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Taking Control in 2020

If you’re anything like me, you’re more than ready to say goodbye to 2019 and ring in the New Year! With some incredible memories from 2019 and some less than perfect ones, it’s time to start thinking about how to make 2020 our best year yet.

The month of January was named after the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and ends. He is depicted with two faces, one looking back into the past year and one looking forward into the new year. So, leading up to the month of January, I’ve decided to take my inspiration from the ancient Roman deity and really figure out what changes I want to make for myself.

Now, I haven’t always been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. How many people actually follow through with them? Why don’t people have the resolve to keep these promises that they make to themselves? What can we do differently this year to make them stick?

The year of 2020 can totally be the year all about you. What does that look like for you? Does it mean taking care of yourself, saving up for a fabulous vacation, or finding time for activities that you used to love? 

In order to turn your New Year’s resolutions into real, attainable goals, make them realistic and specific, make a plan, and check in with yourself - find a way to hold yourself accountable. Take control of your goals and make them happen!

1. Make your goals realistic and specific.

New Year’s resolutions need to be attainable, realistic goals so that you can feel encouraged and motivated as the months pass. If your resolution is to work out more but exercise is not a normal part of your routine already, then start with a goal that you think is manageable and that fits in with your schedule. 

I already know that I work 12 hour days on Mondays and am not going to come home and work out in the evening, so if I made a resolution to work out every day, I would be setting myself up for failure. Three or four days a week is much more reasonable with my work schedule and is something that I really can follow through with.

If you never cook for yourself at home, start off trying to cook a few times a week. There are lots of healthy meals that you can prep on the weekends so it’s less work during the week.

Look at your schedule and really think about what you can do to fit these changes in. Remember, success breeds more success - the more you succeed, the more motivated you’ll feel!

At the same time, make sure your goals are specific. “I’m going to exercise three days a week” is going to be a lot more effective than “I’m going to exercise more.” (Even better -- “I’m going to work out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays!”) Similarly, “I’m going to save up for a trip to Thailand” is not nearly as helpful as “I need to save (x dollars) per month or per paycheck.”

The more specific you are and the more you picture your New Year’s resolution as a part of your day to day life, the more likely you are to follow through.

2. Make a plan.

Now that you’ve set attainable and specific goals, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to achieve them. If your goal is going to require a time commitment or is time sensitive, get a calendar, think about your schedule, and write down your objectives. Writing down your goals will help you to really commit because once they’re in writing, it feels so much more real.

If you have a fitness goal, think about what your body needs in order to get where you feel like your best self. Remember to think about both diet and exercise. Use your calendar to plan out meals and workouts. Once it’s in writing, it’s a lot harder to back out!

If your goals are financial, create a spreadsheet, work out a budget, and then use whatever method works best for you. I find that using cash really keeps me accountable for my spending. I’ve used envelopes to hold my cash for different categories like “pets,” “groceries,” and “fun.”

3. Check in with yourself.

You have a New Year’s resolution, you’ve planned out how you’re going to accomplish it, now you need to make sure that you follow through. 

Try setting an alert on your phone calendar to remind you to check in with yourself at the end of January. Then use alerts or reminders check in with yourself weekly or monthly to make sure that you’re staying on track. 

Maybe you’ll need to adjust your goals as time goes on, make changes to your schedule, or reevaluate what’s working and what isn’t. That’s totally ok! Remember, change is good--that’s why you made a New Year’s resolution in the first place!

So as 2019 comes to a close and 2020 begins, remember to reflect on the past and walk into the future with a vision and the drive to bring it to life. Now go out there and take 2020 by storm!

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