How many of you made resolutions on December 31st, eagerly awaiting the midnight strike with lots of hopeful wishes for how you were going to be the most awesome-productive-human-being-that-can-achieve-it-all-no-sweat? And how many of you are still working on those resolutions, 40 days into 2016?
Resolutions are hard, and they're also a sure fire cruel way to beat you down and make you feel pretty useless. That's how most of my 2015 felt - another chip of disappointment after another chip of disappointment after setting myself limitless goals such as 'get new clients' and 'be found online.' I didn't want my 2016 to end up the same way my 2015 felt (which is a resolution in itself, right?!) so I found some inspiration through the guru of simplicity Leo Babauta. His book, The Power of Less goes into the secret behind his success in losing weight, quitting smoking, becoming a marathon runner, quitting his job and creating a life and business that makes him happy. The secret, I'm sure you're dying to know, lies on the simple premise of applying a habit for 30 days.
If you're feeling cheated, let me explain - It's been proven by scientists that it takes 30 days in order for us human beings to form a new habit that we are likely to stick to. Using this parameter, Leo Babauta applied himself to a new habit, 30 days at a time. So how does this come into resolution making? Well, on December 31st 2015 I decided I was going follow in Leo's footsteps and create 12 resolutions for the year, doing one resolution for a month until it sticks.
I'd love to show off and say that I've planned my entire year ahead, but I just haven't. I'm kind of winging it as I go along! All I knew was that January was dedicated to meditating for 10 minutes every day, and February would be to trying to kick the white stuff (sugar, not Coke). So far my plan as worked brilliantly - of course there have been days when I missed a meditation and when somehow I've ended up with 2 teaspoons of sugar in my tea when visiting a friends, rather than none, but that's just life.
The kinder I am to myself about working through these small challenges, the more likely I am able to feel like I have achieved something. The 30 day rule is a great kindness that you can offer yourself because it only asks of you one thing; just to commit to 30 days. Once those 30 days are up, it's up to you to decide whether you're going to keep the new resolution or not, and if you're not bothered by it and it's just taking up a shelf in your mental library, then by all means, mentally throw it away and start new.
The aim of this exercise to help liberate you from the constraints that making resolutions can do to you; getting it right first time, never allowing yourself to slip up, never being realistic with yourself. That last one was a game changer for me. Remember my previous years goal of 'get new clients' and 'be found online' - these are undefinable goals (be found online? Where do you begin!) and although they're not unattainable there's no clear form or way to achieve them.
Instead of simply shooting for moon, spend some time planning the stages to climb there.
In our Nottingham Etsy team we had a great discussion post about this very topic of goal setting, which I highly recommend you read. I also suggest taking a look at Elise Blaha Cripe's Get To Work book which is a physical accompaniment to help you goal set on a micro level. I use mine for everything, not just business, and it helps me stay on track with my own resolutions and goals.
I'm looking forward to seeing how my year turns out, and all the new habits I may have learned along the way. If you fancy joining me, feel free to drop me a line and let me know how you're finding your monthly challenges. Alternatively, let me know if you've been setting resolutions and how you've been finding it so far!
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop - Confucius
Like what you've read? Subscribe to my mailing list to find out when my latest posts go live.
As always, have a happy week