How to Choose a New Year’s Resolution

Chapter

Dec 31 2013

Gold Tape

How to Choose a New Year's ResolutionOn certain occasions, we are prompted to think about self-improvement. The New Year, birthdays, or, for me, whenever I’m on an airplane. Well, actually, I think about self-improvement and habit-building constantly. But especially on airplanes.

What is your ideal daily routine?

I jotted down some ideas for mine on a recent flight:
How to Choose a New Year's Resolution

The top section includes things that I want to be ingrained in daily ritual, like most of us brush our teeth.

At the bottom I listed activities I want to continue [running, climbing] and to start [tae kwon do, dance].

It includes regular outings I enjoy and should do regularly, like dressing up [for the movies or my college’s 700th anniversary ball] and going to the theatre, as well as skills [computers, languages] and knowledge [health, ethical fashion] I hope to see flourish in my daily existence.

The Kind of Goals that Matter

I can’t identify a dream job or a milestone I want to achieve – mostly because I like the freedom of that thing to evolve over time. In true minimalist fashion, I prefer to think about the little things.

In an ideal world, how do you want to start your day?

What is your dream? Do you envision scattering feed for the chickens as the sun wakes up? Do you want to read the New York Times cover to cover with a hot mug of coffee? A morning meditation? Walking your dog around the block?

Think about the habits you already have.

In reality, when my alarm rings, I reach for my glasses and scroll through my email to get my eyes awake. I don’t love it, certainly not as much as the next step – dragging myself onto the yoga mat.

I check my email way too often. When I’m bored I’ll go on Facebook or Bloglovin. Whenever I’m in the kitchen I’ll scrounge for something to eat regardless of hunger, and I’ll peruse whatever free catalog is lying on the counter.

The habits you want to adapt are the same thing – something triggers them, and they become automatic. You just have to set that trigger – it’s a tiny tweak.

I made a daily routine cheat sheet.

How to Choose a New Year's Resolution

[MIT stands for ‘Most Important Task’]. It’s a work-in-progress. Some of these things happen every day without question [journaling, yoga]. Some of these things don’t happen regularly at all [running, music].

My advice?

Daydream on paper with no limitations. Then condense your list into something just a little bit beyond what you are already doing. You can do twelve little things – one each month – instead of one big thing – that you might not have ended up doing anyway.

I stopped doing annual resolutions.

But my most successful one was at age 11: Write in my journal every day.

Even if it was just the date and a single sentence [usually: “I’m soooo tired.”], I did write for 365 days straight. And I continue the trend to this day.

These days, I make monthly resolutions that I call Tiny Tweaks. I assess what most nags me about my life, and I find a teeny tiny way to make it better.

This month’s habit:

Be in my room at 10pm.

I’m back at home with the wonderful distraction of my family, and a comfy couch for watching movies, but to get enough sleep to get up early, I need to start my winding down routine early. Bedroom curfew in place.

If you make resolutions [or Tiny Tweaks!], do share!

Happy New Year!

miss xandra bee
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