It was a dreary December night and I was huddled under my covers scrolling through my Facebook feed feeling blah. But what was new? I was always blah.
I know social media scrolling when you’re not feeling great about yourself doesn’t lead anywhere good—you see everyone else’s exciting lives and compare it to your current status: blah. Then you feel worse.
But this December night was different than all the rest because I came across a post from a friend asking if anyone wanted to join a challenge to kick-start their new year by going after what they wanted in life. What was she talking about? Intrigued, I clicked the link and read all about a challenge where a bunch of go-getters were going to reorganize their mornings by getting up earlier than everyone else and prioritizing the most important things by doing them first.
Simple right? Except you had to get up at 4:30 a.m. for 21 days straight. The challenge was designed to break you out of your rut and give you time, every day, to focus on what matters to you.
I realized I was stuck in a horrible rut. My “blahness” was affecting everything and was only getting worse. I was restless, negative, and unhappy. So I signed up for the challenge and went into January with the tiniest spark of hope.
That was one year ago. It’s not overstating to say the challenge has changed my trajectory, if not my life. I’m still the same person I was a year ago but I’m no longer blah. I’m driven, I’m positive, and—dare I say—I’m happy. Why? Because I decided to live my life rather than let life happen to me.
When I talk about the challenge with friends they express amazement that I stuck with it. Because here’s the thing, I saw the difference it made in 21 days so I decided to keep doing it as long as it made sense to. Here I am, a year later, still getting up at 4:30 a.m. and going after what I care about.
This type of morning routine isn’t for everyone, I get that. But there is something you’d like to accomplish next year, right? Maybe you’ve made a resolution you’d like to keep. Or perhaps there’s a big goal you want to go after. How are you going to stick with it?
Here are five ideas for making resolutions you can actually keep.
1. Don’t call it a resolution, call it a goal
If you’re anything like me, the word “resolution” doesn’t mean much. The action of goal-setting is a way of getting in the right mindset to not give up mid-February.
2. Be specific with what you’re trying to achieve
Wanting to lose “some” weight is vague. How do you know what “some” is? Setting your goal to lose five pounds is specific. Once you know your target you can create a plan to achieve your goal.
3. Make sure your goals are within your control
If your goal is to have 1,000 Instagram followers this is going to be hard because you can’t control who follows you (unless you buy followers, but that’s a whole other thing). What if, instead, you figure out what helps increase your followership and do more of that? It may be posting a certain type of image, or a frequency, or a time of day. These things are within your control so you’ll do much better by focusing on them.
4. Don’t take on too much too soon, ease into it
We have so much stamina at the start of a goal but as enthusiasm wears off we lose steam. Assume this is you and commit to ease into your goals. Once you’re certain you can handle it, add a bit more.
5. Break down your goal and set incremental benchmarks
Nothing is more overwhelming than a huge goal like “publish a book” or “make $100,000 more than last year.” In fact, some goals are so huge you’ll quit before you start. By breaking them down into smaller pieces you begin to see how reaching your goal is possible. By setting benchmarks throughout you will have moments where you can celebrate moving towards your big goal without feeling bad for not reaching it yet.
Whatever your goals are, I wish you all the best! I know you can do it.