Updated November 29, 2022
You know how it goes. You make a New Year’s resolution, stick with it for a week or two, and then fall off track by the third or fourth week of January. Whether that resolution was to lose weight, spend less money, pick up a new hobby, or even be more friendly to that coworker who gets under your skin… New Year’s resolutions are tough to stick to.
But why? Setting goals is a good motivational practice, so New Year’s resolutions should also be motivating. The key is approaching them from the right perspective.
How to Reframe Your New Year’s Resolutions
Look at all the New Year’s resolutions you’ve made in the past. Which were successful? Which ones flopped? Was there a common denominator with any of them?
One of the biggest issues with the resolutions people set for the New Year is that they are focused on the outcome of the resolution rather than the process itself. For example, when you focus on losing 15 pounds rather than on improving your diet and being more consistent with workouts, you’re setting yourself up for long-term failure.
The reason why this is the case is that motivation declines if and when you hit your goal, and it also declines if you miss that goal. No matter what you do, your motivation is going to wane. Having a clear idea of what you’d like your outcome to be is valuable since it can help you get started towards what you want, but it can’t be your only goal — you have to pay attention to the journey as well. It’s this attitude change that can make all the difference when it comes to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions.
Here are 5 goals MilSpouses can set for a healthier, happier 2020:
1. Invest in Yourself
For many of us, our New Year’s resolutions include a goal to be more budget-conscious, save money, and be more careful with where we invest. While this isn’t a bad goal, it discounts the value there is in investing in your own growth.
Investing in yourself, your health, and your growth should be high on your priority list for 2020. While this doesn’t mean taking yourself out to dinner every week, it does mean you should open yourself up to other ways you can grow. This might come in the form of regular counseling sessions, personal development podcasts or classes, business courses, health coaching, or more.
It could cost money, such as purchasing an online class, or it could cost time, like listening to experts teach on podcasts or even YouTube videos. But whatever the case, this kind of investment will pay off in unbelievable ways.
2. Respond Rather than React
Communication is important for us to develop any type of relationship, and one of the most important aspects of healthy communication is comprehension. Without it, there’s no real way to handle conflicts productively. When navigating conversations and arguments this year, choose what will help you become a better listener, communicator, and comprehender: respond rather than react.
Instead of reacting to the things that occur around you, focus on gaining control over your actions in order to formulate an appropriate response. You are going to encounter antagonists this year, as well as plenty of situations that are frustrating, discouraging, or exasperating. Don’t mindlessly react to these things. Practice collecting yourself and responding. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel and how much easier and faster conflicts are resolved.
3. Be More Aware of Your Needs
It’s easy to forget what we personally need. Make 2020 the year that ends. Remember that you’re a human being with physical needs like sleep, proper nutrition, and hydration. Meet these needs with more consistency.
But also pay attention to your mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Spend less time in toxic friendships and invest in healthy, uplifting ones. Understand when you need a break and actually take one. Make 2020 the year you give yourself grace and attention for your needs.
4. Get Outside and Move Your Body
Dedicate time and space for some physical exercise this year. This doesn’t necessarily mean setting weight loss goals. More important than numbers on a scale is your relationship with your body — feeling good in your skin knowing you’re taking care of the vessel that carries you through this life. It’s often a simple shift in perspective that can help you stick to your goals, especially surrounding health and wellness.
Get outdoors, enjoy the fresh air, and immerse yourself in nature more. It doesn’t have to be for two hours daily, but try implementing a regularly scheduled walk, run, hike — whatever makes your body feel good. Appreciate the sunset. Listen to the wind moving through leaves. Spend time in the quiet and let yourself enjoy some peaceful space.
5. Find a Hobby or Service You Enjoy
There’s nothing wrong with working hard for your paychecks or even turning your crafts and skills into a means for making a small side income, but don’t forget to simply enjoy things sometimes. Maybe take up an art class and enjoy the therapy of paint. If you’d enjoy something more active, consider getting a bike and explore nearby trails. You could take up swimming, visit your local retirement center, volunteer at an animal shelter, or get involved in whatever activity or organization that speaks to you.
Find something this year that’s sole purpose is to spark joy!
Here’s to another New Year!
Remember that there’s nothing wrong with being motivated by outcome-focused goals, but also keep in mind that the things we seek to achieve through setting these goals — happiness, success, fulfillment — are all rooted in a positive state of mind, so it’s important to put effort and attention into the process, rather than the result. What New Year’s goals are you striving for this year?