When people tell me that 2019 is going to be their year, I have to laugh and roll my eyes. Isn’t that what everyone says? When I think seriously about how 2019 will be different, I ask myself these questions, “what did you do last year and why was it not a good year for you? What will actually be different about this year? Are you not happy with yourself? Could you be better? Are you actually going to change?”
Personally, I try to maintain a level of discipline in certain areas of my life. Over the past couple of years, I have remained focused on my goals despite circumstances changing and other challenges I face daily. Yes, each year is different, each year has a different mix of people surrounding you or different locations, but the common denominator is always the same. You. Knowing I only have control of myself in life and the choices I make, I approach resolutions in a slightly more strategic way. Before the year begins, I will set an expectation of exactly how I want to finish the year; a vision that I can revisit whenever I want to. This vision will be within the realm of possibility, but will require specific behaviors and routine changes to achieve. These routines become the foundation for the resolutions I set. They will be purposeful, actionable and measurable. I like to, as they say, “beat the market” year after year. The market being a normal progressive way of life. Whether my goal is to make more money, travel to new places, meet new people or upgrade my quality of life, I am always striving to improve.
The main way I work to ‘beat the market’ and improve my life is through altering my habits each month. Building positive habits throughout the year is a great way to make sure you ultimately achieve personal growth and embody the vision you had for yourself at the start of the year. Even small changes to your daily routine can have tremendous effects and snowball to improve other areas of your life.
Every year we all make resolutions and try to “stick to them.” But the reality of the matter is carrying out these resolutions can be daunting and feel impractical. but my method is much more sustainable for me. I try and make it into a game. So instead of making 1-2 resolutions at the start of the year, I will make 3-4 mini goals/resolutions at the start of each month and focus only on those habits/goals for the 30 days. This is a way of tricking my brain to build a strong new habit and become a better person. Grooming myself to be better and hold myself to a higher standard. I read the book the “Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and it takes 21 days to build a habit so 30 seemed right on par.
Instead of setting a vague resolution, for example, “get fit in 2019,” a better goal would be to specify and implement three new habits that would help to make you more fit. For example, set your alarm a half hour earlier in the mornings, drink 8 glasses of water every single day, and do (3) 1-minute planks every night. Some of the goals can be more focused toward self improvement as well. Its a collection of little things that make big changes in your life. If you can make them attainable and more specific the better. Here are some examples from my first three months.
- Only 1-cup of coffee per work day (black, no sugar, or milk)
- Finish every shower by turning the nozzle to pool temp (supposedly much better for your body, it gets easier every day I promise)
- Read 10 pages every day.
*It’s march and I already drink much less coffee and don’t even mind that it’s black with nothing added, I feel much healthier. Showers are cold in the winter but I barely mind it now. I read every single day much more than 10 pages a day, it’s an ingrained habit now.
- Make my bed every single day
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
- Complete 100 calf-raises every night while I brush my teeth
- Eat a vegetable every single day
Some month-long habits I plan to implement this year:
- Give up “candy” for 30 days
- “Pool temp” showers every day for a month
- 8 glasses of water every day for 30 days
- Pack lunch for 30 days instead of buying lunch
- Make bed every day (psychologically, a groundbreaking feat for your day)
- Lay your clothes out every night for the next day
- Give away thirty pieces of clothing, one article for every day of the month
- “No spend days.” These are days where you spend “zero” money during the day, no cash purchases and no charges to the credit card. See how many you can get a month.
- Meal prep for 30 days
- Take a vitamin every day, especially those that you are lacking in. I take Vitamin D every single day.
- Get in bed by 10:30p on weekdays, 1-2a on weekends.
- No alcohol for 30 days, or you can do “no beer”
- Be active every day for 30 days jog/bike/gym
- Communicate with someone from your past, 30 different people in 30 days
- Track your finances for 30 days, income and expenses every single day. (I’ve been doing this for almost three years)
- Not going shopping for 30 days
- Stay below or above a certain weight for 30 days
- Keep your room/house at an acceptable standard of clean for 30 days.
- No TV for 30 days
- Follow the stock/real estate market for 30 days
Many of these small habits, can develop into lasting, Keystone habits. Keystone habits provde the foundation for how you live your life and provide a stable foundation for building and adding new habits. The best way to make big changes your life is to make small changes. It’s been about three months since I’ve started doing these new, mini habits and I have already started to notice my life changing a positive changes. I hope this post will inspire you to take action with your own life and get the results you really want. Best of luck!