It's that time of year again when you reflect on all the things you wish you'd accomplished in the last year and vow that the new year will be different. But here's a new idea: If just thinking about writing down that a resolution list is giving you anxiety, maybe you should just tear it up and throw it away. That's what I did and I don't regret it for a second.
New Year’s resolutions can often seem daunting rather than inspiring. Even the word "resolution" just feels so constricting. Which is why last year I decided I was going to toss that list aside and try something new.
Just because I decided to forget the resolutions doesn’t mean I didn’t have goals.
From eating healthier to producing less waste, and trying to live in the moment, there were many things I hoped to achieve. The key to meeting those goals was all in how I approached them. Rather than trying to take on a laundry list of changes all at once, I decided to take things one step at a time and spend a month focused on each item instead. I also adopted a more positive way of achieving what I wanted by creating challenges rather than rules.
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I didn’t start off the year with a list of set goals in mind.
Instead, as the year progressed and I discovered things I wanted to change about my life, I would create a challenge for myself. One day, for example, I realized I was tired of eating processed foods and wanted to make a change to eat healthier so I gave myself a clean eating challenge. I spent the next month trying to eat only whole foods. While I didn’t manage to avoid processed foods entirely, I did learn more about reading labels and picking produce, and discovered new, healthy recipes in the process, all of which left me healthier and generally eating cleaner by the end of the month. The skills I developed through the challenge stayed with me through the year and I gained a healthier approach to food and eating.
Food and fitness aren’t the only things that make a good challenge. Any change you’ve been hoping to make, from watching less TV to creating less waste can work. Another challenge I tried was switching to more natural products. I started small by switching out just one item, my toothpaste, for a month. By the end of the challenge, not only was I hooked on my new natural toothpaste, but I was also exploring other products that would be safer for both me and the planet.
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Here's how to throw away your own resolutions:
Remember that throwing away your New Year’s resolution list is not about giving up on your goals, it’s about approaching them in a more positive way. Here are a few simple steps you can take to meet your goals for 2017:
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So what will you do this year?
- Take it one step at a time. You have an entire year to make changes that can last a lifetime, so focus on one change at a time until it becomes ingrained in your daily life and then you can move on to the next goal.
- Keep things positive. Instead of creating rules for yourself, think of it as a challenge you are trying to meet.
- Give yourself plenty of time. Real change doesn’t happen overnight. Whether it’s a month or a year, it’s okay to move slowly towards your goal and even make mistakes along the way. Eventually your new habits will become second nature.