The New Year is fast approaching. And that means one thing; it's time to set our New Year's resolutions to improve on past mistakes.
But it's never that simple to keep to our resolutions - they're as sticky as water. None of us believe the other, much less ourselves, when we say "This is the year I'm going to learn French, move to France, drink espresso and talk philosophy on the streets of Paree" or "I'm going to volunteer at a dog shelter and find absolution for my sins“ or "I'm gonna get as ripped as a jackhammer and become a chick magnet, you mark my words".
The problem with resolutions is we tend to decide them at around 2:43am on the 1st of January, after our ears are dulled from fireworks and music, our body is aching from dance, and our mind is clouded in a fog of inebriation.
12 or so hours later when we finally wake up groaning, we've either completely forgotten we even made a resolution in the first place, or we're so hungover we couldn't think of anything worse than actually doing a thing this year.
But with a bit of perspective on the right resolutions to set, and a good way to plan and organize our goals (like in a bullet journal app), it's completely possible and dare I say - enjoyable - to do something amazing this year.
Read on to find out how, and for some ideas for good resolutions to set.
Setting the right Resolutions
SMART is a popular goal-setting acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
The SMART goal system will help guide you through your resolution setting. SMART is a great way to set the right type of goal by getting you to consider the following:
- Is my goal specific?
- Is it easy to measure progress?
- Are my goals achievable?
- Is it relevant to my life?
- How long do I have to achieve it?
Here are some examples of bad resolutions:
- “I want to lose weight.”
- “I want to be more organized.”
- “I want to learn a new skill.”
- “I want to start a business”
And here are the SMART version of those resolutions:
- “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next six months by exercising at least three times a week and following a healthy diet.”
- “I want to declutter my living space and create a more organized system for storing my belongings by implementing the KonMari method over the next three months.”
- “I want to learn how to play the guitar by taking weekly lessons and practicing at least 30 minutes per day for the next year.”
- “I want to start an Etsy shop selling homemade outfits for pet mice and sell 100 units a month by the end of the first quarter.” (Yeah... it's niche - but I bet you there's a market for this)
In a Bullet Journal, you could write this SMART resolution in prime place at the top of the yearly log. In our app, this is an easy to access tab, accessible in one click from the dashboard - and you can always see the incomplete count at the top to goad you into working on your resolution.
Making your resolutions fun
It all sounds well and good, but the good fellows at the society for deciding useful acronyms forgot one thing - goals ought to be enjoyable too.
Now that doesn't mean that you have to throw away your workout & meal plan (just fish and rice cakes, day in, day out), and cancel the gym altogether, it just means that you have to find ways to make it fun.
It could be as simple as listening to audiobooks while you workout - hell you could even kill two birds with one stone and listen to your french language learning podcast while getting jacked.
Or it could be that instead of going to the gym, you'll pick a sport that will at least make you look cool - like race walking, or that game where you slide rocks along ice and try to hit a target, while your thoughtful Canadian friends use brooms to make sure the path is nice and clean for the rock… Curling. That’s the one.
Basically, it's up to you to get creative. You don't have to suffer your way to the promised land. Refer to your inner hippy: "life's about the journey, not the destination... man."
Here’s some examples:
“I want to lose 10 pounds in the next six months by exercising at least three times a week and following a healthy diet.”
- Find an exercise that you enjoy, like dancing, hiking, or playing a team sport.
- Invite a friend to join you in your workouts.
- Set up a playlist of your favorite music or podcasts to listen to while you exercise.
“I want to declutter my living space and create a more organized system for storing my belongings by implementing the KonMari method over the next three months.”
- Use colorful storage bins or baskets to make it look the way you like.
- Turn decluttering into a creative outlet by finding creative ways to repurpose items that you no longer need.
- Reward yourself for making progress on your organization goals, like cluttering your room with some new furniture.
“I want to learn how to play the guitar by taking weekly lessons and practicing at least 30 minutes per day for the next year.”
- Find a teacher who is passionate about the kind of music you like, and who can make learning the guitar fun and engaging.
- Practice playing along to your favorite songs.
- Consider going to a gig or music festival as a reward for meeting your long-term goal.
“I want to start an Etsy shop selling homemade cosplay outfits for pet mice and sell 100 units a month by the end of the first quarter.”
- Collaborate with friends or other creative people to come up with new product ideas and to support each other in your business endeavors.
- Treating yourself to a new tool or supply for your business.
Use the description section in your new years resolution to write some ideas about things you could do to make your new years resolution more fun.
Breaking your resolution into small, manageable pieces
Now that you have a SMART, Fun resolution (SMFART? Yeah that'll stick! Or be sticky. Editor's note: Apologies, we hired a man-child to write this article) , it's going to do you no good just sitting there to be completed by the end of the year. Life will get in the way, and you'll put it off as you always do until it's 2:42 on 1st January a year from now and it's time to come up with your next one.
You have to bring it forward and make it seem more approachable. If you’re going to become a handmade pet mouse costume magnate, you have to start from somewhere. So what’s the minimum you need to do to start selling? You need one mouse costume and an Etsy shop. That’s it! Once you’ve sold one mouse costume online - you’ve got yourself a business. You can worry about scale later.
By breaking your goal down into manageable pieces, you reduce the fear of failure, and the sense of overwhelm.
Use subtasks in your Bullet Journal app to break down your resolutions into smaller pieces.
You can use Bullet to set any subtasks to repeat on a daily, weekly, monthly basis if it suits you.
Do the minimum possible thing you can do this week
The absolute, number one most important thing to do to get towards your goal is to take your first step.
Choose the simplest possible thing you can do right now that feels like a step in the right direction. It doesn't even have to be a step in the right direction. You just need a small win.
If your goal is weight loss - find your nearest gym. It doesn't even have to be a great gym, really make it as simple as possible. Now go to it and do the easiest exercise you can imagine. Go on the gym bike machine (what's it called again? I don't know, I don't go to the gym) for 10 minutes. How did 10 minutes feel? Not too bad? No harm in staying longer. Now go home and reward yourself with a giant slice of chocolate fudge cake (maybe don't do this).
Well done, you've taken your first step!
And you learned a few things along the way - that yes, your nearest crummy 3.5 star rated gym has old equipment, but the receptionist was really supportive and you liked it after all, that 10 minutes of cycling really a took no time at all and still made you sweat (progress!), and that actually... you can bloody well do this.
The important thing is that if you find yourself overanalyzing, stop yourself. The details will come later over time, but by starting you've begun that learning process in a more natural way.
Tracking and managing your New Year's resolution in a Bullet Journal
So now that you've analyzed your goals, thought of ways to make it fun, broken them down and taken your first step, I'll show you why a Bullet Journal app is a great way to manage your goal.
Bullet lets you write down your tasks, notes and events all in one place. It also lets you schedule entries for a week, month or year timeframe - perfect for new years resolutions! You can break your tasks down into smaller subtasks and then schedule each of those individually to whenever you like, just as flexibly as the main goal.
It has a simple, minimal interface, so it doesn't get in the way.
Getting started is simple:
- Get started here https://journal.bulletjournal.app/
- Create your first resolution by navigating to the year tab and adding a task there
- Break your resolution down into small pieces by adding subtasks.
- Add your first minimum task for the current week.
- Complete them one by one, making a nice “aaaaah” sound out loud in satisfaction
If any parts of your resolution require repetition, you can add a repeating task - e.g. a task that repeats on Monday, Wednesday and Friday telling you to go to the gym.
You can also use notes to collect information about your resolution, or to journal about your progress.
New Year's Resolution Ideas for your Bullet Journal for 2023
We promised to give you New Year's resolution ideas for 2023, and we've given each one an example SMART goal underneath.
Health & Fitness Resolutions
- Exercise more often and improve your physical health. e.g. "I want to run a 5K in under 25 minutes by training three times a week and following a running plan for the next six months."
- Eat a healthier diet and improve your nutrition. e.g. "I want to reduce my daily sugar intake to under 25 grams by following a healthy eating plan and tracking my food intake with a nutrition app for the next three months."
- Quit a bad habit, such as smoking or excessive drinking. e.g. "I want to quit smoking by using nicotine gum and attending support group meetings for the next six months."
- Spend more quality time with friends and family. e.g. "I want to spend at least one hour per week doing activities with my family by planning and scheduling outings or activities in advance for the next year."
- Get more sleep e.g. "I want to improve my sleep quality by implementing a bedtime routine and establishing a consistent sleep schedule for the next three months."
- Volunteer your time and give back to your community. e.g. "I want to volunteer at least once a month at a local charity by signing up for shifts and committing to a regular schedule for the next year."
- Practice mindfulness and cultivate a sense of inner peace. e.g. "I want to practice mindfulness meditation for at least 10 minutes per day by using a guided meditation app and setting aside dedicated time for meditation for the next three months."
Personal Growth Resolutions
- Read more books and improve your knowledge and understanding of the world. e.g. "I want to read one book per month and expand my knowledge and understanding of the world by joining a book club and setting aside dedicated time for reading for the next year."
- Travel to new places and experience new cultures. e.g. "I want to travel to at least one new place per year and experience new cultures by saving money, researching destinations, and planning trips in advance for the next five years."
- Learn a new skill or hobby, such as a language, instrument, or sport. e.g. "I want to learn how to play the piano by taking weekly lessons and practicing at least 30 minutes per day for the next year."
- Use a Bullet Journal app daily 😉 e.g. "I want to use a Bullet Journal app daily to track my tasks and goals by setting a reminder to review and do some journaling at the same time every day for the next six months."
- Declutter your living space and create a more organized system for storing your belongings. e.g. "I want to declutter my living space and create a more organized system for storing my belongings by implementing the KonMari method over the next three months."
- Use productivity tools and techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique or time blocking. e.g. "I want to increase my productivity by using the Pomodoro Technique to break my work into 25-minute blocks with 5-minute breaks in between for the next month."
- Invest in your future by saving for retirement or building an emergency fund. e.g. "I want to save $10,000 for retirement by increasing my contributions to my 401(k) and cutting expenses for the next three years."
- Save more money by cutting expenses and increasing your income. e.g. "I want to save an additional $500 per month by creating a budget, cutting unnecessary expenses, and seeking out ways to increase my income for the next year."
- Set a budget and track your spending to improve your financial stability. e.g. "I want to improve my financial stability by creating and sticking to a budget that allows me to save at least 10% of my income each month for the next year"
Using a Bullet Journal app can be an effective tool for setting and achieving your New Year’s resolutions. By using the SMART goal system and breaking your goals down into small, manageable pieces, you can track your progress and stay on track towards achieving your goals.
Whether you are looking to improve your health and fitness, boost your productivity, learn new skills, or make positive changes in your personal or financial life, a Bullet Journal can help you stay organized and motivated as you work towards your resolutions.
By setting clear, actionable goals and tracking your progress, you can make meaningful and lasting changes in the New Year and achieve success in your endeavors.