Instead of a New Year's Resolution, Try This...
This year, I did something I have never done...I didn't enter the new year with a list of Resolutions. For those who know me, I am a huge fan of goal setting and action planning, but the last few weeks of 2017 really took an emotional toll on me. This resulted in me entering in the new year, feeling a bit numb and unclear about what I wanted for 2018.
As uncomfortable as it was, it was actually liberating. I entered the year with a clean slate and without many expectations, but excited for what the future had in store. So I made a list of the things that I wanted to do in 2018, but instead of making the list more long term, I focused on my day-to-day activities. As it turned out, I created my New Year's Rituals.
Of course, there are things that I want to accomplish and achieve in my life, but I realized this year that if I am going to strive for those big dreams and goals, I would need ensure that I'm doing my part to become the person who can handle them. I began to think about some of the people who have achieved the goals that I want. I spent some watching their youtube videos, reading their blogs, and even mustering up the courage to chat with them via Social Media. It opened my eyes to what I would need to commit to in order to reach my goals.
The Power of Rituals
I've already been following a daily morning where I give myself at least an hour focusing on reading my bible, journaling, and reading a personal development books. This is my quiet time to connect and set the tone for my day and it has been powerful for me over the past 8 years. So, I got to work on the rituals I wanted to create for 2018.
1. Focus on who you want to become. Remember, you're not focusing on the WHAT right now (aka the resolution or the goal), instead focus on HOW you want to feel and WHO you need to become in order to reach that goal. Write down 2 - 3 words that reflect who you want to become or how you want to feel. I wanted to be organized, inspired, and present. I knew that being organized would help me to be more efficient with my time and reduce the stress of feeling overwhelmed. In my line of work, creativity is key and I can't be creative when I am not inspired, so I wanted to make that a priority, so I can create more amazing things. I knew that being present would help keep my anxiety at bay, allow me to enjoy the moment, and be a better friend, daughter, trainer, and coach. These 3 things would ultimately lead me to my big goals.
2. Write down daily tasks that align with your 2 - 3 words. This should be more of a free-writing exercise where you find somewhere quiet and get a blank piece of paper. Think about your words that highlight who you want to become and how you want to feel. Let your mind wander in the world of possibilities. Write down any and everything that comes to your mind. Don't limit yourself or pre-judge anything that comes to you. The more open minded you are during the process, the better. My list had over 70 things on it, so go for it!
3. Select 3 - 5 tasks to commit to that won't take too much time or effort. I crossed off any items on the list that required a lot of effort or time, because my life/schedule is already packed to the brim, so adding more stuff, gave me anxiety just thinking about it. This may sound a bit shocking that I would shy away from something that would be difficult for me, but I am a firm believer in the Compound Effect. According to Darren Hardy, "The compound effect is the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions." So, I knew that if I chose anything on that list, I would be just fine, as long as I stuck with it long enough.
Once you have your list of 3 - 5 tasks, make the commitment to being disciplined enough to do them every single day. Remember, these tasks or activities are small and easy to do, but they are also easy not to do. The key here is to take ownership and plug them into your daily routine. I pulled out my calendar and plugged in my rituals so I would get an alert on my phone to remind to do them.
My rituals are:
- Drink a Glass of Water First Thing When I Wake Up: I keep a glass on my nightstand next to my phone so when I turn off my alarm I grab the water and chug it.
- 6AM Yoga Monday & Friday - Starting and ending my workweek with a deeper connection with myself.
- Practice Gratitude - My phone goes off at 1:11PM with an alert that asks "What Are You Grateful For Right Now?"
- Self Care Sunday - I now use Sundays to focus on myself and doing what feeds my soul, heart, mind, and body. I start with Church and then take it from there. It may mean brunch with girlfriends, a hike to get some fresh air, take a dance class, take a bath, read a book, go on a date...whatever I choose, as long as it nourishes me.
- Put the Day to Bed: Each night, I take 30 minutes to reflect on the day. I jot down 3 things I'm grateful for and 3 things I learned that day. I also review my schedule for the next day, pack my meals and layout my clothes, so that my mornings. This helps to allow me to sleep peacefully and wake up ready for the day.
My rituals are things that actually bring me joy and don't stress me out, but after doing this for 2 weeks, I can assure that I wake up and show up every day feeling organized, inspired and present and I'm already making huge progress towards some of my goals.
I challenge you to create your rituals and commit to them daily, soon they will no longer feel like a chore and become a part of who you are.