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Re-examining our New Year’s Resolutions

By Jacquelyn Adams

Here we are, a week into the third month of the year. And this makes it the perfect time to check in and see how that new year’s resolution is looking. Did it crash back in the middle of January, as many do? A few of us may still hold on for dear life, but unfortunately, most of us fall off the wagon every year when we hit a minor bump. Last Fall, we talked about changing our lifestyle with tiny, doable habits that can snowball into significant change. However, as we are re-examining our new year’s resolutions, today we will consider the other end of the spectrum and discuss picking a broad theme for a season.

Pick a theme

Alright, friend, think big picture. Sometimes when we struggle with changing our lifestyle, we need to adjust how we look at our goals. How this plays out in real life is that instead of saying, “I will exercise five times a week,” we can focus on having a season of health. Perhaps we initially resolved to read a book a week, but can now plan for a season of learning. Notice that with these gentle tweaks to our resolutions, there is no clear line of success or failure. Instead, we are broadening our field of vision to see the options available to us and make choices that fit our theme. If we are in a season of health, our day is filled with opportunities to drink water, take the stairs, have a vegetable as a snack, and a hundred other little choices. Our resolutions are no longer set up as a simple pass or fail system. Each decision takes another step on our life’s path and it opens our eyes to opportunities and choices we normally don’t notice. Waiting in line? If it is a season of novelty, really look around and find the unexpected — there is always something. So whether you pick a season of truth, clarity, completion, gratitude, discipline, joy, adventure, hope, or anything else, it all comes down to looking at ways you can align individual moments with that theme. When change is difficult, we can alter our perspective on how we view those goals to begin to see more options in our daily lives.

Adjust based on obstacles

The beauty of a theme is its flexibility. We, as people, are constantly evolving and changing. By the end of the season, the theme might look very different than how it started. For example, in a season of health, we might start off running four times a week and doing 16/8 intermittent fasting two times a week. That being said, injury or illness could disrupt our fitness routine, and we might realize that 16 hours of fasting has some very grumpy consequences. Still, if this a season of health, we can adjust based on obstacles. Perhaps 12/12 fasting is a more maintainable option. Or if we received a bad diagnosis, our season of health might just be maintaining our health to the best of our abilities. We could even take a side trail and work on our mental health. Again, the beauty of the theme is its flexibility and our ability to look at the big picture as we discern how to best make that theme resonate in our lives.

Assessing the season

All this big-picture talk may sound a bit vague… because it is. Rewiring our brains is complicated and really difficult — i.e., our complete failure regarding new year’s resolutions. There are some instances where exact data points and pass/fail are helpful, but our growth as people isn’t one of them. Instead, even decelerating our bad decisions can be considered a success. We can look at the overall trend, rather than getting caught up in moments of “failure.”

For my part, while Spring doesn’t actually begin until 20 March, I have gotten an early start on Spring as a season of simplicity. I have begun looking at different aspects of my life, not just considering what might make this moment simpler, but what decision I can make now to make life more straightforward in the future. I have already started making my breakfast of overnight oatmeal while cleaning up from dinner. It has already involved some decluttering as I strive for a simpler future. During this season, I am reassessing my routines, trying to break from the hustle, and making small choices that create a simpler but fuller life. And whatever theme you may choose, I hope that, when summer arrives, you can look around and find your life is fuller as well.

Jacquelyn Adams

Jacquelyn Adams, founder and CEO of Ristole, uses her column to delve into the wild world of leadership. Whether the article is about her days as a Peace Corp volunteer, exploring corporate training, or even grabbing lunch at Chipotle — she will come out with a story and her “top tips.” As she passionately believes in leveraging her platform to share others’ voices, her column welcomes guest bloggers to create a fuller and more diverse pool of experiences for her readership. So, welcome to “Lessons on Leadership” where you never know what the next article will hold: online networking advice, guidelines for creating a joyful workplace, or even puppies. Just keep reading to discover what’s next!

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