New Years Commitments

By Steph

This weekend I decided that the idea of setting New Years resolutions is simply an idea, and it needs to be tossed out all together.  Think about how cliché it is. Everyone gets all worked up  about the turning of the new year, indulges in all sorts of things from one last pack of cigarettes to one last cheesecake and decides that on January 1st, magically, all these vices are just going to disappear. Some go as far as making pretty lists with decisions such as, “I will learn to speak a new language ” or ” I will sign up for a 2 year gym contract because even though I haven’t set foot in a gym all year, come January 1st, there won’t be a day that goes back where I’m not at the gym!” Am I right? Unfortunately, we all know what happens with 99.9% of these infamous resolutions; if they ever take off, they’re usually gasping for air by the 15th and at a complete halt by the end of the month.

So now what? Throw in the towel and try again next year? Absolutely not!  Think about it, most of these resolutions are made with a final result in mind, but no plan for getting there. After two weeks at the gym, you start getting bored of your new outfit, and the same tunes on your iPod are driving you nuts When suddenly you realize you don’t know why you’re even there.  Its terrifying to think about how often that’s happened, but it doesn’t have to be, and here is how.

1. Throw out the idea of “New Years Resolutions.” Its like the word “diet” or “fat-free.” It just triggers a negative reaction in your system that makes your hair stand on end and instead of motivating you, it just stresses you out. Don’t look at it as a resolution. Instead look at as a new commitment to a goal you are setting.

2. Plan out the milestones you need to meet in order to get to that goal. Make sure they are realistic.  Set specific dates, or if it’s far out, set months that you want to do a self check on your progress to keep you going along the way.  So, for example, if you’re committing to raising $5,000 for breast cancer awareness by December 31st, plan out HOW you’re going to get there. Do so by setting mini-goals along the year. So if by April you want to have your first $1,000 earned, then start by brainstorming how you are going to get there. Baby steps are the key to success.

3. Finally,  track your progress.  Even as adults, the gold star system can be greatly rewarding.  Having a journal or even a blog is a great way to keep yourself accountable of your own progress.  Take ownership of the commitments you make, and learn to push yourself to achieve every endeavor you wish to take on. If you fail or miss a milestone take it as an opportunity to reevaluate your plan, and start fresh again the next day.

Steph caught the travel bug early in life, traveling to various cities in Colombia every summer growing up. In college, she took on adventures traveling to to England, Costa Rica, Argentina, and the Virgin Islands. Her four years in the Army allowed her to travel around the world and granted her the privilege to live and explore the Korean peninsula, the Hawaiian Islands, and of course, a fortuitous excursion through sandy Iraq. Currently, she’s enjoying the civilian life back in her hometown, Woodbridge, Virginia. She loves dancing, the outdoors, and re-exploring sights of the nation’s capital; this time, through the eyes of a more grown-up version of herself.

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