You’re three weeks into 2020. It’s a brand new year, a new decade, a new…you? Out of the resolutions did you make 21 days ago, how many have you kept? If you haven’t taken another look at that note on your phone with your resolutions since January 1st, don’t beat yourself up. There’s a way to return to it, and turn those “I wills” into “I ams.”
The trick to forming new, long term habits is by setting the bar so low you can’t not do it. For example, if your resolution is to read one book a month, or aim to read for 1-2 hours before bed, don’t try to plan chunks of time in your calendar or cancel on plans to get ahead a few chapters. Instead, start by reading one page a night. One page! One page can be one minute, an effort so small that it seems silly if you don’t do it. If your resolution is to cook all your work lunches at home (to save money, or just start knowing what is in your food), start by buying the ingredients and arrange them on the counter so they’re easy to access, or being your journey to meal prepping just by making an easy side, like rice, which is almost as simple as it gets.
The same goes for work goals. Set the bar low, only to exceed it and take everything one step further. Is your resolution to expand your group of peers at work? To network within your own company? Start 2020 by inviting just one person for coffee, once in the month. Fifteen minutes to rack their mind, ask them questions, and make a connection out of 31 days isn’t a terrible time commitment. It just takes a calendar invite or e-mail to get it scheduled, and a shot of caffeine. If you want to learn a new skill or talent that is related to your department, don’t just pay lots of money for a class online or after work. Subscribe to one newsletter or blog that you will actually read, and dedicate 5 minutes a week to read what they send out to see that it still interests you. Copy and paste the interesting bits to your notes or a doc. This is so simple and can be done while waiting in line for a coffee, during your morning commute, or while you walk the dog (just look both ways before crossing the street). If you find you like what you learn, then you’ll find yourself doing this more often, and making new strides automatically to learn more and eventually sign up for that class.
New Year’s Resolutions are not overrated. They just have to be measurable, and you need to start extremely small so you can build up to crossing it off your list come 2021.