A simple guide to setting stress-free New Years resolutions

2014 has been a great year for me and I can honestly say that I love my life. This year I worked hard on the 16 goals I set, I got a dream job, I fell in love (and out of love, but that’s another story), and I made it through the first term of grade 11. Oh, and I made this blog.

I also finally became excited for the future. I thought that being closer to the end of high school and making all those big kid decisions about post-secondary would make me even more anxious about the future, but it’s actually done the opposite. I feel ready to take on 2015. As I was looking through my New Years resolutions for 2014 and making my list for the new year coming up, it was a completely different experience for me because for once I was actually excited about all the things I wanted to work on in the New Year.

Despite all the excitement, writing New Years resolutions can also bring up a lot of insecurity. It’s scary to realize “crap, I thought I was doing so well but I have so much more to learn and I don’t even know where to start.” The one thing I always have to remind myself is that I can’t do everything. In my tween years, I would compile this huge list of around 30 resolutions all organized into specific categories. The whole thing was totally inefficient and it’s no surprise that I didn’t accomplish more than half of them! (True story: one of my resolutions was to “become a hipster” ….whyyyy) I have grown up a lot since my hipster-wannabe days and through experience, I’ve figured out a way to make resolutions that I’m actually able to accomplish without any stressful nonsense.

There were obviously a lot of things wrong about my old way of setting resolutions. I mean I don’t really blame myself; I was 12 and still obsessed with Twilight (#twihard 4ever!!!). The whole list was just unrealistic in every way possible. For starters, I set a ridiculous amount of goals. There was no way that I could do all of those things in one year. Putting those kinds of expectations on myself caused a ton of unnecessary stress. I’m sure you’ve heard this saying a billion times but it’s true, quality over quantity!

Another thing that twelve-year old Sarah did was to make some really stupid goals. I probably thought that to “become a hipster” was a smart thing to strive towards, but looking at it now I realize how completely ridiculous it sounds. Another thing I don’t understand about twelve-year old Sarah is why she chose to categorize her resolutions and make many of them very specific (wow what a great idea Sarah, A+ for you). I guess its because in elementary school, I was taught that goals needed to have quantities and a timeline. For example: I’ll do 10 push-ups every Saturday for the whole year. This system can work well for some goals, but it’s not the best for New Years resolutions.

am i hipster yet???

am i hipster yet???

So how do I make resolutions that are actually good? Well, I decide what is important. Now, as my hopefully more intelligent 16-year old self, I purposely set New Years resolutions that are fairly general. When goals are general, there is so much less pressure and less room for disappointment. So much stress is relieved!

The key thing that I always remind myself is that resolutions are just things to work on. I’m a big believer of progress over end result. There’s no point in obsessing and stressing about getting to the end result because the real achievement should be all the progress and work that gets me to the end. It is all the small steps that I take towards the end goal that counts the most. Actually, a lot of my goals don’t even have end results! I write all my resolutions on the Reminders app on my iPhone because that’s what resolutions should be: simple reminders of things that need improvement in my life. So when someone asks me if I’ve completed all my resolutions, I just say what Iggy would say: “I’ve been work, work, work, work, working on my shit.”

Okay sorry, let’s get serious again. You may be wondering, “how is this guide useful to me at all, I’m not as dumb as twelve-year old Sarah.” Well first of all, I sure hope that you’re a little more knowledgeable than twelve-year old Sarah! And second of all, it seems to me that there’s a lot of people that don’t set resolutions and even more people that set resolutions but never actually achieve them. There is no perfect person in the world and everyone can work towards being a better person to create a better world. New Years resolutions are part of what can make this happen. So start writing your New Years resolutions and lets start a New Years revolution! (Okay I totally just stole that from a weight loss commercial but seriously, let’s make 2015 the best year yet.)

January

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