In my New Year’s post I wrote about how I do not look at the New Year as a time to make life changes all starting on January 1 – but prefer to set smaller goals throughout the year and take it day by day. To me, the New Year signifies a moment to reflect on last years struggles and accomplishments, but also as a reminder to checkin with myself – like one big alarm clock going off at midnight.
This last year I focused on setting a series of small goals to help make sure I set a solid foundation for checking in with myself to make sure I am able to get through the ups and downs of any week, month or year. I can’t deny that 2015 was defined by trial and error of multiple methods, but I can confidentially say that I came out on the other side having built habits that work for me. With so many people working towards their New Years resolutions, I wanted to share some of my original goals, and what daily habits I built around them to help me continuously work towards being my best self.
Goal 1: Wake up every week day BY 6am, and on weekends before 9am.
Why I set this goal: I found that when I hit the snooze button or have to rush off to work, I feel groggy and “off” throughout the whole day. On the other hand, the days when I woke up and gave myself the extra hour to workout, read/write, or even do my laundry, I felt energetic and accomplished. I generally don’t sleep in on the weekends, but I also wanted to set a goal to remind myself that on those days when I felt like I deserved more time – that you actually can’t “catch up” on sleep and I should take advantage of my days by filling them with adventures.
How I set my habit & achieved my goal: After trying many different methods outside of putting springs that attached to my alarm clock inside my mattress, I started two small things that made getting out of bed no problem.
– At night I jot a note telling my “morning self” why I want to wake up early. Anything from reminding myself I have a buys week ahead with no time to myself or that I have set goals and should head to the gym. I stick this note to my phone, prompting myself to read it before I have the chance to hit snooze or reset my alarm clock.
– To make sure I am not exposing myself to artificial light up until the moment I fall asleep, I started hanging my phone by my door, making it out of reach and therefor out of mind. This not only helps me turn my mind off before bed as I am pushing away social distractions, but it also forces me to get out of bed in the morning to turn off my alarm.
Goal 2: Writing my intentions and reflecting
Why I set this goal: I’ve always loved planners and checking things off of a list, but I never found a system of managing my long term goals along with my daily and weekly tasks that I felt truly worked.
How I set my habit & achieved my goal: I discovered the Spark Notebook. This notebook breaks down your goals with yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals but the unique part is that it prompts you to reflect and check in with your bigger goals. Some of my favorite features include:
– Achievements – After setting your bigger goals for the year, there is an area to jot down your achievements to help make sure you are celebrating yourself along the way.
– Monthly goals – Each month there is an area to make a monthly pledge to yourself of something that you want to do every day – think be active for 30 minutes a day or practice learning a new language. You hold yourself responsible with it’s daily tracker and it links back to your weekly planning with prompts to check in with your progress.
– Weekly reflections – The weekly sections have a bite size to do list to get you through the week, but also has an area to check in with your monthly and yearly goals. At the end of each week there are questions that help you reflect on things that are going on in your life with a full page dedicated to jotting down your thoughts.
Goal 3: Make everyday more positive, no matter what is being thrown at me.
Why I set this goal: Everyone knows the days where you just aren’t yourself, and those are the days that positive people have the highest impact on me. For example, my NYC bus driver who always greets passengers with a big smile and asking “is it Friday yet!” or my parents telling me they are more than happy to be traveling, even after having to fly through five airports to get home. I am so fortunate in my life that I wanted to make sure I could focus on the bigger aspects of what makes my life great and put positivity back into the world no matter what is going on.
How I set my habit & achieved my goal: Remember to smile throughout the day. This seems simple, but there are the days that seem heavier and it might not be tope of mind so I started seeking physical triggers to prompt a smile to practice positivity every day. Bonus: Have you ever noticed that smiling is contagious?
– Smile every time I walk through a door frame.
– Smile for the duration of an elevator ride.
One thing I learned, is there is a lot of advice on-line on how to make the most of your days and reach your goals. It is wonderful to have these resources available but at the end of the day it’s important to remember that one size does not fit all. It may take some experimenting and commitment, but at the end of the day it’s important to find what works for you – and when you do, it will feel right and you will be breezing past your goals 🙂