how to avoid new year's resolution cliches (and my word for 2018)

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Welcome to 2018! Where do you fall on the spectrum of New Year's Resolutions? Are you a goal-setter? Do you set an intention or pick a word? Do you avoid the subject altogether, and think of it as just another day?

Personally, I feel no need to wait for January 1st to start striving for new goals. However, it's hard to deny the pull of a fresh start: new year, new month, new week, new everything! 

If you're feeling the desire to take advantage of the clean slate vibe, but want to avoid embarrassing resolution fails, here are some 5 things to consider:

1. Find Your WHY

How do you get yourself to do things that are boring or that you don't feel like doing, but know are good for you? You tie those mundane tasks to a bigger purpose, known in many circles as your WHY.

Think of something you want to change or improve this year. Then do some thinking, journaling, or talking with a confidante to get to the bottom of why you want to make that change.  

For example, why do you want to pay off your student loans? Because it would free up your budget for other things. Why do you want to free up your budget? Are you saving for a new car? Buying a house? Do you want a larger clothing budget? Don't judge your answer and be honest with yourself.

Once you've found your WHY, write it down and put it somewhere prominent - the fridge, your mirror, your nightstand - and let that motivate you when you don't feel like budgeting, eating healthy, exercising, or whatever it is that will help you reach your goal.

2. Know Yourself

Gretchen Rubin talks about this all the time. We assess our personality and tendencies in order to know what works for our personality and what doesn't. 

If you know you'll rebel if you tell yourself you can't have sugar EVER, then make sure you have some healthier options for sweet treats around the house. By contrast, if you know you'll go overboard if there is ANYTHING sweet in the house, shop accordingly and only stock your pantry and fridge with healthy items. 

Figure out an exercise you love to do. Play around with budgeting programs and apps until you find one that suits your personality. In other words, set yourself up for success by knowing what works for you - not by doing what everyone else is doing!

3. Think Long Term

Is this something you're willing to commit to forever? Are you willing to change your lifestyle for the long haul? If not, then maybe this is not something you should be attempting to change. 

I have no desire to give up sugar for the rest of my life, so saying I'm going to give up sugar for 30 days is an exercise in futility. I know that as soon as I'm "allowed" to have sugar again, I'll just go right back to my old ways, and possibly even go overboard.

4. Break It Down

I think this is a crucial step that so many of us miss. Let's take even a small, reasonable goal like drinking more water. What is it going to take to make sure that's a habit that sticks?

Do you need to buy more water bottles? Do you need to fill up your water filter every night before bed? How will you keep track of your water intake? Will you fill up your water bottles at night, or will you have time to do it in the morning?

Drinking more water, losing weight, exercising more, earning more money, sticking to a budget - those things don't just happen. There needs to be a specific plan in place, and a real change in behavior in order to accomplish them. 

5. Pick One Thing

I mean, I get it. There are a million things I want to and could improve upon. I should exercise more. I should be better about zeroing out the budget each month. I should fold laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer. But I honestly don't have that much margin in my day to change all of those things at once. 

Pick one thing that carries the most emotional weight for you and start there. Improving one area of your life at a time is better than trying to improve everything all at once, failing, then beating yourself up over it. 

a summary of my 2017 goals

I have started choosing a Word of the Year. The idea is that my word shows the kind of person I want to be. It helps guide my decisions throughout the year.

Last year I chose the word consistency. I often start new projects, then quickly abandon them, so I wanted to choose a few things that were important to me and see them through. A little bit of action each day (or most days) was the goal, rather than big strides in a short amount of time. Some things I succeed in being consistent with:

  • my blog - in 2017 I decided to start taking my writing hobby seriously and dedicated early mornings and late nights to learn more about the blogging world and how to succeed. I'm proud of how far I have come, and how much more consistently I posted and promoted despite having a baby midway through the year.
  • the MuTu system - on vacation with our family in July, and felt bloated and unhappy with my appearance, so I decided to reach out to the wonderful people at MuTu to make strides toward healing my core. I stuck with the whole 12-week system and saw major improvement

This year, I want to continue in my habit of consistent work in my writing, my health and wellness business, my exercise, and my nutrition. BUT, I realized throughout the year that I often felt crabby if my work was interrupted. I felt distracted by my kids when I was working, and distracted by my work when I was with my kids.

my 2018 goals

I can be an intense person when I set my mind on a goal, and that can determination can manifest itself as being crabby or short with those around me when my focus is interrupted. It can also show up as guilt or disappointment when I need to relax or step away. 

SO, that led to my word for 2018:


I know, I know. It sounds super cheesy. But I am the sort of person that needs to be reminded not to take myself and life so seriously. I have a really goofy and fun-loving husband, and my kids are following suit. I want to get out of my own head and learn to relax and laugh along with them.

In addition, I realized I produce my best work when I'm enjoying it (duh). So with a little planning ahead, I want to create fun campaigns for my health and wellness business that make me feel alive creatively. I want to write about things that light my soul on fire, not JUST what's going to bring in traffic or make money. (Although from time to time, those things need to be done).

I want to travel more with my family, but as everyone knows, travel with kids can be stressful. I used to love travel and would jet off to other countries with nothing more than a carry-on and a loose itinerary. I knew adventure awaited - I would figure everything out when the time came. You can't be as spontaneous with kids, but you can certainly still enjoy adventure and travel. I will remind myself that the opportunity to see other cities, states, and countries is a privilege, and it is FUN.

Finally, I'm turning 30 in just a few days. Instead of lamenting my age, I want to celebrate how far I've come in my 20s, and how much I have to look forward to in this decade. I've decided to create a fun list of 30 things to do at age 30. Look for that post next week!

other goals

  • filling out the debt snowball tracker that is on our fridge, and opening up multiple savings accounts for different saving goals (travel, emergency fund, taxes, house)
  • double my income from my blog and health and wellness business
  • figure out what's going on with my core. Is it an umbilical hernia? What is the best way to fix it once and for all? Despite closing my gap significantly, I still feel like my insides are falling out after a tough workout, or if I don't pay attention to my posture during the day. I have a doctor's appointment next week to get everything sorted out!
  • keep up with laundry - NOT! LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Some things in life are more important that an empty laundry basket. 

I would love to hear from you! What are you focusing on in 2018?