The Planner That Helped Me Make and Keep 32 Resolutions in One Year + Free Printable
The New Year Resolution Graveyard
Every year I get really pumped about January 1st- I don’t know what it is, but the inspirational juices really flow through me as each year comes to a close, and the vision of making a meaningful change and becoming a better version of myself gets clearer with each day I cross off in my calendar.
A new planner, new set of resolutions– ahh, New Years Day is like a breath of fresh air for me. Which is why I’m always left disappointed and stumped when come February, I’ve already fallen off the bandwagon.
Now I know I’m not the only one– there’s a whole graveyard of forgotten new year resolutions out there, since appearently 80% of them fail. In fact, there’s a good chance YOU know EXACTLY what I’m talking about!
So how come? Well, I didn’t realize it then, but by making a couple of simple changes to my planner I was able to make and keep not one, but 32 New Years Resolutions.
Yes, 32. You read that right, and the 3 is not an accident! Don’t worry, I’m going to tell you exactly how I did it, and give you the planning pages I used FOR FREE. Keep reading!
Why 32 Resolutions Are Easier to Stick to Than One
The problem with New Year resolutions is that we have the whole year to accomplish one or two things.
If you had a whole year to complete an assignment, would you start on it right away? If you’re like me, yes… but chances are it would be left unfinished, abandoned in a corner somewhere while you munch on some popcorn and watch Netflix. Which as a matter of fact is exactly how my “weight loss” resolution use to end each year…
When we have planned only a couple of things over a large span of time, we set ourselves up to procrastinate. Our motivation wears off as the months pass, and by the time we approach our “deadline”, instead of taking action we just start planning for next year.
What I realize now is that you have to strike while the iron is hot. Give yourself more to do in a shorter amount of time, and you’ll be surprised how much you can actually accomplish.
Last year, I didn’t make a New Year Resolution. Instead, I chose an area of my life to focus on each month of the year, and planned three resolutions for each focus area. By the end of the year, not only did I “stick” to all 32 resolutions, my resolutions have become habits that I have ingrained in me to this day.
The Monthly Resolution Strategy and Planner
If you know me, you know I love planning. My first year deciding to do this, I was very motivated to start a new planner and brainstorm all my focus areas and resolutions, but to my surprise– I couldn’t find one that was quite right. I need a planner that:
1. Would have a dedicated area for my monthly focus and 3 resolutions
2. Would include a calendar so I can co-ordinate those resolutions with other events that month, and
3. looked pretty. Because that’s what motivates me to use it…
So I created my own. And this became the planner that helped me keep all 32 resolutions- if you’re interested, you can download the PDF copy for free. Enjoy! Below is how to set it up.
Step 1: Choose Your Focus
Ok, so you’re ready to get started- great! Step 1 is going to be choosing your focus of each month.
Your focus area is any part of your life you want to change, improve, or grow. It can be something physical like weight loss or skin care, or something emotional like your relationship with the kids or your spouse.
A couple of tips before you get started:
- Your focus can be kept general. We’ll get in to specifics when we create our resolutions, for now just jot down the first general thing that pops in to your head.
- Look at the calendar first. You may not want to focus on “weight loss” in December, or when you have a three week vacation planned…
- You can plan the entire year at once, but you don’t have to. Maybe you only have three or four areas of focus that you would like to see improve- that’s OK! If you think of more as the year progresses, you can add them in later
- You can repeat a focus. We can focus on an area for two or three months of the year, because our resolutions are what will make or break or progress, and those can evolve and change.
Examples of different areas of focus
If you’re still stuck and not sure what to focus on, below are the focus areas I’ve chosen for myself in the past. You can also see them jotted in the planner above:
January: Eat better
February: Work out
March: Be a better mom
April: Be a better wife
May: Lose Weight
June: Improve job performance
September: Take better care of my skin
October: Improve running performance
November: Grow Blog
December: Create Holiday Spirit
You can also focus on things like: spending more time with family, cooking better meals, giving up smoking, learning to do X, plan better. So many options!
TIP: You can use the Monthly Focus Planner sheet to brainstorm or see an yearly view of your focus areas.
Step 2: Choose Your Resolutions
Now that you’ve decided on your areas of focus, it’s time to choose our resolutions for each area.
- Your resolutions are the actions you will take to accomplish the area of change, improvement or growth you’ve chosen for that month. If kept simple, these will become habits that will follow you for the rest of the year (or life!)- after all, anything you do daily for 30 or so days is bound to stick!
- A couple of tips here:
- Make them specific. Here is where you really want to think about what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it etc.
- Choose a couple. I find 3 is the sweet spot- enough that it gives you something to work at and track, and not so many that you get overwhelmed or can’t keep track.
- They can be reoccurring or just one time events. For example, in August I had organizing as my focus. One of my resolutions that month was “organize closet” which I did just once (and made sure to schedule in my planner!). I also had “follow one touch rule” (put an item down in its proper place right away) which was something I did multiple times a day.
Examples of different areas of focus
Below are some of my resolutions based on the focus areas I chose for myself last year. You can use the monthly calendar planning sheets to plan these out. For any big one time events, make sure to jot them down in the calendar so they get done!
Closing Thoughts, and What I’ve Learned
This way of planning has really changed the course of my life. I can honestly walk in to a New Year feeling like a better person- I really hope it helps you in the same way it has changed me! I’d love to hear from you if you do decide to give it a try.
Just a couple of closing thoughts and takeaways I have, now that I’ve taken this approach for the past couple of years:
A lot of my resolutions have stuck. This surprised me, since initially I promised myself I would only hold myself accountable to the resolutions for their dedicated month, and wouldn’t pressure myself to continue with them if I didn’t want to. Well, to my surprise- I have continued on with most of them. By focusing on them almost daily for a month, I had unknowingly turned a lot of my monthly resolutions in to life habits. Bonus!
I didn’t like some of my resolutions, so I ditched them when the month was done. I had planned to do some things that in the end, just didn’t suit our family lifestyle. For example, “no junk food in the house Monday-Thursday” just lead to Sunday night binging. Glad that wasn’t my only resolution that year…
Completing a month of resolutions gives you momentum. As the months go on, I find I gain more and more momentum, the more I accomplish.
You have to be flexible. After planning my entire 2018, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. At the end of January. Things change and you have to adapt– the beauty of it is, every month is a fresh start.
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