Hey everyone, welcome to 2020!
With us all completing yet another lap around the sun, many of us feel the need to re-haul our lives and race into the new year with a sparkling new attitude, and of course some new goals.
When taking the plunge into a new beginning, we often find ourselves divided; half of us ready to embrace the ‘New year New me’ drive, and the other side completely ignoring the change in year and mocking those who do not. I, for one spent many years in the latter category; however, this year I have seemed to jump ship. For the first time in many years, I have created a new year’s resolution for myself, and in doing so have learned a few things about making good, realistic goals. I won’t take all the credit though, I have examined a couple ‘make your resolutions stick’ posts and acquired some points from there.
I promise that I will stop talking about myself and give you some tips in a second, but I feel that it is only appropriate to share my goal with you. In the year of 2020, I aspire to quit fast fashion and buy exclusively second hand clothes. I’ve been working up to it throughout this year by thrifting more often and feel that it is time to take make the switch. Fast fashion has vast social, economic and especially environmental implications that are fuelled by the consumerism that comes along with it. I’ll link some resources if you’d like to learn more about the industry and its effects. Alright, time for the tips!
1. One at a time
Quite often when you ask someone about their resolutions, they start listing off huge feats like a taco bell order. Clearly, this isn’t the right approach. We forget that these resolutions need to layer over our normal lives, and that things happen. Even if they are small resolutions, it is best to keep it to one, as this allows you to focus purely on it and ensure that you achieve it. This may just be me, but I’d rather be killing it at one goal, then 'half-assing' three. Quality over quantity. Additionally, if you did underestimate yourself and achieve the goal at an earlier point then you expect, then just set another one! January 1st isn’t the only day of the year to make change after all.
2. Be specific
This is the first – and most important, in my opinion – step in the SMART goal setting framework. Just picking an area of your life that you want to improve isn’t a new year’s resolution, it is only the first step. Your goal should be something that you will do to get to where you want to be in this particular area. For example, my initial goal was to be more environmentally friendly; however, that can mean many things. A couple thought exercises led me to the area of fast fashion, and boom: my resolution was born. I’m still going to take other environmentally friendly measures and pursue other areas of my overall goal, but I’m only tracking and holding myself to the fast fashion thing. It may seem counter intuitive to only track one small portion of your goal, but what you are in fact doing is using this one small, achievable thing to fuel your motivation for your big, overarching goal. If you were tracking every little part of your goal, losing track of one tiny portion can derail you, prompting you to drop the entire area. With this approach, you only have one job, and the momentum from this primary goal can assist you with all the other no-strings-attatched parts.
3. Give yourself breathing room
I’d have to say that this is the primary way to keep your resolution going past valentines day. The burst of New Year’s motivation often leads to a desire to go cold turkey, overestimating ourselves and our limits. Having a bit of a crutch, or asterisk to your resolution greatly increases its longevity and achievability. Back to the fast fashion case study, I reluctantly gave myself the crutch of limiting the ban to just clothing, meaning that I can go ham with new bags, jewellery and shoes. When giving myself this exception, I felt like I was only setting half of a goal and that it harmed the meaningfulness of my goal, which leads me to my next point. Just because the crutch is there, doesn’t mean that you have to (or will) use it. Think of it as a panic button, only to be used in the direst of situations without any consequences. A word of warning though, this tip is to be used in conjunction with some skilful self-discipline.
4. Embrace the power of mini habits
A couple of months back, I came across a YouTube video (will be in links) from the channel ‘Better than Yesterday’ which uncovered the mystical force that is the mini habit. To be put succinctly, a mini habit is one in which there is a low threshold for the habit to be complete. For example, a goal to read more often could be converted into the mini habit of ‘read at least 1 page a day’. Since this is a laughably low bar to reach, you will more often than not exceed this (especially with your current newfound motivation), and use this momentum to fuel your reading the next day. Inevitably, there will come a day where you are having none of it and the last thing that you want to do is read. Since the threshold to achieving the habit for that day is so low, there is not enough friction to justify not reading that day. A good way to measure the effectiveness of a mini habit is to imagine that you had been rejected an opportunity of a lifetime. If you could bring yourself to complete the habit after that, then it is a keeper. New Year’s resolutions come into the picture when your resolution involves a lifestyle change. Similarly to the last tip, converting your resolution into a mini habit will greatly increase its longevity.
5. Hold yourself accountable
Finally, no matter how good your self-discipline is, you will need a way to hold yourself accountable. This tip is pretty flexible, in that you really need to know yourself to decide what is best for you. I, for instance, am posting my resolution right here on my blog, knowing very well that my pride can’t fathom telling someone, even through a screen, of my failure. Other ways to do this could be starting a journal, getting a friend to join in with you or posting about it on socials.
That’s all! I wish you all the best with your resolutions in the coming year, and hope that these tips were of use.
Thank you so much for reading
Fast fashion explained in under five minutes- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR7bXsoNwwE&vl=en
Accomplish anything with mini habits - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHDvEfiSipo