How are your New Year’s resolutions going? I’m sure you’ve had a chance to consume plenty of media telling you what everyone else is going to change in 2018 and giving you ideas about your own goals and plans for the year.
As a chronic non-planner, I wanted to offer a different perspective to those of you who, like me, haven’t jumped on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon yet.
I’m someone who just loves new beginnings. I think I’m in the minority here, but Mondays are one of my favorite days of the week because I love the feeling of a fresh start. (But, I also think Fridays are pretty great too!)
I’ve also been known to celebrate a monthly flip day, the first day of the month when you flip your calendar – just because I love the feeling of having a brand new wide open month upon me.
So naturally, what’s not to love about a brand new shiny year?
The only problem is, I feel like the new year comes at kind of a rough time – just a week after we’ve had a huge month-long build up to Christmas.
I don’t know about you, but I’m usually pretty exhausted by the time New Year’s rolls around.
This is usually me right after Christmas:
So, I might seem like a person who really digs new years resolutions and celebrating a grand new beginning. The reality is, I really have a lot of trouble getting onboard with any big changes in time for January 1.
I don’t have any big resolutions to tell you about or any lofty goals for 2018. And, I’m 100% ok with that.
When we’re observing what all of our friends, family, social media acquaintances and colleagues are doing, it’s easy to get caught up in the expectation that we should do the same.
The internet is flooded with articles, products and ideas about how to get organized, how to get healthy, how to grow your business, how to improve yourself, how to unplug, and how to do everything we all think we should be doing.
But for me, January 1 is just an arbitrary date. I’ve come to realize that it does not have to be a deadline for me to figure out how to get my life in order. It’s sufficient for me tidy up a little bit after the holidays, and mostly carry on exactly as I did before.
I wanted to share this because maybe there are others who feel like they aren’t measuring up to this high standard of getting everything together to have the best year yet.
Instead of viewing January 1 and the start of a New Year as a catalyst for change, I think it’s healthier to search deep in to yourself to discover the best ways and times for you to go about change.
As I have come to realize that I don’t necessarily fit the mold for how most of society does New Year’s resolutions, I’ve learned that there are different approaches to making changes that work much better for me and my personality.
1. Know Your Personality
I’ve always been a big fan of learning about the Meyers-Briggs personality types. I’ve taken dozens of tests over the years and have pretty well pegged myself as an ISFP. One thing that I find really fascinating about it is that as humans, we are so complex that even this highly organized and commonly used classification system can’t give us all of the answers. I’ve been reading articles about my personality type for over a decade and there always seems to be more to learn and another layer of myself to uncover.
My most recent epiphany about my personality type is that we don’t tend to be long-term planners. I think I always knew this about myself, but I hadn’t accepted it. This realization has been part of what helped me to realize that I’m off the hook for New Year’s resolutions.
Don’t get me wrong, I love having a good plan and setting goals. I’ve just learned that my version of setting goals and having a plan isn’t necessarily as concrete and tangible as most people would expect.
I prefer to operate on a more fluid and in-the-moment approach to planning.
2. Find the times of year that inspire change for you
I’m a warm weather gal through and through, so I tend to find January, the coldest time of the year, to be pretty uninspiring.
But the moment it hits 70* in the springtime, I’m a new person. I find that some of my best ideas and strongest motivation strikes in early March when it starts to warm up around here.
This time of the year works well for me to plan for change because we’re in the last stretch of the school year, so it’s a natural time for my schedule to change and for new things to start up.
August is another good time of the year for me to bring about change. I take the whole month off from teaching and I have a lot of mental space and extra time to make sure I can implement changes.
3. Tap into your inspiration the moment it strikes
I’ve always thought it was curious how a lot of people plan for a change or an improvement to start at some point in the future. If it’s something that is nagging at you to change, why not just start right now?
You can eat better and make healthier choices on the weekend. You don’t have to wait until another Monday rolls around.
You can start a new workout on any day of the month, you don’t have to wait until a the next “flip day” to get started.
You can change the way you teach your students this week. You don’t have to wait until a new semester or a new school year.
I find that when an idea is the newest and most exciting to me, it’s the best time to act on it. The longer it sits the more likely it is to get whisked away into the whirlwind of everyday life.
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m wandering aimlessly with out plans or goals. I have plenty of big projects (like this long-term goal I am currently working on) and aspirations to keep me going. I’m pretty much always hungry for change and improvement in some aspect of my life. I’ve just learned not to treat the transition from December to January any differently than I do the transition to other months, weeks, or days.
And, just to be clear, I love to celebrate our differences, so I love that some people find their motivation in a New Year. But, I also want to encourage people who might feel like their failing or stuck in a rut to re-think when and how to bring about change. If you missed your chance on January 1, there might be better opportunity coming up to start something new, change a habit or make a lifestyle change coming up.
What about you? I’d love to hear about your take on New Year’s resolutions and goal setting. Tell me about it in the comments below.