New beginnings are my jam! Seriously, it's no accident "beginner" is in the title of this blog. I am perpetually beginning, and I love it. I love making goals and new starts and filling in new pages of new journals. New years, new quarters, new months, birthdays--all just an excuse for me to make goals and plan new beginnings.
My one problem with new beginnings is I always start with an epic mentality--Go big or go home! Do all the things! This is my year and I'm going to make it all happen! (Hence the reason for my ebook and accompanying journal: Epic Beginner.)
It hasn't taken me long to realize all the things don't happen. I sometimes have fun trying, and sometimes I just get burned out or bummed out from accomplishing only a couple things on a never-ending list.
I'm learning to embrace a slower, more realistic pace to my goals. (That's why "slow" is my word for this year.) In 2012 that meant doing monthly resolutions: Having one goal or focus for each month. By the end of the year I accomplished TWELVE resolutions. It's still one of my favorite years to-date.
My friend, Alysa, read The 12 Week Year (*affiliate link used; see full note below) and inspired me in doing quarterly goals. So each 3-month period is a new beginning--yay!
This year I caught myself diving into my goals wanting to do everything all at once again, and my sister-in-law, Michaela, had the brilliant idea of focusing on one personal goal each month (like my monthly resolutions) and working on one creative goal each quarter (like Alysa's 12-week year). I love it! So that's what I'll be doing this year. Still attempting A Lot of The Things, but one at a time.
And be sure to checkout my friend Merritt's podcast where she interviews devoted dreamers who share their experiences in going from dreaming to doing--which is really what goals at new beginnings are about, right? It's so inspiring to hear how others are actually doing their dreams.
Wherever you're at with your goal-planning for this year (or even if it doesn't exist, because we can't all be nuts about beginnings), below are six resolutions you won't regret trying. These are changes that I've never gone wrong on. Every year, or every goal-planning session, I see some form of these pop up, and I've never regretted any time or effort I've put into these changes. I take my next right simple and specific step in each one. The changes are lasting and build on each other each new year and new beginning.
Keep reading for ideas to make them your own.
Move MoreThis resolution, along with the one below, is a little more specific and doable than losing a set number of pounds. Moving more might be doing a daily 4-minute HIIT exercise, using that gym membership a certain number of times a week, taking daily walks, stretching in the evenings, or all of the above. The key is to start small and doable and work it into your daily/weekly routine. Make it something you can keep up for the long haul. I'm still working on my simple morning exercises and we're getting back into our 3x/week gym routine. We finally worked out after a too-long break and were wiped for a few days--we are done being out of shape!
Also see: Monthly Resolutions
Eat BetterSame as moving more, eating better is a little more specific and doable than focusing on an ambiguous number on a scale. Instead of a fad diet, make real lasting changes to your meals. Last year, this meant trading out my dessert-like coffee for a simple tea Monday-Thursday. It was a tiny, very doable change, and helped me lose a couple stubborn pounds that weren't going anywhere. Now that it's set in my routine, I can work on other small changes. Look for the key problem areas in your own diet. Replace unhealthy drinks with a healthier alternative or more water; take healthy lunches and snacks to work a certain number of times a week; eat at home more than you already do. This year, I'm tackling our family's meal times to try and get back to healthier home-cooked meals and nudge my kids to less picky-ness. Wish me luck!
Also see: New Year's Fasts
Self-CareI can't be the only that has replaced positive de-stressing routines with "unwinding" each evening in front of a Netflix binge sesh. At first it was fun and felt like a break. Now it feels a little like wasting my life and not giving me the room I need to actually de-stress. So, self-care was on my list starting the middle of last year and is lingering on my list this year. It includes more baths, more reading, more intentional use of my evenings after the kids are in bed, and even scheduling more doctors and preventative care appointments. I also include my devotional time in self-care, because Jesus is the only One that can really heal me and fill me up, but that gets its own line below.
Also see: 5 Things Only You Can Do
Be PresentThis is an ongoing priority for me, but was a big focus especially in 2014 when we were getting ready for Baby 3 and a move. When things get busy it's easy to miss the little everyday meaningful moments that we'll never get back. Sometimes this means planning specific time with the people I love, sometimes it means letting my To Do list go for an afternoon while I watch my kids play, or taking a deep breath and capturing a moment with my camera or with my mind before I go on to the next thing. I have never regretted moments I've spent focusing on being present with the people I love.
Also see: Success is What You Do While Everyone Else is Distracted
Read MoreThere's a saying that you'll be the same person next year besides for the people you've met and the books you've read. Over the last few years, the books I've read have definitely had a huge part in my growth in all areas of life. That wasn't always the case. Up until 2012, I was simply not a reader. It took forever to read a book and I often got distracted or lost interest. Then, I read a book in a week and realized maybe I'd just been making excuses all my life. So I read an average of 1 1/2 books each month that year and have been reading ever since. You won't regret picking up the habit of reading or the person you'll grow to be because of it.
Also see: Book-a-Month Resolution
Devotional TimeI saved the best for last. At all of my new beginnings, my devotional life is top of my priority list. Growing closer to Jesus through reading His Word, memorizing and focusing on scripture, praying more specifically and earnestly. I've read through the Bible a couple years ago and am working on reading through The Message, a habit that I'll keep up ongoing. If I'll be the same person this time next year besides for the people I've met and the books I've read, well, devotional time will be the most life-changing thing I'll do. Because I'll be getting to know Jesus at a deeper level, reading His truth and letting it soak in a little more, and following Him to the people, places, and experiences He has in mind for me. Seriously, best choice ever.
Also see: Thoughts on Bible Reading
Those are the six resolutions I've never regretted making a priority. Some I'll be continuing this year in the form of my next right small, doable habit change. Allowing them to settle into my regular routines even as I focus and work on other goals. This may not be my best year yet, but I'm sure to end it thankful for new beginnings and slow growth in the process. I hope you will to!
Happy New Year!
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*Note: Affiliate link used. Purchases through this link could earn me a small commission with no extra cost to you. Thank you.