I gave up on traditional New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. The way I look at it is that by the time you’ve finished agonizing over what you think you should accomplish (lose 30 pounds by Valentine’s Day!) versus what you can realistically accomplish (drink more water), you’ve already sapped your willpower reserves. But you've done a fine job not setting yourself up for success.
As I like to say to myself whenever I fall into the unrealistic expectations trap - would you train your dog like this? (The short answer: no.)
But I like to do *something* to celebrate that beautifully blank canvas stretching out in front of me, so this year I’m planning a Past Year Review (h/t to Tim Ferriss for the idea).
This is how it works:
Make two columns - positive and negative.
Go through your 2018 engagement calendar. The goal is for the entire exercise to take 60-90 minutes, so don't feel like you have to examine every single appointment. Think of it as a high level survey, not a granular dissection.
Put the activities that triggered your highest highs and your lowest lows into the appropriate columns.
Review the positive column and make notes of the things that consistently produced the most powerful positive feelings (e.g., pet care conferences, concerts, volunteering, coffee with friends, etc.)
Book more of those things onto your 2019 calendar RIGHT NOW, and commit to not canceling them.
Then review the negative column, and put the worst negatives into a BIG OL’ NOPE list at the top of your calendar, and commit to not doing those things for at least the entire month of January. You should also commit to not feeling guilty for not wanting to do those things, because life is too damn short to be voluntarily miserable.
Extra credit points: review that negative column again, and pinpoint the tasks you can farm out to someone else. I use TaskRabbit for domestic infrastructure stuff, and it’s made our home life sooo much better. For work-related items like presentations or graphic design elements, I use Fiverr.
Because I was in California for a family wedding over the New Year (those beaches! that sunshine!), I didn’t get a chance to do my yearly calendar purchase exercise. I’m really looking forward to indulging in that annual treat this weekend. #itsthelittlethings
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and altogether wonderful new year!