I have a secret.
I’m a bit of a dweeb…a dork…a nerd.
But only when it comes to organizing and planning. I love sticky notes, pretty journals, brightly coloured pens, lots of paper…you get it, right?
But, I have another secret…
I’m not the best at keeping my New Years Resolutions. I really do start out every year with the best intentions but I somehow get sidetracked.
Every. Single. Year.
Sooo, I’ve been doing some research and taking down some notes. Then I thought “hey, why don’t I share this with my online peeps and we can do this together?”
Kinda like having an accountability partner.
What do ya say? Are you with me?
Alrighty…let’s do this!!
Number 1: Make some lists…
I know what you’re thinking. “Please don’t make me make any more lists than what I already have”. Trust me on this…I am a MASTER list maker. But after reading Getting Things Done by David Allen, I realized that I was doing lists all wrong!! The book is great (he also has a website that might be helpful), Instead of making a list of all the things you have to do on one piece of paper (or even one list on your phone), separate them into lists that make sense (like my lists are “around the house”, “things to buy”, “at my desk” and “things to do”) – that way you will be more efficient when you look at your lists. For example, my “at my desk” list is literally at my desk because everything I need to do is there. When I leave the house for a mtg, I take my “things to buy” list so if I have a few extra minutes, I look at my list and see if I can knock a few things off. Make sense?
Number 2: Do some mind mapping…
I might be behind the times but I had never heard of this until I recently read an article on mind mapping…it really resonated with me (think pretty paper, colorful pens…you know I was gonna be on this gravy train!!). The inventor of mindmapping is Tony Buzan and you can find everything you need to know about it on his website.
I did a mindmap for the cookbook I want to finish writing this year and it really helped!! For those of you that don’t know, I’ve had a cast on my right hand for over a month so my mindmap, which I wrote with my left hand, looks like chicken scratch! So, for your viewing pleasure, you can take a look at this one from his site:
It really helped me look at the bigger picture and helped me set more realistic goals. Let me know if this works for you!
Number 3: Remember to be grateful…
I am all about being grateful…after all, that’s what my Bake it Forward is all about. But, sometimes, I forget how much gratitude (and remembering how nice things make you feel) can change your perspective on life. So I started a Happiness Jar (the picture at the opening of this blogpost is what I use…an old vase by my bed with a stack of paper so that every night, I can write down something that made me happy that day). After reading some of Elizabeth Gilbert’s work, I saw that she used a happiness jar to sometimes ease sadness (she said she can always dig in, grab a note and read it to see that all is not bad in the world). I also have the book “1000 Gifts” and it has made me see gratitude in a whole new light. So, start with a jar and a few scraps of paper by your bed…worse case scenario, at the end of the year – even if you haven’t written down something that you’re grateful for every day – you can dump out the scraps of paper on Dec 31st and see all the good things that happened to you. How sweet is that?
Number 4: Get your physical health under control…
I know this might sound like a broken record but if you don’t feel good physically, you just won’t be able to get sh*t done. Seriously! Think about the times you have lost a few pounds or been really good about going to the gym on a regular basis. Those are usually the times you feel like you can conquer the world. Okay, maybe not conquer the world, but you can’t deny that you feel way better than when you caved and ate an entire bag of chips for lunch instead of the salad with grilled chicken you had planned on eating (don’t you feel like crawling in a hole when you do stuff like that? I know I do!!).
To get you started, here is a post with some of my ideas on eating better and another on how to stock your fridge so that you make better choices. The picture above shows some of the things I put in my fridge on Sunday night (or even Monday morning) so I have healthy choices ready all the time (and trust me…when they are in clear glass containers staring back at you in all their colourful glory, it’s hard not to choose them). It’s also easy to grab a Tupperware and fill it with some stuff before you head out so you will be less likely to find yourself in the drive through line when you don’t really want to be there!
For those of you that don’t know me, I was a chubby kid so eating the right things has been a bone of contention for me for a very long time …like a prime rib bone of contention…HUGE! I know everything there is to know about food (I could probably talk a nutritionist under a table) but I am also an emotional eater (which means I could probably talk a therapist under a table too!) so I know being mindful is essential. But, in this crazy world of ours, being mindful isn’t always easy. So, if you have safeguards in place to make better choices, then life might be that much easier. This year, I am going to make a conscious effort to eat a fruit or veggie every time I eat. I know that sounds ridiculous (because obvs, if I’m eating salmon for dinner, I’m not gonna just scarf back a piece of salmon and nothing else). But what if you had to eat a fruit or veg with EVERYTHING you eat? Want a piece of chocolate? Then you have to have an apple wedge with it. Want some chips? Then you have to eat an equal amount of baby carrots. That way you’re not saying you can’t have it, you’re just saying it’s about balance. And maybe if it seems like too much trouble to have a piece of fruit or veg with that treat, then maybe you didn’t really want the chips in the first place. Make sense?
Number 5 (or maybe 4B): Get moving…
This is honestly the hardest thing for me. I hate exercise. I want to love to exercise. I don’t just want to run…I want to LOVE to run. But, I’m not sure this is ever going to happen. So this year I am going to try to do something – anything – for 30 minutes starting three times a week. I have a treadmill so how hard can that be? Oh trust me…it’s hard. I have joined 3 different gyms, I have been on a tennis team, a women’s soccer team, a women’s hockey team, I’ve done pilates, spinning, yoga, weight raining, I ran a 10K, I have my yellow belt in karate, I took surfing lessons, I have snowshoes…so aside from scaling a mountain (and I got pretty close to doing that one year), I’ve pretty much done it all. The bad thing is I get no medals for just trying it…I’ve never stayed the course with any of them. But, like my doctor says, “do you wake up in the morning and say, I don’t think I’m going to brush my teeth today?” You would never do that, right? Well, exercise is just as important (if not more) so what are we waiting for? So if it means breaking it up into 3 10 minute stints (like parking your car farther and doing a brisk walk thingie), maybe we can do this! Do you guys have any suggestions that have worked for you in the past? Please let me know by leaving it in the comments section below!
Number 6: Don’t do it all at once…
Maybe the reason so many of us don’t keep our promises when it comes to resolutions is because it just seems so daunting. This is what your brain will be saying to you after you finish reading this post: “come on seriously…you want me to go from being an unorganized chocolate eating couch potato to this?!?!”. So go slow. Try the list making and maybe one of the ideas on eating healthy. If you feel like you can manage that by February 1st, then add a few minutes of exercise 3 times a week. Is that doable? I would say so…I’m hoping so…
Number 7: Get mushy…
Sometimes, we needs to find our inner peacemaker and put the harsh monster back in the closet for a while. I honestly find that gentleness with others – as well as with ourselves – lets the real “you” shine. And I think that’s also when we do our best work. For more inspiration, check out this blog post I wrote a few years back on believing.
And if you want a shorter version of what we talked about today (including more on cutting down on social media, cultivating relationships, sleep better and take a serious look back at 2016), take a peek at this post from last year.
So, are you guys with me? I mean, 2016 sucked. It seriously sucked. So let’s slay this year and make it the best year ever.