Mini Resolutions: Small Steps Towards A Better Year

Hi guys! I’m Jessica. I write and take photos for One Simple Thing, a blog that tells my story as a mom who is learning to cook, trying to simplify, and slowing down to really enjoy life – one simple thing at a time.

So let’s talk New Year. It’s here. Can you believe it? Every January 1st, I decide I’m going to be this amazing new person who eats better, works out, calls my mom everyday, sends cute handmade birthday presents, and unplugs from technology more often. You too?

Someone recently told me that Americans keep about 8% of the resolutions we make each year. Although that didn’t surprise me, it did get me wondering about things. Why we make resolutions in the first place and what we might do to help make our resolutions a reality.

One of the ideas I toss around my head a lot is that small and simple changes, when put together,  can lead to some really big things.  So this year, I’m changing my plan and I’m starting with a resolution about resolutions. I’m going small. I’m going manageable. I’m setting mini-resolutions. 

Think large and lofty and then break that goal down into MINI-RESOLUTIONS. 

Make 2014 your healthiest year yet by setting mini resolutions you can actually stick to

My lofty resolution is to be healthier through diet, exercise, and more time unplugged from technology. My mini-resolutions for diet include things like drinking a glass of water at lunch, eating a nutritious breakfast that involves greens, cutting back on alcohol. I have lots of others, but I’m sure you get the gist.  In January, I’ll start with an additional glass of water. Simple, right? Totally doable. And I’ll start forming a habit.  When the timing is right, I’ll move on to something new.

Many of us have probably heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit.

This is actually a  myth. Habit forming is very individualized. It depends on the habit and you and your motivation to change. On average, studies show it takes about 66 days to make something habitual! Of course, my hope is that creating very small habits takes less time than that. I planned on setting new mini-resolutions each month but I’ll probably play it more by ear. I’ll start new habits when ready – even if that means it takes me a few months to get it in place.

Here are some other things to think about when setting your mini-resolutions.

  1. Focus on creating new habits rather than breaking old ones.  Action oriented resolutions. Instead of cutting out all sweets (I’m a sugar junkie), I might decide to eat a green smoothie everyday. Instead of losing ten pounds, I’ll decide to take a walk every afternoon after lunch.
  2. Congratulate yourself on your successes. It feels weird, but sometimes you just need to hear that you’re awesome. So say it. Write yourself a post-it. Put a reminder in your phone. Be your own cheerleader. Positive reinforcement will push you further. And if you don’t meet your goal one day, don’t let guilt drag you down. Forget about it and do better the next time.
  3. Try to anchor your new habit by doing it at the same time every day. It helps if you associate your new habit with an already established habit. Maybe you drink your water as soon as you brush your teeth every morning. Or take your walk immediately after eating breakfast.
  4. Keep tabs on your progress. Keep a journal. Blog about it. Document on Instagram. Whatever it takes. What ever works best for you. Share your successes and difficulties. Find support if it works for you.
  5. Accountability helps but so does self-reflection. How are you feeling about your resolutions? If you’re not feeling successful, think about your goal. Perhaps instead of waking up an hour earlier, you can wake up 30 minutes earlier. Or five minutes earlier. Start where you feel successful and if you set the bar at the wrong place, don’t be afraid to change course.

I will be documenting my mini-resolutions over on my blog if you’d like to follow along or join me. I hope you will! It’s so much more fun to make changes together.

Mini Resolutions: Simple ways to make 2014 your best year yet

May this New Year be your healthiest and happiest. And thanks to Stacy for letting me share my ideas with you. I’m so excited to be here.

Looking for more great posts by Jessica? You won’t want to miss these!

Three fantastic posts to get you started on a healthy year ahead

My January 2014 Mini Resolutions

The Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse

Asian Chicken Chopped Salad

Jessica Sliman

Since becoming a mom about four years ago, I've focused much more of my time and energy on living a simpler life, eating whole foods, and living in the present moment. I'm a work in progress :) I share my journey at One Simple Thing and would love for you to join me. When I'm not exploring my new home of Southern California with my husband and daughters, you might find me doing yoga, flipping through a cookbook, picking through the trail mix to find the chocolate chips, or reading to Olivia for the 87th time in a day.

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Comments

    • says

      Don’t make me come over there and pat you on your back lady! :) You are amazing and you should tell yourself that over and over again each day.

      • says

        It’s just not something I’ve ever even THOUGHT to do! When I land something big or get a great opportunity, I am proud of myself, but I don’t look at myself and say ‘Congrats!’

        I might make you come over just so I can see you! ;)

  1. says

    Sara,
    I don’t congratulate myself either and when I read about the concept it felt really weird. I almost felt bashful about it at first. But as I’ve reminded myself to stick with it these last few weeks, I find it works really well. I can feel a surge of confidence, especially as I start to say it with meaning :)

  2. Amanda says

    I thinking writing your goals down can be very powerful. I am finishing off my list to post in our bedroom soon. Small changes that will hopefully lead to bigger results!

  3. says

    I’m really good at doing the opposite of congratulating myself: I tend to berate myself for everything I’m not doing or that I should do better. Sigh. It never seems to end. SO, I’m taking this idea of acknowledging and congratulating myself for all of the stuff I AM doing . There’s got to be a few I can focus on, right? :) Thanks for the encouragement. I love your idea of mini-resolutions.

  4. says

    Colleen, I tend to do the same! But in the end, it’s not very beneficial for me or anyone else. It’s definitely a pattern I’m working on breaking though.

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