With the end of the year approaching, there seems to be something enticing about pressing a metaphorical “reset” button and starting fresh. Maybe we’re unhappy with something in our lives and want to fix it. Or maybe we truly desire something. Whatever it is, the New Year is a great opportunity to improve, add to your story, or gain new experiences. But picking a resolution can also be daunting…
And most resolutions don’t even last. They’re typically generic – resolutions like “lose x pounds” “travel more” “be healthier” “save money” or “eat less sugar.” But there’s no motivation to accomplish these things because they are vague, unrealistic, or overwhelming.
Let me propose something different for this year: Instead of one resolution for the whole year, why not commit to smaller, more realistic resolutions each month? Maybe they’re focused around a particular theme such as health, travel, community, or self-improvement. Or maybe it’s a combination of several things because you have multiple avenues of interest.
Here’s how it works:
You pick 12 “mini resolutions” that you want to accomplish for each month. They should be fun, specific, and something you can do within a 30 day time limit. Best way tip to keep your resolutions? Document them – in your planner, schedule it into your Google calendar (e.g. the first day of the month), or even on a piece of paper hanging in your closet. Just make sure that you will see it regularly and feel excited for the new resolution each month.
Think of how badass you will feel at the end of 2019 when you get to say that you accomplished TWELVE new year’s resolutions. (Most people can’t even remember the one that they made). And if monthly resolutions sounds unappealing, then just pick one, but keep it simple and specific.
If you’re committed to personal growth, crave adventure, or just want a healthier and more active 2019, try building out your monthly list focused on what you want to get out of the year. I’ve included my personal monthly resolution list below. Feel free to use it exactly as-is, reorder it, adapt it, or completely put together your own. It’s your year, how do you want to live it?
My Personal Monthly Resolution List:
January – Visit somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit.
I know I’m already abroad so this is pretty much already set up (but better to set yourself up with a guaranteed win!) Exploring Angkor Wat in Cambodia has always been high on my list and I’m so excited to live out my Lara Croft fantasy with a million other tourists shoving selfie sticks in my face and me sweating on them. But the “somewhere” doesn’t have to be an exotic location,
February – Read a book with a friend or a group.
I love reading, but miss having discussions with people who also just read the book like I did in college. I also miss my best friends that I don’t get to see often because they live far away from me. Having a “book club” with a friend sounds like the perfect way to stay connected with them and motivated to read a book to completion (I can get distracted sometimes).
March – Cook a new dish with a friend or family member.
My roommates make fun of me for being a two-dish wonder because I make only a couple meals and can eat them repeatedly without getting bored. This month, I want to challenge myself to learn a new recipe with someone and add to my repertoire of dishes.
April – Shop at a local market.
Checking out a farmer’s market is not only a great way to support local farmers, but also the best way to ensure that you’re eating quality produce that’s in season. While it can get expensive doing this every week or buying every single grocery item there, I plan on going at least once this month with the intention of learning more about where my food comes from. Farmers are usually excited to educate consumers and you’ll likely walk away learning about a new fruit or vegetable that you’ve never even heard of. This also doubles as a great activity to do while traveling!
May – Treat yourself to something relaxing.
Life is stressful and it seems like we’re more on edge than ever with less time and increasing demands. Given that this is my birthday month, I want to treat myself to something that will totally bliss me out. Maybe a nice massage, a night unplugged from my phone, or even a leisurely beach hike? Maybe all of them! Most importantly, I don’t want anyone to feel guilty about treating themselves, whatever you have going on can wait for an hour to truly decompress.
June – Sleep outside in nature.
Camping, glamping, sleeping outside in your backyard…any of these count! Whatever gets you breathing fresh air for a night or two and fully immersed in “forest bathing.” According to Japanese research, trees release compounds called phytoncides, which provide many benefits such as enhanced immunity, reduced blood pressure, better mood, and increased ability to focus. Last June, I had to turn around from hiking Half Dome in Yosemite because of a bad Achille’s injury so maybe this year I’ll come back to complete some unfinished business?
July – Try a new class.
This doesn’t have to be fitness related (although I always encourage it), but the point is to push you out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and build new neural connections in the brain by trying something new. Whether it’s an intro to yoga, kickboxing, salsa dancing, or even trapeze flying class, there’s plenty of options by searching through deal sites like Groupon or doing a trial at a local gym/studio. I tend to get fixed on a routine at the gym, so I chose this to force me to try either a new class or even branch out into a different studio.
August – Swim in the ocean (or lake)
There’s something about jumping into natural water that makes you feel connected to the earth. Even though I live near the water, I rarely went inside because either the water was too cold (hi, San Francisco) or I didn’t want to get my hair wet or I didn’t feel like making the drive. These are all excuses and I want to be better about making time to connect with nature and feeling the cold, salt water on my skin.
September: Do an epic hike
What I love about this one is that the word “epic” is defined differently for everyone. Maybe epic to you means it includes a waterfall, a desert, or is in a Peruvian jungle! (If you’re planning on hiking to Machu Picchu though, check out my complete guide here.) For me, epic means something that takes my breath away – whether its by the trail’s beauty or the intensity of the hike, or both!
October: Make a fire playlist that will get you moving – I’m always curating playlists for my classes, but sometimes I need something that’s just for me. I keep everything public on Spotify for anyone to follow. Seriously, if you need upbeat workout music, follow me on Spotify here. This month, I want to create something that isn’t just set to a BPM (beats per minute) for teaching, but rather a playlist that makes me feel good and excited for whatever I’m doing. Music is one of my favorite forms of creative expression, so hopefully this inspires you to create your own too!
November – See a live show.
This month typically gets stressful because the holidays are approaching, the year is ending, and weather is beginning to get cold. I find myself less energized and motivated to go outside and do things. So this month, I’m committing to going to a concert or live performance of some kind. This is a great activity to do with friends before people head home for Thanksgiving and beat the winter blues.
December – Invest in your sleep
We spend about 30% of our lives sleeping, but are those sleeping hours optimized to the highest quality? This doesn’t have to be a big investment like a new mattress
(but if you’re looking for one, I’ve had 5 different friends ask me where I got mine after sleeping on it and they were shocked that I spent under $300 for such a comfortable mattress). Whatever will help you get the restorative sleep your body deserves counts. My personal favorites are black out curtains, essential oil diffuser, new sheets, and fluffy pillows.