Every year, millions of people make resolutions on December 31st, and promise a better self for the new year. But who says you must begin bettering your life when the ball drops? Starting resolutions in the New Year puts unnecessary pressure on ourselves that ultimately pushes us to fail before we have had a chance to really begin.
Studies show that it takes about 3 weeks or 21 days to either create a new habit or break an old one. We all have one or two goals in mind, and this Summer is the perfect opportunity to get your life in order and make some real improvements. 21 days is all you need, and with these baby steps, you can be a whole new you by Summer's end.
1. Get organized
This is something most of us can use a little help with. Less is more. Let go of the clutter weighing you down. Keep what makes you happy and give the rest to charity. Get a cute planner and write down your activities. Whatever being organized looks like to you, get it done. You will feel so much lighter and peaceful. Start by setting a time window to do tasks A, B, and C each Monday, and increase it every day until day 21.
2. Start writing in a journal
Again with the cute accessories. Buy a journal that makes you happy when you look at it and begin writing in it. Maybe start with once a week, and then build up to it. Writing your feelings down, whether happy or sad, will allow you to get out what's on your mind. Or maybe you can use it to write down fun memories you have with your spouse, kids, or friends. My husband and I do this with our kids and it's one of our favorite little rituals. The best way to form this new habit is to not expect to write one thousand words on your first day - write a sentence on how you feel about the day, and leave it at that. Over time you will naturally want to write longer entries.
3. Go see your doctor on the regular
This is one I need to take my own advice on. As women and mothers we totally let ourselves fall to the bottom of the list. Of course our children need all of their well-checks, and our husbands are forced to go by us, but who forces us to go? And not just your "lady" doctor, but your family physician as well. Get your physicals so you can feel confident knowing that you are healthy.
4. Learn useful skills or hobbies
Have you always wanted to learn piano or guitar? Do you find monotony in cooking the same things each week? Maybe crocheting always looked fun. Whatever has been on the back burner, turn it up to full blast and try it out. Even if it's only for 20 minutes a week, but do it every week. Start by using one of the windows of time you set aside for each Monday and cross it off the list for the week. Dedicate some time to whatever you choose, and dive in.
5. Learn a new language
Not only will it make you sound super cool to say you know a new language, but it will look great on your resume. It will help you improve your communication skills and get parts of your brain moving in ways they maybe haven't since college. There are lots of free ways out there now to learn as well, so you cannot use money as an excuse! If you can commit 3 weeks to this, your brain will begin to crave the new knowledge and it will become much easier over time.
6. Get a calendar and use it for important dates
Keeping on the theme of organization, it won't hurt to stop forgetting your families birthdays and anniversaries. This one was made for me because unlike my super-on-top-of-things-sister, I am a train wreck. I forget everyone's birthday unless I actually birthed them. I am horrible at sending cards and it never fails that I remember someone's birthday the next day. You can do it on your phone, or maybe you are blessed and can just remember things very well. Either way, think how good it feels on your special day to have warm wishes sent your way. Taking time out of your busy life to remember someone else is never a bad thing, and soon it will become second nature to write a quick card and pop it in the mail.
7. Plan an annual girls trip
Each and every year come fall, I gather with some of my favorite ladies. We all live in different states so while we can communicate by phone, that's not quite the same. Our husbands and parents watch our kids, we rent a cabin, and have the best time ever. Everyone always asks me what we do and I'm sorry I'm sworn to secrecy. But really, we each make different foods for the meals, and we talk. A lot. We have a years' worth to catch up on! Though this is not really a daily habit, it should be something you make a priority for the year for the sake of your mental health and overall self. It doesn't have to cost a lot, but making yourself a priority in this way will help improve and put into perspective the other aspects of your life. You spend all year going through the grind of life, you deserve and need a break.
Whatever you choose to commit yourself to to better your life, make it realistic and attainable. Remember it will be hard to stay motivated, so tell a friend tell them what your goals are as you will be more likely to stick with it if someone is checking in periodically. And if nothing else, say yes to the girls' weekend.
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