How I Actually Stuck to my 2012 Resolutions

Good maaarrnin’ to ya! It’s been a while since I last posted and that’s simply because I have taken a total break from my computer in general. I spent about 6 days in Florida with my family and then this past weekend in the Poconos with my friends, and am finally back in NYC for New Years. It’s been extremely relaxing and rejuvenating. I’ve read, taken a lot of naps, spent really quality time with my favorite people, and haven’t really worried about a thing. I hope you have also had an amazing time over the holidays and feel ready for a new year!

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So I wanted to talk a bit about resolutions. As my friends gathered for New Years last year at a restaurant in the city, our glasses clanking and filled with plenty of champagne, we went around the table and laid out our new years resolutions. I think resolutions are funny– most people make them, few people keep them, myself included. I don’t think I have ever actually kept my intended resolutions. But in 2012, I am happy to say that I did. I approached my resolutions differently in 2012, and I figured out a way to set goals that worked for me. Although everyone is different, and goal setting is actually very personal, I thought I’d share what worked for me this past year and how I intend to set resolutions for 2013.

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My two resolutions for 2012 were simple:

1. Keep up with the news more.

2. Cook more.

I know from being in the business world that these goals break every “goal making” rule. Your goals are supposed to be specific, measurable, attainable, etc. These resolutions are none of those things. They are vague and I didn’t lay out ways to measure them, except to be further along in both areas than I was at the beginning of the year.

But this worked for me, for the first time. And I actually made HUGE strides in both of these areas.

1. News: I found several methods of incorporating more news into my life. I have several apps on my phone that I refresh before getting on the subway, putting CNN on TV is now a habit, I record a few News shows each week, I keep up with News on Twitter, I occasionally grab a paper on lazy Sat/Sun mornings just to read the news from a real newspaper, I listen to news podcasts (never did I think I would have the NPR app on my iPhone!), etc. I found little ways that worked for me, and it has hugely paid off. I feel way more knowledgable and up to date on knowing what is going on in the world.

2. Cook more: Well, that little idea turned into this blog, so I guess I followed through on that one. This blog started from my New Years Resolution and has turned into so much more.

Looking back on why these resolutions worked for the first time since I started setting and breaking resolutions so many years ago, I have come up with a few theories:

1) By making them not “measurable”, it took the pressure off. In the past, I put myself up to very specific goals that were often very ambitious, and when I didn’t meet those measures, I felt like a failure and threw it all away. In 2012, the only measure of achievement was if I made some sort of progress in each of the two areas. I didn’t say to myself “you need to read the news for a half hour every day”. That would undoubtedly have left me with days or weeks of failure. Instead, I just said “keep up with the news more”. I set myself up for success, and this made me actually WANT to keep working toward these goals and incorporating both the news and cooking into my life more and more.

2) The method by which I would attain the goals was also left unspecific. This let me figure things out as I went along. Instead of defining exactly how I would reach the goals from the get-go, I just kept these goals in the back of my mind and tried to find fun, easy ways to keep up with the news and small windows to fit in more time in my kitchen. This allowed the method of attaining the goals to change over time. It gave me flexibility which felt so much easier than sticking to a strict structure.

3) I made small moves that added up to a big change. 10 minutes of news here, picking up a paper there, a podcast while I walked in the morning, these are all small changes that added up to a big difference in my life. Similarly with cooking, I started off just blogging about once a week. It turned into much more than that once I got comfortable, but it started off really small and basic.

4) I made sure my goals really mattered to me. Being more in touch with the world and really learning how to cook were two habits I wanted to create and have for the rest of my life. These things mattered to me, and I thought long and hard about the reasons why and if they were truly things I wanted. If you don’t really want to achieve your goals, it won’t happen.

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Going into 2013, I have two new goals that I’ll be focusing on (I’ll post about these in the coming days), and I am absolutely sticking to my same method. I am going to keep them brief, focused, and without strict structure or measures. They will be a focus in my mind every day in 2013, and I’ll work toward them every day. But they won’t cause me unwanted stress, I won’t feel bound to any sort of structure and they won’t come with a heavy dose of pressure on myself. Like I said, all of this is personal, but this is what I found works best for me.

So I’d love to hear… do you make resolutions? What have you found works for you in terms of keeping them? Everyone is so different in terms of how they set and reach goals, so I’d love to hear what works for you!

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2 thoughts on “How I Actually Stuck to my 2012 Resolutions

  1. Great post, like you said keeping it simple and finding 1-2 things that matter to you most are so important –and to have healthy intentions behind each resolution.

    But because I can’t wrap my head around the concept of a year it’s too long for me so I have either 2 week or monthly goals mostly and I also try to keep it pure & simple 🙂

    Happy new year Jamie!

    • I’m also going to be doing monthly goals for myself this year but will have overarching 2013 goals too. Keeping it simple will of course still be a theme! 🙂 Happy New Year to you as welll!!

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