As we count down to the last few days of 2018, it’s a popular time to come up with some ambitious, lofty, New Year’s Resolutions.
The idea of setting a New Year’s Resolution can give us a feeling of hope, like an opportunity to start fresh. Unfortunately it can also come with a sense of dread, because only about 20% of people actually stick to their New Year’s Resolutions as report by U.S. News.
At the end of 2017, the most popular New Year’s Resolutionswereto lose weight and eat healthier. I suspect these may be the most popular resolutions year after year. Yet, only 9.2% of all people felt that they were successful in achieving what they set out to do.
Would you like this year to be different?
Would you like to set a New Year’s Resolution that would actually stick?
The three ideas I’m sharing here may not be things that come to mind right away. And they may not help you lose weight or look prettier. But they might increase your happiness level on a day-to-day basis significantly. They are very likely to transform your life. You might find yourself feeling more peaceful and fulfilled. And you might find yourself accidentally singing or dancing in your living room. 🙂
1. Engage in Activities That Fill You Up
Imagine you have compartments in your body, mind, and soul. Those compartments need to be filled up just like the gas tank in your car. When we don’t have enough fuel in these compartments, we are exhausted, we get cranky, we can’t think, and we may even start getting depressed or physically unwell.
It’s commonly called “running on empty.”
We’ve all been there. And it’s not pretty. The body, mind, and soul all need different things to function at its best. They’ll work to a certain extent if you run on empty, but they won’t work very well and it won’t last long.
If you were to set one single New Year’s Resolution this year, I invite you to make this one THE ONE.
What are the activities (or lack of) that fill up your tanks?
One common thing that fills up everybody’s tank is sleep. When we don’t get enough sleep, our body, mind, and soul tend to fail all at the same time.
Another common thing that fills up the body and mind is movement, some people call it exercise. If you are cringing at the idea of going to the gym, it doesn’t have to be that way. Movement can be taking a long walk, playing with your dog, or even dancing in your living room. It’s anything that will make your body move, so pick something that lights you up.
One of my critical tank-filling activities is “me-time.” It’s not associated with doing anything in particular, I just need to spend some time alone, all by myself (a quiet puppy is sometimes invited). I can be driving, reading a book, or even exercising. I just need to not talk to anyone, or be talked to.
These are just some ideas for you to start with, but this list should be customized to you. Everyone needs something different to fill up their tanks. And everyone needs a different frequency of re-fueling. If you are looking to get a head start on filling up your tanks, download this step-by-step guide I created for you HERE.
2. Eliminate The Things That Weigh You Down
If you are short on time, this idea is complementary to #1 above — how do you find time to engage in activities that fill you up? It’s by eliminating the things that weigh you down.
I recommend starting with a list of “should’s” and “supposed to-do’s,” the things that weigh us down typically fall into those categories.
Something that weighs me down is cleaning the bathroom. It needs to be done and think I should keep it clean, but I dread doing it every single time. The solution for me was pretty simple, I made a deal with my husband — he cleans the bathroom, and I clean the kitchen.
A lot of the “should’s” and “supposed to-do’s” can be outsourced. If you can afford to outsource it, or trade with people, do it!
There are “should’s” that can’t be outsourced, like eating healthy — we all think we “should” eat healthy.
I believe one of the reasons why we can’t stick with a resolution of eating healthy is because some of our favorite foods just ain’t so healthy. If we have to force ourselves to eat food that we don’t actually enjoy, or deprive ourselves of things we love to eat, of course we aren’t going to stick with it.
This is why I eliminated the diet rules that don’t work for me. I believe I have a healthy diet, but it’s measured by portion, not by what I eat. Having to restrict myself to only eat certain foods, and stay away from some of my favorite junk food (hello chocolate and ice cream!) is torture.
So I made up my own rule. I can eat whatever I want, the only rule I have is that I don’t stuff myself. I stop eating when I’m full. By eliminating all the other rules, I also spend way less time stressing about what am I going to eat or not eat.
You may be thinking… some things that weigh you down and you just can’t avoid it, like the job you don’t like.
What can you do about that?
Let’s start with… do you absolutely hate your job? If yes, then maybe this year you can work on actually finding a new one.
But sometimes we don’t absolutely hate the job, then it’s a little more complicated, because every job comes with pros and cons.
Let’s be realistic, even if you love your job, there are always other dreadful things that come with it. The question you have to ask yourself is “Can I eliminate enough of what weighs me down to make this worthwhile?”
For example, when I was working at a big bank, I loved my job as a project manager, but it felt like an uphill battle to fight the company culture on a daily basis. I knew if I stopped fighting, it meant conforming to the culture which would make me lose my integrity. It didn’t matter how much I loved that job, it wasn’t worth it.
Now that I have my own business, I love working with people and making a difference in their lives. But I hate the marketing. As much as the marketing weighs me down, when I ask myself if this is worthwhile, I keep saying yes. And I continue to find ways to streamline or outsource the marketing so I can eliminate as much of what weighs me down as possible.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself:
Did the happiness it brings outweigh the annoyance it caused enough to make you want to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again?
3. Eliminate The People Who Weigh You Down
Oh this is a biggie! We all have people in our lives that weigh us down. In fact, you might still be recovering from the holiday stress caused by these people.
You know who they are. Let’s focus on how we can eliminate them or when we can’t, how to set boundaries with them.
What I’m sharing here requires a lot of courage for you to put yourself first, and it’s not always easy to set boundaries with the people we love.
But if we don’t put those boundaries in, we allow people to drain our fuel to the point when we have nothing else to give.
It’s a generous and considerate act to set boundaries, to give yourself space to recover, so you can actually have a long-term sustainable relationship with these people.
First, I recommend putting time constraints around how much time to spend with them. For example, I set a time constraint to only spend one meal a day with my grandmother when I visit. Spending any more time with her starts to turn me into a cranky bitch, which isn’t so pleasant for anyone.
Another type of boundary is our interactions with people. I had a friend who loved to talk about her ex-bf, even a year after the breakup. I just couldn’t stand it anymore, so I set the boundary with her around our conversations. And it doesn’t have to be harsh: I let her know that I want to spend time with her, and we can talk all about her instead of her ex-bf. It was a very loving way to let her know that I cared about her, but I just couldn’t listen about her ex-bf anymore.
Finally, there are people who just can’t honor our boundaries, they don’t understand or they just can’t get themselves to do it. And that’s the situation where it feels like it’s me vs. them, because I either upset them or I upset myself by sacrificing for them.
What I’m about to say may sound very harsh — I want you to take the time to let it sink in and see if it rings true for you. Sacrificing for someone is equivalent to that someone taking precious energy from me, more than I can afford to give.
If someone can’t honor my boundaries, knowing that I would have to sacrifice, do those people truly love me as I am?
Why would they not care about my well-being if they truly love me as who I am?
These are the people I had to seriously consider if I want them in my life, and at what cost?
That’s the question for you to answer. You can continue to give in and do the “should’s” in your life. Or you can choose to make some New Year’s Resolutions that put yourself as a priority.
Are you wondering where to start? You can start by downloading the 6 Simple Steps to Fill Up Your Tanks guide that I created HERE.
Share with me in the comments below, what are you choosing today? What’s your New Year’s Resolution?