It’s a new year and that means a fresh start – new goals, new promises, new opportunities!!

Or not.

After all, none of these things are actually true. We wake up the morning of January 1st the same was we do every other day (well, perhaps slightly more hungover). There’s nothing different about a new year unless you decide there should be, which is true for every day of our lives. However, culturally we associate a new year with a time of change. It becomes the chicken and the egg issue – which came first, new year’s resolutions or the idea that a new year meant change? It doesn’t really matter, it’s just something I’ve been wondering about.

Anyhow, this year I’ve struggled coming up with any new year’s resolutions, which is why this post is really a good two weeks late (oh well). Maybe it’s because I’m not all the sure where this next year will take me. Maybe it’s because I’ve done so many of the classic resolutions already. (I’ll eat healthy, still. I’ll keep exercising.) Maybe it’s because I’m finally at any age where my year isn’t preplanned. For so many years I knew what big things would be coming this year. This year I’ll graduate college. This year I’ll continue my Masters degree. This year I’ll start a new job. This year I’ll get married.  I’m finally at a point where I’m not sure what the next year will bring, or what I want it to bring for that matter. I’m happy with the major things in my life – I have an amazing husband, a good job, a nice house, close friends, and good relationships with my family. There’s nothing that jumps out to me as a major gap in my life. At the same time, I’m also very aware that things in my life could change, and I would probably also be happy if things changed.

So right now I don’t have a specific long term goal that I’m willing to commit to – nor do I really want one. Sure, I could tell you where I want to be in  5 or 10 years, but it’s all very vague. Like I said, I’m really not sure what I want this year to bring.

If you know anything about writing goals, you know it’s smart to start with the long-term goals, and then break that down into short term goal, and those into shorter goals until you have specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART) steps that you can take. These steps should all be designed to eventually help you achieve your long term goal. The best example of this is the classic weight loss resolution. If a year from now you want to lose 50 pounds, that’s your long term goal. To achieve it, you’ll set short term goals, like working out for 60 minutes a day and keeping an accurate food diary.

Let’s recap. To set goals, you should start with the long term goal and work backwards. I don’t have a specific long term goal right now. So, how can I come with a new year’s resolution? The short answer is that I’ve struggled. So, this year I decided to think vaguely about the future and go from there. Regardless of the things in my life that could change, who do I want to be a year from now? This is what I came up with.

Be nice

Ah. If you know me, you know why I’m picking this one. I’m not a terribly emotional or empathic person, and this often shows in my interactions. People frequently make jokes about this personality trait of mine, which, ironically, hurts my feelings (though since I don’t show it, no one knows). However, I do care a great deal about the people in my life. This causes me to frequently worry that because I’m not emotional or emphatic, I don’t properly convey how much I care. So, while I don’t expect (or want) to become emotional or empathic (it’s just not who I am), I do think I can try and be nicer in my interactions. This year, I am going to try and be nicer.

Acknowledge I have a style, and stick to it

Last year I said I would stop buying things I don’t need. Either I failed at this, or I allowed myself to define “need” a little too generously.  So, this is something I want to keep working on this year. At the same time, I do have style preferences that I’ve never truly committed to. I like nude dress shoes – flats or heels – with pointed toes. Despite this, I have a closet full of other types of dress shoes that I really don’t like that much. This year I want to buy the staples for my personal style instead of the impulsive “oh how fun” items that I only wear once (if at all).

Think about why I’m eating what I’m eating

Last year I said I’d eat 80% paleo. I mostly do, though this year I want to be more focused on why I sometimes don’t eat paleo. The most frequent times that I stray from eating paleo, and then regret it, is because I am hungry. When I’m hungry I want something right now, and often the easiest thing to eat isn’t paleo. The problem is that if I’m eating because I am hungry, then I should eat something that is full of nutrients (probably paleo) to help with satiety and satiation. This year I am going to try and pay attention to this and only cheat on paleo because I truly want to eat the thing that isn’t paleo.

Workout five days a week

I do this, I would just like to recommit to it.

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