Is Today The Day To Ditch Your Resolution?
It's Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day. As daysoftheyear.com puts it, it's a day to,
"Rejoice in your new found freedom from torturous diets and horrible exercise regimes, pick up that pack of smokes and down another glass of wine. Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day sets you free from your first mistakes of the New Year!"
That's not a path to long-term success, but a resignation to never fulfilling dreams to merely acceptance of a sub-par status quo rather than working towards a life of contentment.
A resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something.
So if we were to drop the semantic nonsense around New Year's Resolutions, we'd realize it's not the resolutions we need to ditch; we need to escape the mindset that resolutions are the master key to living a life of passion and purpose.
Behind most, if not all, of the most successful individuals and organizations in the world, there's a goal or vision for success supported by measurable actions, repeatable patterns and good habits.
It's why so many obsess with knowing the daily habits of celebrities and billionaires. Even though we like to attribute it to life circumstances or dumb luck, more often than not, it's patterns of behaviour that lead to their ability to capitalize on opportunities that could lead to success.
By taking advantage of the end-of-year reflection & goal-setting guide provided in Ana McRae's Ultimate Life Audit outline, we've undertaken our first life audit in what we hope to make an annual habit.
Now, rather than aimlessly adding good habits in hopes of contributing to future goals, we're treating our family like an organization with grand ambitions in need of a constantly reviewed structure of productive habits.
What ultimately revealed itself through our first life audit was that it was not time to ditch our new years' resolutions altogether. Instead we found that it's time to reflect on our life pursuits and the habits we're practicing if we ever want to make them attainable.
There were many great questions in Mcrae's guide, but the ones that resonated with us and shifted our perspective for the better were asking us to reflect on our bucket list and 5-10 year plans.
In hindsight, we could be much further ahead if we had started this process a decade ago rather than having our journey clouded by tunnel vision.
We can't change the past. We can reflect on it, but get nowhere by dwelling on it. We could abandon our "first mistakes of the New Year" and wander through life, hoping to stumble onto a few short, clear paths forward.
Or we can live for the future by taking the next right step on our journey and reviewing our course to ensure we stay on track when obstacles and issues make navigation challenging.
What is our next right step?
The first step is planning out the goals of our habits.
While some of our future goals and habits will be subjective to the season of life we're in, the foundational ones we're starting with this quarter are timeless because of their importance.
Prioritizing our family
Eating right and exercising
Setting and staying on budget
At first glance, these next right steps seem like classic New Year's Resolutions.
That may be why New Year's Resolutions are so popular.
Realistically, resolution executed properly forms the foundation of habit change.
The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is a problem.
It is resolutions made in haste, without follow-through, that are destined to fail.
Let's break these resolution statements into goals and habits to support our long-term vision.
It starts with setting SMART goals.
Our first goal is to prioritize our family. It is a lofty resolution but a manageable plan when our habits align.
We're starting this quarter by reintroducing and maintaining weekly marriage/family meetings to ensure the needs of KCC don't grow out of control, overshadowing our family.
Have you heard of family or marriage meetings? We learned of the idea during a marriage conference we went to for our anniversary last year. We recommend Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You've Always Wanted by Marcia Naomi Berger.
It's habitually setting aside time to discuss the needs, concerns and coming schedule for marriage and family. When it was part of our routine, it helped to significantly manage essential aspects of our life we used to take for granted.
Our second goal is to eat right and exercise — a cliche new years resolution, to be sure.
However, it's the next step in caring for ourselves and our family. We'll start by getting back into the habit of tracking our daily intake and minimum output aiming for 10,000 steps a day and routine weekly weight training. It will also become an item of discussion for our weekly meetings to refocus our efforts if things go off track.
These habits have worked at times but were frequently overshadowed by other priorities, highlighting the need for us to address our pattern of bad habits as a whole.
Our final goal for this quarter is to get on a budget.
We aim to be 100% debt free aside from our home loan within the next five years while putting aside savings to execute our goals and travel plans. To do that, we must create a budget and stick to it.
Once again, it feels like a tired trope, but that's because the reality is life is a struggle, and the marketing culture we live in is structured to psychologically break us down to make purchases we don't need.
Now that we're finally both serving the needs of the business and not tied to other employment sources, it's vital that we fully and categorically understand and define the full scope of the needs of our own family.
We must learn to design a comprehensive budget based on our income with retirement, dream and emergency savings and a debt repayment focus tracked weekly to ensure any of our remaining frivolous spending habits are a thing of the past.
We can no longer exist on an essential-only budget where every emergency spend knocks us on our heels.
To do this, we will work on our current budget by the end of the month by reviewing the last year and then check in on our spending weekly during our weekly family meeting.
All these habits work in tandem and require us to break and replace habits of frivolity.
Prioritizing our family requires us to be intentional about our rest and addressing our schedule.
Prioritizing our health and living a healthy lifestyle requires us to be mindful of hitting the snooze button on our exercise windows and consuming frivolous calories.
And finally, getting our budget on track for our goals will only be possible when we're fully aware of the intricacies of our finances and eliminate frivolous spending.
As Mcrae put it,
A life audit forces you to be intentional with how you're spending your time, money, and energy so that they can contribute to your personal fulfillment and success.
Because when it comes down to it, breaking old habits is just as important to seeing through resolutions as making new ones.