for a few seconds. If I say anything less than 10, what am I doing here?

I was sitting in the office of the personal trainer at the gym I’d just joined the week before. That sentence is nothing short of miraculous. For most of my life, I’ve hated three things: working out, gyms, and running. And here I sat, signing up for personal training, at a gym, to get in shape to run my second 5k.

It all started almost two years ago, when I decided I was tired of not fitting in my clothes and not liking the way I looked. I got back to my goal weight, and have maintained ever since. My success motivated Brian, who as of today, has lost 47 lbs. 

That in turn motivated me to start running. And running our first 5K in November made me want to do it again. But since it’s cold outside in the evenings after work, I allowed Brian to convince me to join his gym. After the free fitness test with the personal trainer, I realized that I have a lot of work to do. 

My goals now are to run a faster 5K, to strengthen my very weak core, and gain some much needed muscle, which will help my running. And stress relief, since I’ve discovered that the best way to turn off this crazy brain after work is working out for an hour. 

But in order to reach my goals, I know now that I have to be willing to invest in them. I’ve failed often enough to know that I have to invest my time, energy, and money. That means working out when I don’t feel like it, paying for good shoes, workout clothes, and now, personal training. Investing in my fitness goals is really an investment in myself – my mental and physical health. And it proves whether or not I’m really committed. 

I answered: “Ten.”

Three weeks in, and I’m already seeing results. I’m sore in places I didn’t even knew I had muscles, but my body fat percentage has dropped, and I’m on track to improve my race time. Best of all, I actually look forward to going to the gym. 

Did you set health or fitness goals for this year? How would you answer the question my trainer posed?

A Brave New Year

Buy it from Watersounds on Etsy

While riding in the car for 45 hours during our road trip to Iowa for Christmas, I had ample time to reflect on 2013 and make some goals for the new year. Honestly, 2013 was such a blur. From January to December, so much changed. 

I learned a goal setting technique some time ago that radically changed the way I make New Years Resolutions. Instead of setting goals for the entire year in January, I make a list of ten goals for the year, but re-write it every week. If something happens that requires my priorities to change, there’s no guilt. I found that I accomplish much more than when I wasn’t able to take unforeseen circumstances into account. 
Last year, I …
  1. Actually made money from my blog
  2. Started a small business
  3. Reached my goal weight
  4. Got more involved with managing our finances
  5. Trained for and ran a 5k
  6. Was published in a magazine
  7. Finished my quilt
  8. Finished my wedding scrapbook
  9. Started an Etsy shop
  10. Redesigned Scribbles from Emily
  11. Made art
  12. Guest posted on 3 blogs
  13. Quit Target
  14. Curated my wardrobe to 100 items
  15. Paid off a school loan
  16. Guest posted on 2 more blogs
  17. Applied for 20ish jobs
  18. Traveled (California, Oregon, Iowa)
  19. Got better at driving
  20. Made two new friends
  21. Maintained goal weight all year
  22. Did an internship
  23. Got a full time job
This year, I hope to accomplish at least these, some of which carried over from last year: 
  1. Run a faster 5k (February). My first was 45 ish minutes, so I’d like to do better this time!
  2. Pay off school loans. With my full-time job, we could potentially be out of debt this year!
  3. Get a bigger bed, bedroom furniture. Much needed. Can’t handle sleeping in a full sized bed much longer.
  4. Read 12 books. Approximately one a month, so if I read the Harry Potter series again, that takes care of seven. 
  5.  Blog 52 posts on scribbles from Emily. Aiming for once a week.
  6.  Build a professional wardrobe. Also much needed! 
  7.  Re-decorate house. A goal from last year, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not very good at interior design. I’d like to learn some new skills in this area.
  8.  Finish embroidery pillows. I started these ages ago, and can’t wait to finish them.
  9.  Learn to golf. It looks like a fun sport, that I could actually get good at.
  10.  Take a writing class. Since I’m a writer now, I’d like to work on my technique and learn some things that can help my career. Plus, it’d just be fun.
Last year, my theme was Confidence. This year, my theme is Brave. 
It’s similar, but difference. Brave is doing the right thing, even when you don’t feel confident. It’s doing what you need to do, even when you’re still afraid. It’s saying what you need to say, knowing that not everyone will like it. Brave is pushing for what you believe in, standing up for the right, and being yourself instead of fitting in. Sometimes, being selfless is brave.
I think I was inspired by this song, that I’m kind of obsessed with right now. 

I like choosing songs for different seasons of my life, and this is mine right now. I was also a little influenced by reading Divergent. 

The verdict is still out on where I’d rank this book in comparison to the Hunger Games and other dystopian literature, or young adult literature.

Regardless, I plan to accomplish something brave this year.


What about you? What are you excited about for 2014? 

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Confidence Challenge: The Year So Far

It’s hard to believe that this year is now halfway over. I took a look back at my New Year’s Resolution, summed up with the word: Confidence.

I want confidence. Confidence that doesn’t come from what job I have or what I can produce, but in who God made me. Confidence that no matter what happens, He has a plan for me and is working all things for good, even the things that seem like mistakes or detours to others…and myself. 

I also wrote a list of ten goals for the year that I tried to revisit and re-write every week. It’s a tip I learned to help you accomplish more since they will probably go through changes from the first of the year to December. My goals for the year in January were:

  • Launch a business that I was working on at the time with two co-partners
  • Get published
  • Run a 5K
  • Get my closet down to 100 items
  • Pay off a school loan
  • Guest post on 3 blogs
  • Quit Target
  • Redesign Scribbles
  • Finish the church flyer and my quilt
  • Make art
So much has changed in six months. As of June,
While I’ve met many of those goals, and many more I’ve made throughout the last six months, I wonder how I’m doing on my overall resolution – growing in confidence. 
Dealing with failure and rejection has helped me grow in confidence. For example, when the business partnership didn’t work out, I went through a period of self-doubt, but I was also determined to try again on my own. Bleu Feather Paper Co. doesn’t have people breaking down the (virtual) door yet, but I have learned so much in the process of setting it up, creating the brand, marketing, and trying to find what works. For example, you’ll find out via the next newsletter that there’s been some important pricing adjustments.
I’ve been rejected for a several jobs that I thought I was a great fit for, without even an interview. That really struck a blow at my confidence at first. I wallowed a little, thinking I wasn’t good enough for anyone, but instead of letting that last for months, I decided to proactively work on getting more experience so that I could be a better contender. 
Interviews are a great way to work on your confidence, as it turns out! After all, you’re selling yourself, your skills, and the potential benefit to your employer. I’ve had two interviews this month, and while at first I felt a little like I was faking it, now I do feel more confident in my abilities. 
And I can tell more changes are on the way for the next six months. For one, I’m very excited to announce that I am now an intern for Sage Grayson! My first day is July 1st, and I will be helping her with social media, scheduling, and graphic design. I know I’m going to learn a lot from Sage, and I’m glad that I’ll be able to use my skills to free her up to focus on coaching and writing.
From right here, I can see the beginnings of many possible paths for the future. Who knows what the next six months will bring?!

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).”

I’m deeply grateful that God knows the plans He has for me, and it’s all under His control, not mine!

I’m also deeply grateful for all the love you guys show me through your faithful reading and sweet comments. Thank you so, so much for being here!

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions? How are you doing on keeping them? Share your progress in the comments!

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Free Printable and Mid-Year Goal Reflection

It’s JUNE. I know we say “time is going by so fast” often, but seriously, what happened to the first half of this year?!

I made myself a little sign for motivation, then I figured that you might like it too.

 To download the 8×10 size, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Since the year is half gone, it’s time to take a look at my New Year’s Resolutions. One of the reasons I think many people fail to keep their resolutions is that they make them and then forget them until December rolls around. Also, I’m a believer in flexible resolutions, because you never know what road blocks can come up in a year!  Instead of getting discouraged and throwing out all resolutions, I’m resolved to revise as needed to keep stretching myself while being realistic. 

This is what I resolved in January, soon after my aunt passed way from cancer:

Others Goals:

  • Eat out less, have people over more. We have had people over more often than last year, but we still eat out too much. Trying to get down to once a week.
  • Reach out the the community regularly with the youth group (hopefully once a month). Brian and I finally sat down and made a schedule, so for the summer, we will have monthly outreaches. If we have another planning session for the fall, I think we’ll be able to keep it up.
  • Go to Mexico on the church mission trip (taking place in March)Did it!
  • Take time to celebrate my friendships and let people know how much I appreciate them. I’m still not doing well at sending cards and calling people, although in the last month I actually sent Mother’s Day cards (though late), two birthday cards, and letters to my brothers just because. This one definitely needs to stay on my resolutions list to keep working on.

Personal Goals:

  • Make my wedding scrapbook, preferably before our two year anniversary in June. I started working on it on Memorial Day, and put together two pages. I’m not too confident I’ll finish it by June 19th, but maybe by the end of the year. 
  • Make more art and crafts (this will happen this semester since I’m taking a drawing class) Finished drawing class, and still drawing in my free time.
  • Keep blogging 🙂 I slowed down quite a bit from my usual schedule for a few months, but I’ve picked it back up now. 
  • Grow as a writer and designer by learning new skills in school and seeking to get published. I have grown in my skills, and I have specific plans to continue growing.
  • Get published in something. Hasn’t happened yet.
  • Graduate college (this will happen in May!) Yep!

Physical Goals:

  • Do Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred (time to be determined, probably Jan-Feb.)
  • Exercising all year, keeping the goal of 3 times a week. I’ve been doing really well with exercise this year, although Brian being unemployed made it tons easier to find motivation since I had someone to work out with. I’ve been slacking off since he want back to work, and I’ve got to find a new way to stay motivated!
  • Take care of my health by seeking to eat balanced meals and going to the doctor/dentist/dermatologist regularly (and get Brian to go too). When Brian lost his job, we didn’t have health insurance. Our new insurance won’t start for a couple months, so this will have to wait. 

New Goals

I’ve expanded my goals and made the existing goals more specific. Here’s what I have now:

Spiritual

  • Read new devotional books regularly
  • Work on discovering my passions and purpose
  • Journal at least once a week
  • Have daily devotions
  • Serve at church

Self

  • Graduate from college
  • Grow as a designer
  • Grow as a writer
    • Send 2 or more queries a month
    • Write two or more articles per month
    • Get published 😀
  • Make arts and crafts
    • Wedding Scrapbook
    • Personal scrapbook
    • Drawing class
    • Make curtains for my office
    • Headboard for our bedroom
    • Pillow cases for our bedroom
  • Grow my blogs
    • Set up Newlywed’s Bliss contributor system
      • Email possible contributors
      • Set up accounts and schedules
    • Write and submit guest posts
    • Blog 3 times a week on Scribbles From Emily
    • Blog once a week on Newlywed’s Bliss
    • Grow Scribbles followers to 300
    • Grow NB followers to 100
  • Read
  • Physical
    • Keep working out three times a week
    • Eat balanced meals, restricting processed foods
    • Visit the doctor, dentist, dermatologist

Others

  • Celebrate my friendships and let people know I appreciate them
    • Write Edward (my brother)
    • Write Eric (my brother)
    • Write Bessi (our sponsored child)
    • Talk to Evi, Elissa, mom and dad regularly
  • Go on weekly dates with Brian
  • Eat out less, have people over once a month
  • Go to Mexico
  • Help with VBS
    • Teaching or assistant teaching the pre-primaries
    • Movie and photography highlights from the summer
  • Volunteer at church
    • Update and manage the website 
    • Design brochures
    • Design visitor packet
  • Youth Group
    • Plan monthly activities
    • Help promote activities
    • Girl’s Bible Study?
    • Youth Group Blog

Wow… it looks a little ambitious. But I have a plan – at the beginning of each month I’ll pick certain objectives from each category to focus on. At the beginning of each week, I’ll pick some of those objectives to tackle. I can break bigger tasks into week long chunks, and then into pieces small enough to get done in a day.

So, it’s going to be vital that I seize the day!

Download the PDF here. 
Download the image file here.

If you’d like to just make the most of your summer, you might like this printable from Passion And Purpose:

Check it out here: Summer Planning Sheet.

Are you re-evaluating or checking up on your New Year’s resolutions? What’s on your bucket list for summer? 

Linking up here today:

2012

“Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

I read “A Story to Live By” by Ann Wells, first published in the Los Angeles Times, in Fresh-Brewed Life: A Stirring Invitation to Wake Up Your Soul by Nicole Johnson about celebrating life. The author was helping her brother-in-law pick out clothes to take to the mortician after her sister’s unexpected death. Her brother-in-law pulled out a beautiful handmade silk slip. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 nine years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.” He admonished the author, “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

This story struck me deeply since my aunt Joy so recently passed away at the age of 43. Did she ever save things for a special occasion that never came? I don’t know, but I doubt it. She was the kind of person who lived fully alive, who celebrated events large and small. At the visitation I flipped through her scrapbooks. She documented new puppies, ladybugs, and loosing teeth right along with birthdays, Christmases, awards, and travels.

Last year I based my resolutions on Proverbs 31. This year, I want to carry the idea of every day being a special occasion, a day to celebrate being alive.

New Year’s Resolutions {So Far}

Others Goals:

  • Eat out less, have people over more
  • Reach out the the community regularly with the youth group (hopefully once a month)
  • Go to Mexico on the church mission trip (taking place in March)
  • Take time to celebrate my friendships and let people know how much I appreciate them. In several of my aunt’s scrapbooks, she had saved all the Christmas cards and letters from that year. I think she treasured her friendships and relationships, and people knew it. 

Personal Goals:

  • Make my wedding scrapbook, preferably before our two year anniversary in June
  • Make more art and crafts (this will happen this semester since I’m taking a drawing class)
  • Keep blogging 🙂
  • Grow as a writer and designer by learning new skills in school and seeking to get published
  • Get published in something
  • Graduate college (this will happen in May!)

Physical Goals:

  • Do Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred (time to be determined, probably Jan-Feb.)
  • Exercising all year, keeping the goal of 3 times a week
  • Take care of my health by seeking to eat balanced meals and going to the doctor/dentist/dermatologist regularly (and get Brian to go too)

That’s what I’ve got so far; it’s still a work in progress. I think it will be until 2013! So much changed over the course of last year, who knows what lies ahead?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

What are a few of your goals for the new year?

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