Evaluating New Year's Resolutions in August

I’m writing this post from my small but cozy deck, enjoying the cool breeze after a warm, July day. It seems that July is the new December- retailers are promoting “Black Friday in July” and “Christmas in July” - including the infamous Amazon Prime Day.

All of this made me realize that we are smack in the middle of 2018, and a good time to check-in on all of those New Year’s resolutions made back in January. Have I achieved any of my goals? Has the unexpectedness of life forced me to alter my goals? Is it time to make new goals?

Keeping track of our resolutions

First off, I don’t like using the word “resolution” to describe my goals for the year. The numbers vary, but it’s estimated that up to 80% of us are unable to keep our resolutions, so it feels like a set-up for automatic failure. I prefer to call them goals, lifestyle improvements, or any other name to stay motivated.

One of my goals was to walk more. How’d I do? Meh. A hurt knee, lots of work travel and the pressures of a new job slowed me down, but I’m finding ways to incorporate walking into my workday. My Fitbit reminds me to take 250 steps each hour, so a quick walk around my air-conditioned office building does the trick. Grabbing a few coworkers for a walk at lunch around campus helps me rack up a few thousand steps. Their company makes the walk way more fun. If I can’t walk outside, I climb the steps in my house, dance around the living or walk in place. Anything to keep those feet moving!

Although I haven’t been as successful as I hoped halfway through the year, I feel comfortable recommitting to this goal and building on the progress I’ve made so far.

Do you want to join me and recommit to those 2018 goals, or create new ones? Here are a few steps to get started:

  1. Review your goals. Think back on all you promised yourself you would accomplish. Do these resolutions still meet your goals? Priorities change, so do abilities. Be honest with yourself - were your resolutions too ambitious, to begin with? Can you break your larger goal down into smaller, doable steps?
  2. Identify what you did well, and how you can improve. Setting yourself up for success is a key to reaching your goals. Every goal needs an action plan, a step-by-step guide on how you’re going to get there. For example, I want to pack a nutritious lunch for work every day. In order for this to happen, I have to make a meal plan, followed by a grocery shopping list, purchase the food and dedicate time to prepare my lunch. If I leave any of those steps to chance, my lunch will not be made and I’ll find myself making an unhealthy choice in the cafeteria.
  3. Adjust your timeline. It’s perfectly OK to reevaluate your long and short-term goals based on what you’ve learned over the last six months. Use that knowledge to make more sensible adjustments to your life. Resolutions are a marathon and not a sprint.
  4. Recommit to the resolutions you still want to keep. Recommitting can motivate you to keep trying. Tell your loved ones you are recommitting, and ask them to check on your progress from time to time. Share your challenges and successes with them. I find my friends are always willing to help me find solutions to my challenges and let me know when I’m making excuses.
  5. Let go of resolutions that no longer make sense, and set a new goal. Yep. Nothing wrong with starting over. No need to wait until January - August is the perfect time for a new beginning!

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? What steps are you taking to be successful, or why did you have to abandon your goals?

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