Let's be honest, hardly anyone is in the right frame of mind to create and stick to their resolutions in a new year. We expect too much in January, so I say don't start working on resolutions until February. There are some people, believe it or not that won't start until late March at the time of the Spring Equinox.
In the past 10 years or so, I have attempted a variation of resolution themes in an attempt to hold myself accountable, and all of them have had limited success. The first few attempts were centered around my resolutions and a monthly check-in by way of accountability. For ten years I would focus on what I called Groundhog Day Resolutions. The kickoff would always start on February 2nd or 2/2. This was a little over a month after the western calendar of New Year's Day on January 1st.
Now remember, during the end of the year, or the holiday season, some of us have a habit of eating too much food and drinking too much alcohol in our celebrations. I have a birthday in December so there is typically a bonus weekend of revelry. The point is, most of us are in no shape mentally, physically or spiritually to plan and stick to a resolution. We want to change and we need to change those habits, but we aren't prepared to act on our resolutions, let alone stick with them.
For me, after the 2/2 kick-off I would do the best I could and then check in with myself on March 3rd, or 3/3. "How did I do last month?" "What could I have done better?" "What do I need to do to get back on track by this time next month?" "How will I reward myself for accomplishing that goal?" I would do the best I could and then check in with myself on 4/4, or April 4th. The next month would be 5/5, 6/6, etc until the target date of November 11th. This was to be the end goal for the year, right before the next holiday season. The end goal of having nine months focused on those resolutions, correcting bad habits, accomplishing intentions and hitting those targets should be a success.
By allowing ourselves, myself some slack for the months of November/December/January, I can regroup, think and prepare myself for the next year of self improvements. These three months make up a winter season in the northern hemisphere where our bodies want to go into hibernation mode. The Winter Equinox is a time to hunker down, stay warm, create, read and prepare for the next season.
This year I want to do a variation of a monthly accountability check-in. I mentioned the “Groundhog Day Resolutions” and its limited success. While I believe the theory behind those initiatives were sound, the practice was not. So it's time to have a re-think about the process.
In 2023, I am writing a book on it. Not a literal book, no, that is another goal/initiative in itself. This year I am thinking of each month of this year as its own chapter in a book. I’ll do a chapter review on the same date that corresponds with the month.
Example: The book will start on February 2 (2/2) and will go on until March 3rd or 3/3. On 3/3 I will conduct a review of the previous month, and so on and so forth. With the chapter review, I’ll throw in some highlights of the previous month in hope that by the end of the year (11/11), I’ll have written a book I can be proud of.
This post and the accompanying podcast on my website is the Preface of the book. On November 11th, at the end of the book, I will have a year-end review of those goals and resolutions as an afterward. I'll throw in an Acknowledgment page, references and highlights of each month- just like a book!
My advice to anyone reading is to not set goals, expectations or resolutions for yourself in the beginning of the calendar year. Take some time off for yourself to plan, prepare for success in your habit-changing journey. Be kind to yourself, prepare to pick yourself up when you fall. Check-in with yourself frequently. Analyze the process to see what works and what does not. Then recalibrate the situation to be more successful. I am wishing you well and I am going to get busy on preparing and researching my 2023 book of resolutions.
A quick list of things (subject to change) I want to do for the new year:
- Learn Spanish
- More meditation & yoga
- Learn Adobe Bridge, PS and LR more
- Organize the photo Archive as a database
- Quit smoking
- No alcohol
- Lower BP
- Lose 20 pounds
Learn Spanish with the Duolingo app in small increments everyday. Attempt to retain it by using it in the real world as opposed to just going through the lessons and forgetting it. I know people who have done this and with good results. Success in this will be able to have conversational Spanish by the end of 2023.
Meditation and yoga almost daily. I have the software to do so such as Apple Fitness + and Music meditation. Guided podcasts, etc. I just grabbed a new padded floor mat to help with this. Success here will be lower BP, increased flexibility, calmer mind, more patience.
Learning Adobe products should be easy. I have the fundamentals down because I've been using it for years. But I want a deep dive. This will come in handy for my photo archive organization. The end result will be an organized archive system where I can easily find and use any one photo on demand.
I am over smoking and the removal of the tobacco pipe paraphenalia should help. I need to purchase some gum or mints to help with those cravings. This will help me breathe easier, lower my BP and overall health.
Stopping alcohol consumption is not difficult for me, even when I am at a bar I can refrain. I should see less weight and overall health as a result.
Lowering my BP should be my number one priority this year. Less, salt. Less sugar. Less eating out. Increase my cardio with more walking, yoga. More supplements and eventually the diuretic prescription again. All of this should help me lower my weight and eventually those readings will come down.
When I fall (and I will fall), get back up, learn from my mistakes, and continue pushing forward because failure is a byproduct of growth. It’s all part of the process. If I plan on recycling the exact resolution I’ve made every year since 2018, perhaps it’s time to try something different. Now that I have the right tools, making 2023 the year I follow through on my resolutions is entirely up to me.