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New Year’s resolution planning

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Something about taking down the old calendar and hanging up a new one fills us with so much hope. Moving from 2022 into 2023 is really just Saturday turning into Sunday, but 2023 is new and therefore full of promise.

However, many of us tend to bite off more than we can chew with New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you step on the scale, see a number you don’t like, and then aim to subtract another big number. Maybe you look at your financials from the previous year and decide you want to make more money in 2023 to bump you up into another tax bracket. Maybe you just want to plant more bulbs or buy more chickens.

Whatever you’re thinking of doing, the key is to have a plan.

Very Well Mind, an award-winning resource for reliable, compassionate and up-to-date information on the mental health topics that matter most to you, offers some great tips on how to keep those resolutions going past January 12 (which is Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution Day).

  1. Choose a specific goal. When you have hard numbers, dates or items to check off a list, it makes things much more attainable. “Build a barn” is vague. “Build a 30×40 pole barn during June” gives you motivation and direction.
  2. Limit your resolutions. As previously mentioned, we tend to feel a little too optimistic come the first of January. Two achievable goals are better than 10 pie-in-the-sky ideas.
  3. Put time into planning. Let’s go back to that “build a barn” goal. That’s not something that just happens. You need to find the right site, purchase the materials, hire labor – there’s a lot that goes into a resolution. Break each one down into multiple steps to help you visualize what needs to be done.
  4. Start with small steps. Inevitably, I gain a little weight over winter. It happens to the best of us. Rather than just say “I want to lose 10 pounds,” my small steps will include some tweaks to my diet, making more time to exercise and stopping myself from engaging in bad habits. Even 10 pounds can seem like a lot – aim for two at a time.
  5. Avoid repeating past failures. Last year, you said you were going to add ducks to your homestead. You found some, brought them home and they all ended up succumbing to nighttime predators. The same thing happened the year before that. Maybe move on from the duck-owning goal.
  6. Remember that change is a process. If there are any habits you engage in that you want to change, be mindful that they took years to develop. It may take a long time to change them. And that’s okay!
  7. Get support. Even if it’s just finding a Facebook group that shares information on something you’re working toward – DIY carpentry, responsible duck ownership, using farm chores to lose weight – having a team behind you can provide motivation when your tank is running low. Life is a team sport!

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