Tips on how we can stay married to our New Year resolutions and the importance of being gentle with yourself and your goals
As 2018 wraps up, the age-old adage “new year, new me” makes its yearly spike across social media. It’s a time of self-reflection and taking stock of what we’ve achieved and what we’d like to achieve. There’s always that hope that next year will be better than the last, and the thought of a fresh start feels liberating.
With the new year comes an opportunity to improve our lives in one or more ways by making New Year’s resolutions, or setting goals to reach throughout the year. Whether it’s losing weight, eating healthier, becoming more organized or giving up smoking, these goals seek to.
That being said, we’re terrible at keeping these resolutions. According to U.S. News and Reports, 80 percent of New Years resolutions fall through by February. So, how can we ensure that we stay committed to our New Year’s resolutions?
Filipina-American health, wellness and business coach Anna Marie Cruz — who works primarily with high-achieving women — takes an integrative approach to wellness coaching and says that we often approach these resolutions with negative rhetoric or “with an attitude of deprivation.”
Reframing the way we see our goals by using more positive language to describe them can make them feel less like chores and more like something to look forward to, Cruz says.
“For example, ‘I resolve to give up sweets or alcohol’ can feel like punishment. The guilt associated with giving into cravings could lead us to abandon our goals entirely,” Cruz told the Asian Journal. “How many times have we told ourselves “I can’t have chocolate” and somehow all we see around us are giant chocolate bars? Rather than deprivation, re-frame these resolutions in the positive. Instead of ‘I can’t eat sweets,’ we can ‘resolve to eat more vegetables to keep the skin even clearer and healthier.’ Who doesn’t want that?” Cruz adds that it would benefit us to cut ourselves a little slack when it comes to working towards these goals, saying that we often adopt a “perfectionist mindset” that might convince that we’re failing when we don’t 100 percent adhere to our goals every day.
“It takes at least 21 days to develop a new habit, so instead of giving up once you leave the box unchecked for the day, use the next day to start fresh and approach your goals without the guilt of feeling of failure from the previous day,” Cruz recommends.
A popular New Year’s resolution that many adopt at the start of a new year is to be more organized: in home, in work and in mind. Moreover, the goal extends to be intentional with the possessions we keep and the purchases we make.
Filipina-American personal and home organizer Katrina Green — who runs Badass Homelife, a home organizing business in the greater Sacramento and Bay Area —follows a minimalist approach that transcends beyond just home organizing.
“When I purchase things, there is a purpose for it; I don’t just shop for funsies,” Green told the Asian Journal. “People have a misconception of minimalism. They think that we live with no decor in our homes or what, which isn’t true, at least for me. I decorated my home with intent and for as long as it isn’t cluttered and everything has a home it works. I’ve adapted this concept as a lifestyle because I find beauty in simplifying things. When you live a simplified and organized life, you get to do more and enjoy more non tangible things.”
As Filipinos, we tend to put a lot of value on material things and oftentimes because of that, there’s a tendency to hoard items. On that note, Green said that “a lot of our elders have ingrained in us” that keeping certain “antiques and heirlooms” is a way to keep the tradition or family spirit alive, but that can result in keeping items we don’t necessarily need.
“I would want Filipinos to see beyond the material aspect of [these things] and see that what truly matters are the memories and teachings you leave behind,” Green says, adding that Filipinos could benefit from regular decluttering.
Although the process of organizing your work or home space may feel overwhelming, starting off slow and working at your own pace could help you set off a routine, Green says, adding that treating your organizing goals like a workout routine could turn new practices into habits.
“Be kind to yourself. Don’t get frustrated when something doesn’t work the first time,” Green says. “Take it slow, start with one area like your desk or a drawer. I do a 3-step method, Toss, Donate and Keep. Treat being organized as starting a workout routine. It’s something that’s difficult to start but once you get into the habit of doing it every day and week, it becomes a part of your routine. The key is to keep going, when it doesn’t work the first time, try something else, when that doesn’t work you can always count on us Organizers.”
Like Green, Cruz advises to approach your goals with kindness towards yourself and that if something doesn’t go as planned, try another method. But the key is to keep on going and remembering making mistakes is a part of the process, and that there’s always going to be a tomorrow.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be 100 percent committed at the beginning of the day, but also 100 percent forgiving and 100 percent curious at the end of the day,” Cruz recommends. “We are on this planet for a finite amount of time. If you don’t get your 30-minute exercise in today, channel that attitude of gratitude and count the things that went right today, rather than what went wrong. This alone can keep us motivated to conquer the next day!”