You know how you write down a list of New Year’s resolutions, and then it gets lost and/or forgotten about by the time March rolls around? Maybe it’s just me, but I usually have a hard time breaking out of the daily grind and making resolutions stick. However, I wanted this year to be different. I wanted to keep my resolutions for a change. A few of my goals for 2015 included rebranding myself, designing a website that reflected that brand, and writing a blog where I could share some things I’ve learned while working as a graphic designer. One month into the New Year, and I’m able to check some things off my list. It’s a great feeling! I want to stay as inspired to improve my life and habits in the last month of the year as I have been in the first month of the year. In case you’re losing motivation, here are some tips that I hope will help keep you on track for accomplishing your goals for the year!
1 | Get organized.
If you haven’t invested in a planner for 2015 yet, you should seriously consider getting one. If I don’t write things down, there’s a chance I won’t remember it (my brain gets way overloaded sometimes), so having a place to gather thoughts and notes is crucial for my organization. Before the new year started, I gave myself the gift of a beautiful planner from Inkwell Press, and it’s been amazing! I find it incredibly helpful to have a place to write down a list of to-do’s and goals for the year, month, and day so I can outline and prioritize all I have to do within each time period, which brings me to my next point.
2 | Get your priorities straight.
Outlining your priorities is important, but not just your priorities for a single day. Figuring out your life’s priorities helps you plan your year and keep the resolutions you were so pumped about on January 1st. Seeing the big picture makes it easier to live intentionally and use each day to work toward achieving your goals.
So how to do you figure out your priorities?
Start off by writing a list of things that are important to you, like spending time with your friends or reading your Bible everyday, and things you enjoy doing, like baking cupcakes or taking your dog to the park. How does that list compare to how you normally spend your free time? I know for me, a lot of my free time has been spent watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix, even though creating artwork is something I both enjoy and consider important. With these lists taken into consideration, you can narrow down what’s most important to you, whether it’s forming new habits or rekindling a past passion.
3 | Be realistic and reasonable.
When I think about all the things I want to accomplish in the New Year, or in a day for that matter, I can go list crazy. Everything that pops in my head and sounds like a good idea gets put on the list. Then suddenly it’s a mile long list of overwhelming and over-ambitious tasks. The whole excuse of “I don’t know where to begin, so I’m just not going to start at all” comes into play, which is why the priority list of important things from above is a lifesaver. Paring down your list to a core group of goals makes it more realistic and reasonable. Ultimately, you’re not going to work hard all year long to make changes you don’t care very much about, so really dig in and find what’s at the heart of your resolutions. Sure, it’s tempting to try and tackle the mile-long list at the beginning of the year, but it’s too hard to keep up that pace. It takes 21 days, or 3 weeks, to form a new habit. To make your list more digestible, you can break it down into mini goals for each month of the year. Each month can build on the other, and before you know it you’ll have all these great, new habits!
4 | Don’t be too hard on yourself.
It’s often said that change isn’t easy. And it’s not; change is really, really hard, you guys! When something isn’t absolutely dire, it can be difficult getting the motivation to uproot old habits and replace them with new ones. People as a whole are too hard on themselves, but I think creative individuals are the most guilty of this. Friends, don’t beat yourselves up! It takes time to build and plan and accomplish anything great. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. After all, a baby step forward in the right direction is better than staying stuck in the same spot.
While the new year has already started, it’s not too late to go back and assess your goals. In fact, I’m sure I’ll be making lots of revisions to my list of goals as the year progresses. By no means am I an expert in keeping resolutions, but I’ve found these four things helpful so far. I certainly hope you have too! I’d love to hear about any other tips for setting goals and insight on how you keep motivated! In the meantime, feel free to download the phone background below with a great (and very inspirational) quote from Elizabeth Elliot.