How To Make The Most Of The Last Months Of 2019
We rush through the holidays, looking forward to a new year, forgetting how much time we still have left. It’s easy to coast along through the last part of the year with one’s eye on the prize; the prize being a fresh start. It can feel as if this year is already lost and it would be easier to just sleep through to the end when the fireworks are going off and everyone is toasting to January 1.
Every year, I write myself a letter to open On December 31; it’s filled with all the hopes, dreams, goals and predictions I have for the coming year. It never surprises me how much things have changed during the year, how much I’ve changed. Somehow, none of those goals seem to matter anymore, and life has changed so much that my predictions couldn’t possibly make any sense. Every year I come to the realization that it’s not the resolutions that matter, but the real personal changes I’ve made over a period of time that have made a difference in my daily life.
Inc. surveyed 2,000 Americans at the beginning of 2019 to see what their resolutions were for the year:
71% said diet and eat healthier
65% said exercise more
54% said lose weight
The rest were things like save more money, read more, or find another job.
However, resolution makers may be disappointed to hear that most people will fail. U.S. News and World Report found that 80% of New Years resolutions will fail by February. That’s only a month into the year!
It’s not surprising when you look at the types of resolutions people set for themselves. They’re things that are too generalized, too big, or don’t really involve a true lifestyle change. Most people hope that if they set a giant goal (always with the best intentions,) that it will happen. However, they forget about the true work required.
What we really wish for is to have the magical power to see any picture on Pinterest and immediately put it in our closet, see it in the mirror, or have it cooked perfectly on the stove.
Shainna Ali, Ph. D., lists 4 reasons why resolutions fail in a Psychology Today article:
1. Your goals aren’t clear
2. You feel overwhelmed
3. You feel discouraged
4. You’re not ready to change
Rather than wasting these last few months of the year sailing along, thinking only of the future when you can finally “start,” spend this time making real changes within yourself that will truly stick. And, if and when you do decide to set some New Years resolutions, you’ll have all the traits you need within you to make your goals happen.
What can you do to get a head start on next year?
1. Tie up loose ends
The last thing you want to do is go into a new year still thinking about the past, and feeling like you’re being dragged down by things you should have gotten done (procrastination is not a word you want swimming around your mind come January.)
Make a to-do list (with all tasks, not just work related) to complete before the end of the year. Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project” talks about a list for every kind of personality:
To-do list: The classic to do list that we’re all accustomed to
Could-do list: If a classic to-do list causes you to feel resistance, make a list of things you can choose whether or not you want to do
Ta-da list: A list of all the thing you’ve already accomplished which will help give you energy and motivation
To-day list: If a huge to-do list for the entire month completely puts you off, make a list of the tasks that need to be done only today
2. Take a close look at your relationships
Going into a new year with negativity surrounding toxic relationships will only take up space in your mind and create mental clutter. And, don’t just focus on the relationships you may need to break off.
Remember to focus on the gratitude you feel for the truly loving people you have in your life, and tell them how much they mean to you.
3. Review your goals from the past year: What have you not completed yet?
At the beginning of the year you see 12 months ahead of you where you have tons of time to accomplish all the goals you’ve set. But, days flow into weeks and weeks flow into months; before you know it, we’re gearing up for champagne-fueled parties and sparkly dresses are in every shop window.
However, you still have an entire 4 months; that’s a huge amount of time to accomplish the goals you still have, or at least get started on them.
Psychologycompass.com talks about “Expectancy Theory,” writing, “This theory – which is supported by dozens of studies and integrated into numerous other theories of motivation – states that motivation is a product of two things: how much you value your goal and how much you believe you can achieve your goal. It’s a formula for achieving goals.”
4. What can you improve about your look?
I’m the last person to talk about giving your outer-appearance any kind of makeover, especially before doing inner-work. However, taking care of yourself and how you look goes a long way when it comes to going into a new year as your best self.
Could your wardrobe use some sprucing up? Take a look at Pinterest for some ideas. What about a new exercise routine to get in better shape? Try a new yoga routine.
Focusing on being your best self next year is always a noble goal, however don’t forget how many months we still have left in the current year to become even better.