I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I feel like they put way too much pressure on us to completely change our lives overnight. Did you know that while about 40% of people make resolutions, only about 8% actually keep them? This year, instead of making “all or nothing resolutions,” I decided to try some un-resolutions! Keep reading to find out what I’m talking about.
Every year begins pretty much the same way. We start the brand new calendar with a list of very specific (and often very lofty) goals in mind. We’ll lose 50 pounds. We’ll stop drinking caffeine. We’ll give up sugar, spice, and everything nice. We’ll work out 50 hours a week! Climb Mt. Everest! Be the most organized person on the planet! Craft circles around Martha Stewart! We’ll do it all!!
By the middle of January, we’ve given up half of our resolutions and adjusted the others. By February, 92% of us have said “forget it” to the whole thing. Instead of feeling fabulous and making changes in our lives, we feel like we’ve failed miserably and think “well, there’s always next year!”
See, that’s the thing about New Year’s Resolutions: we have this mindset that we have to go big or go home, and if we don’t keep up with them, we have to ditch them until the next ball drops. That’s why un-resolutions make so much more sense to me!
What are New Year’s Un-Resolutions?
This year, instead of saying “I resolve to [insert illogical demand on yourself here],” say “I un-resolve to [insert more logical, gradual change here] and while I’ll do my best to stick to my goal, I am letting myself off the hook if slip up along the way.” For example, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds in 2018, don’t say “I resolve to lose 50 pounds this year!” Say, “I will do my best to get down to a healthier weight through healthy means. I know I will slip up at times. If that happens, I will not let myself feel like a failure and give up the whole journey until next year.”
Instead of setting giant goals that you know darn well are going to be crazy hard to reach and that make you feel horrible when you fail at them, set logical goals that build you up throughout the year! Make sense?
My Top 6 New Year’s Un-Resolutions That You Can Steal For Yourself
I’m listing these by the popular New Year’s Resolution first, followed by my un-resolution. Affiliate links included below. If you make a purchase through the links, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thanks!
1. Exercise every day = be more active
On the top of just about every New Year’s Resolution: exercise! While exercising is a good resolution, we usually add qualifiers to it that make it a little unrealistic. Like, “I’ll join a gym and go every day!” or “I’ll work out for one hour each day!” First, I can’t really afford a gym. Second, I am not comfortable working out in front of others. Third, I have chronic pain issues that make exercising an hour a day a little hard. I can come up with a million and one more of these to get me out of an “exercise more” resolution.
Instead, I un-resolve to just be more active. It’s vague enough that I can exercise as little or as much as my body can handle on any given day and still feel like I’m succeeding. One of the little ways that I’m working in more active time? Using a standing desk for about half of my work day. If you read my gift ideas for people with chronic pain, you say me mention a great standing desk from The ReadyDesk. They sent me one to try out for free in exchange for telling you about them.
Did you know that standing at a desk for 3 hours a day five days a week burns as many calories as running one marathon per month? Plus, it’s better on my back than constantly sitting. I had it up before Christmas, but had to take it down because my table is my desk and we kind of needed it for the holidays. As soon as the holidays are over, though, I’m putting it back up! It’s crazy easy to put together and, if need be, take apart to put away until you’re ready to use it again. I can easily switch back and forth from sitting and standing just by moving my monitor up and down. When I put it in the lowest position, it’s right at eye level on my table, so even when I’m not using it as a standing desk, it’s benefiting my neck. Find it on TheReadyDesk.com. They have a couple different options, and the desk is perfect for anyone from 5′ to 6’3″.
Along with standing to work, I’m planning to use my Plexus Wheel more often. I love that yoga wheel, but I often forget to use it. I plan to set a reminder on my phone for after my work day is done. Rather than trying to cram in as much exercise as I can take before my back screams “stop!” I’m making a list of activities that actually make my back feel better. That way, I’m working with myself instead of against my chronic pain. I’m also redefining “activity.” Grocery shopping, walking around the mall with a friend, and playing with my dogs count just as much to me as working out at a gym.
2. Read 52 books this year = read more for fun
Every year I say “I’m going to read at least 52 books this year!” That’s a book a week, doesn’t sound like much, right? Once upon a time, I would have blown way past that goal by June. The last decade though, I only beat it once. Between working, everyday life and chronic migraines, I am just not in the mood to read as often as I used to be. Besides, I spend ALL day staring at words, between writing, editing, and researching!
Instead of vowing to read a book a week, I’m simply un-resolving to read more for fun when I have the time and energy. No reading challenges (although I may share some of my favorite ideas with you in case you want to do challenges), no TBR piles, no pressure. Just pick up a book that sounds good when I feel like it and read it until I finish it or until I don’t feel like it anymore. I do have a lot on my “Want to Read” list (which isn’t as high-pressure as a “to be read” list). If you need some ideas on books to read for fun, check out my many, many lists in my What to Read Next section!
If you’re curious what I’m reading, take a peek at my Christmas gifts! I just finished this one and give it 5 stars (I give all the October Day series books 5 stars!):
Right now, I’m reading this one:
Then up next:
3. Drink more water/give up diet soda/give up caffeine= drink more herbal tea
First, I’m never, ever, ever, ever, ever going to give up coffee and caffeine, so I won’t even try to make that resolution. I am trying to cut way back on diet soda, though. I think the aspartame is contributing to my headaches. I would also like to drink more water, but honestly, plain water just isn’t my thing.
My solution and un-resolution? Drink more herbal tea! I love tea almost as much as I love coffee. I got an amazing gift basket (I’ll be giving one away to one of you later this month, so keep an eye out for it) with enough tea to last me the whole year, including both loose and bagged tea. For the loose teas, I bought these filter bags on Amazon because I never have much luck with tea balls actually staying together. Those bags are big enough to make a whole pitcher, but they still work just fine for a cup of tea.
4. Organize everything = slowly declutter
My house needs some serious organizing and decluttering. Like, serious. I’ve been slowly working on it, and will continue to do so throughout 2018. I’d like to move eventually, and when I go I don’t want to take a bunch of crap with me that I don’t need. I was thinking about doing that 52 bag challenge (where you get rid of a garbage bag a week worth of stuff), but it’s too regimented and if I skip a week I’ll feel like I failed. Plus, I have Waste Management, and they charge a fortune as it is and you’re only allowed a certain amount of garbage.
My un-resolution= pick one thing to declutter when I’m in the mood. A drawer, a closet, maybe even a whole room if I’m feeling up to it! Once it’s done, it’s done. Nothing else can get added to it unless something comes out of it. I’ll probably start with my bathroom because I have makeup and lotion from 6 years ago under my sink! My secondary goal- find a good home for all the kids’ books, toys, and clothing that my son has outgrown. My third goal: deal with my overflowing garage. That will have to wait until spring or summer, though.
5. Make more money blogging = diversify my income
For the last few years, I’ve had all my eggs in pretty much the same blogging basket. When things were good, they were really good. Unfortunately, blogging isn’t paying the bills as well as it used to. It’s time to diversify, to explore the other aspects of my talents and see what else is out there. I’ll keep blogging, keep working for my clients, but I’ll also be actively looking into new ways to build a more solid financial foundation. I’ll explore ideas without worrying about whether they’ll pay off, because the only way to find out is to try! I’ll stop getting in my own way and seek out new opportunities. I’ll stop trying to force myself into boxes that I don’t fit in (I like Instagram, but prefer to share bits and pieces of my life on my schedule, not a perfectly crafted thematic page on a rigid schedule that a course recommends, for example) and start being myself again.
6. Write a novel = write for enjoyment more often
I’ll be honest, when I set out to be a writer, blogging was never the goal. As a teenager and young adult, I wrote short stories for fun, started novels (and ditched them because they didn’t click with me), brainstormed crazy world ideas, and so on. The non-fiction thing came about out of necessity. I like it, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t give up my site for anything. Still, I’ve always wanted to write a novel, and I always find an excuse not to do it.
This year, I un-resolve to write for fun. Not because I think it will get published and become the next Harry Potter. Not because I want to make millions or gain fame and recognition, but because I have stories in my head that want to come out. If one finally sticks and makes it to the end, great. I’ll have my mom format it, make me a cover, and publish it (because that’s what she does for a living, along with building websites). The goal is to get back to writing for fun, not for profit.
More Resolutions to Turn Into Unresolultions
- Lose 50 lbs = make better food choices: Instead of resolving to lose a certain amount of weight, un-resolve to just make better choices and the weight will naturally come off.
- Give up sugar & junk food = find new healthier things that I actually like: You don’t have to give up everything yummy! Instead, add a few healthier options into rotation! Make it fun, try new flavor combinations, new cuisines, etc.
- Stop stressing so much = develop better coping mechanisms: You will never be able to eliminate all sources of stress in your life. Instead, try to find better ways of coping, whether it’s meditating, reading, or just binge watching TV until you feel better!
- Spend more time with family = spend more time with family! This is one resolution we should all strive to keep as is!