If you’re going into the second week of 2017 with broken resolutions, you’re not alone. A 2017 survey from the Statistics Brain Research Institute found that while 72 percent of respondents reported maintaining their New Year’s resolution through the first week, only 58 percent were able to keep it up past one month and only 44 percent past six months.
Below, ten women share how they’re making their New Year’s #goals happen this year.
01. Make Monthly Resolutions
Celine, a registered nurse, shares, “For me, having one big resolution to stretch out over the whole year means it will never happen in daily life. Setting specific and pertinent goals that are tailored to the individual month helps me to accomplish them better (i.e., setting a goal of finishing five chapters in my book by the end of the month). Life is lived day by day, not year by year, so setting small goals will help me accomplish larger ones.” Hate making New Year’s resolutions? You may want to try some SMART goals instead.
02. Start a Running Routine
Maria, cofounder of Kandid.ly, says, “One simple resolution I’m making this year is to become reacquainted with an old friend: running. One week in, I’ve already secured a running partner (who lives three houses down), downloaded the famous Couch to 5k app (because ‘couch’ is about my fitness level right now), and have three running sessions done ... despite cold weather, might I proudly add. Having run cross country and a couple of half marathons in my past, I turned up my nose to an app like this, but it’s absolutely wonderful. The app tells you when to jog, when to stop, and when to cool down. It’s pretty think-proof. Plus, I forgot just how great exercise feels!” Not sure where to begin? Check out our article on how to start a running or walking fitness routine.
03. Set Aside Time for Spiritual Self-Care
Verily’s culture editor, Mary Rose, admits, “I am not a morning person and often wake up feeling like death. But I have resolved to start my day early with uplifting and empowering spiritual reading from a book of daily readings. On day two, I added daily readings from a One-Year Bible (the kind with readings divided up into 365 nice bite-sized pieces). I know I’d like this to be a part of my daily information diet but rarely make the time. If not now, when? We shall see if it sticks, but I haven’t missed a day since! I leave it sitting out on my desk, so it’s the first thing I see in the morning, even before I look at a screen.”
04. Sleep Better
Verily’s managing editor, Megan, shares, “I’m someone who requires a lot of sleep—probably more than average. Most of my post-high-school life has been marked by totally irregular sleep schedules, often averaging five or six hours per night during the week and then binging with eleven-hour sleeps on the weekends. But I’m determined to change that. Each night of 2017, I’ve succeeded in getting eight hours. What I haven’t done so great at is making my bedtimes and waking times consistent. I’d like to really focus on syncing up my times as much as possible. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my daytime mood as a result. I feel better and so far haven’t been experiencing the dreaded afternoon slump as bad as I used to. Here’s hoping I can keep up beyond January!”
Writer and editor Lindsay admits, “I’m typing this past bedtime. I’m getting there about 50 percent of the time, but every day I’m aware of it. That renewed consciousness is causing me to rethink my routines and change my evening—and morning!—habits to yield a more lasting effect.” Need inspiration? Watch our videos for a productive morning routine and restful bedtime rituals.
05. Stop Working All the Time
“Last year I found myself going to work early, leaving late, working while at home, and even dreaming about work,” confesses Ada, a city management analyst. “I need to remember to live my life rather than have work be my life. I’m going to make a point to leave work when I’m supposed to be off and actually use my vacation time this year. Last week, I actually did pretty well! I’ve been good about leaving at 5 p.m. I always stayed late because I wanted to finish everything right away. Now I’m giving myself reasonable deadlines and know what I can put off until the next day. I’m learning to let go of doing everything.”
06. Take a ‘Little and Often’ Approach to Friendships
Verily’s special projects manager, Sophie, lives across the Atlantic from most of her family and friends. “I often feel like I need to write them an epic email or letter, updating them on my life,” she explains. “Last year, that ‘all or nothing’ approach meant that I felt very overwhelmed and didn’t keep up with my nearest and dearest as much as I would have liked. I discussed my resolution with people when I was back home in the U.K. for Christmas, and that encouraged them to take the same approach with me and to hold me accountable. I feel much more free to be in touch as and when I think of people and not feel like every interaction has to be super deep and meaningful.”
07. Limit Screen Time
Verily’s graphic designer, Emily, made a resolution “to keep my phone away from my bed so that it discourages me from looking before falling asleep. So far this week, I’ve been able to keep it on the kitchen counter three of the five days. There’s room for improvement, but it has made me more conscious of my habits.” If you fall asleep to Netflix with iPhone in hand, read these eight healthier ways to wind down before bed instead.
08. Simplify, Clean Up, and Streamline Belongings
Isabel, a project manager at UC Berkeley, shares, “Because we have a new baby on the way, it’s been really easy to purge my clothing (most of it doesn’t fit or reminds me of college anyway!), but things like wedding cards were a lot harder. I used Marie Kondo’s ‘spark joy’ technique to keep my favorite cards; for everything I was iffy about, I just took a picture of it before tossing it! To keep my resolution and not bring home more things I don’t need or will only use once, I ask myself: 1) Is this part of a bigger goal? Such as a larger suitcase for traveling with my family; 2) Is there money for it? A fragrant candle might be nice in the moment, but that’s less money for something necessary later, [such as] medicine; and 3) Does this bring me recurring usefulness, pleasure, and happiness? Another dress might be nice for an event, but it won’t be as enjoyable as a beautiful, warm coat that I can wear on a daily basis.”
09. Write in My Journal Every Day
Chemistry Ph.D. candidate Kristine is prioritizing time for daily self-reflection. “So far (with the exception of January 1), I’ve been successful! The intention behind my resolution is to carve out some ‘me time’ before bed and reflect on what was most noteworthy. I find myself feeling more appreciative of the day and am hopeful that I can keep it up the whole year.”
10. Be Less Stressed
Last year was a roller coaster for Verily’s social media manager, Emily S. “Looking ahead to 2017, I will be house hunting, preparing for marriage, planning a wedding—while continuing to strive for the ever-elusive work–life balance. My New Year’s resolution was, ‘Be less stressed.’ I decided to take this on by adding more exercise to my daily routine (thanks, Mom and Dad, for getting me a Fitbit for Christmas!) and scheduling more regular work hours. So far, I have had good days and bad days for both resolutions. What keeps me motivated is that I have been able to learn from both my mistakes and successes this week, so I can figure out how to hit my goals throughout the rest of the year.”
If you’re having a hard time getting started, here are four steps to get over the resolutions you haven’t accomplished and four steps to create a no-fail New Year’s resolutions plan. Good luck!
Photo Credit: Horn Photography