Taking Stock of My New Year's Resolutions 9 Months In
Earlier this week I pulled my journal from the drawer by my bed. I knew it had been a while since my last "Dear Diary," but I was floored when I saw the last time I wrote in there was literally January. Yikes!
In my last entry, I'd announced to my journal that I was pregnant. (Fitting that I was just now revisiting my journal days before my due date.)
A couple entries before that, I'd written my New Year's resolutions. I decided to look them over (since, unsurprisingly, I'd forgotten what most of them were).
I was pleased to see that in nine months, I'd made progress on a few of my goals! And then there were some where I could claim exactly zero progress. Oops. I started to get discouraged, thinking, Well, it's September now. If I haven't worked on those resolutions by now, there's no point in trying. But then I stopped myself. That's no attitude to have!
Yes, the last four months of each year may tend to fly by in a blur of pumpkins and Christmas trees, but they're still four whole months. And it's never too late to start working on a goal!
So I decided to track my progress on each of my resolutions, and recommit to the ones I hadn't started working on yet. And I'm challenging you to do the same!
Here are some ground rules to follow when tracking your progress.
1. Give Yourself Some Grace — and Credit!
Maybe you haven't followed one of your resolutions to a tee, but you made some progress during the year. Give yourself credit for that!
Personal example: One of my goals for 2018 was to read two books a month — one via Audible, and one in print. Here's how I tracked my progress in my journal this week:
Not sure if it's been exactly 2/mo, but I have been reading a lot of both print and audio! I've also gotten into reading and reviewing books for The Stream.
So no, I haven't religiously followed the 2-books-a-month ideal I set for myself at the beginning of the year. But just having that goal put me on a trajectory to read more, which I have been doing successfully. So I count it as a win! And now I'm doubly encouraged to continue reading for the rest of the year.
2. Recognize Where God is Working in Your Life
It's become quite obvious to me over the years that God listens when I make my New Year's resolutions. Often I'll write down a goal related to spiritual growth, forget about it, and then revisit it at the end of the year to realize that God was working on me in that area all year.
Personal example: In January, one of my resolutions was simply, "Be selfless." Here's what I wrote this week as I evaluated my progress:
Hmm ... I wouldn't say this has been a success. I will say that God has exposed some areas where I've been really selfish, especially with my husband. So I guess you could say it's a work in progress. And God is helping me along.
I didn't mark this one as a success because I clearly haven't achieved selflessness. But what I realized is that some of the more unpleasant things I've recently learned about myself have been God's way of pointing out to me how non-selfless I truly am. It's as if my goal to be selfless in 2018 was a prayer I didn't realize I prayed. And God is answering it, one humbling lesson at a time.
So think about your year so far. Is there something God has been teaching you? Some painful lesson he keeps bringing you back to? Some sin in your life that he has exposed? It may just be that he listened in when you said you wanted to improve your life in that area ... and he's helping you do just that. If so, don't get discouraged! Recognize it for what it is: a necessary part spiritual growth.
3. Reprioritize Your Resolutions, Then Let Some Things Go
Let's be real. No matter how committed we are to our New Year's resolutions, some things just don't happen. And that's okay.
Personal example: I've been working on a novel for a few years now. I've made good but slow progress, having repeatedly procrastinated. I told myself that in 2018, I would a) finish the first draft, b) edit the manuscript, and c) send queries out to agents and publishers.
None of that has happened.
I still have time to finish the first draft before the end of the year if I work extra hard. So I'm sticking to that goal! But at this point, with a baby just days away, I know there's no possible way I can accomplish all three of those goals. So I'm not going to worry about getting my first draft edited or querying it out to agents/publishers. I'll worry about that next year.
New Year's resolutions are meant to give us the inspiration and accountability we need to achieve our goals in life. They're not meant to box us in. So if you're looking at that list you made at the beginning of the year and feeling overwhelmed, reprioritize.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when reprioritizing:
What on your list have you already made progress on? Don't ruin the momentum! Stay focused on that resolution for the rest of the year.
What on your list have you not accomplished yet, but seems reasonable? Go for it! Remember, it's never too late to get started! And you'll feel great about yourself come December.
What on your list is burdening you more than inspiring you at this point in the year? Let it go — not for good, just for now. And don't feel bad about it. If you drive yourself mad trying to accomplish every single goal when it's unrealistic, are you really growing, or just checking boxes?
Let's Do This!
I won't bore you with my entire list of resolutions (I tend to get a little goal happy each new year), but here are a few things I told myself I'd do in 2018 that I am still determined to accomplish!
1. Work out
I pretty much failed at this for most of the year, but that doesn't mean I have to fail for the rest of it! And what better motivation to get moving than having baby weight to lose? #realtalk
2. Journal more consistently
Well, skipping nine whole months of journaling to start the year off isn't great, I'll admit. But since I grabbed my journal earlier this week, I've been writing in it every night. And I'm determined to keep doing so. Especially with a new baby. I don't want to forget all those precious moments!
3. Visit an art museum
I had totally forgotten about this goal, but it's so doable I'd be crazy not to check it off my list! I'm now looking forward to a trip to an art museum sometime during the upcoming holiday season.
What were your resolutions for 2018? Don't give up on them!