You Don’t Need a New Year to Reach for Your Goals

Last updated on March 10, 2024.
Black and white photograph of the beach.
Photo by Marie Cullis.

Happy New Year!

Many of us get caught up in setting New Year’s resolutions that come from good intentions but get lost in the mix of daily life. We get back to work, get the kids back in school, and the extracurricular activities pick back up. For many people, the credit card bills roll in as well, like a hangover from Christmas. Then maybe working additional hours to pay those bills adds to the inability to work toward those resolutions.

I gave up New Year’s resolutions a few years ago. I heard someone say they didn’t set New Year’s resolutions because they didn’t need a certain date to set goals, and I loved the idea so much that I immediately adopted it! If I decide I want or need to do something, I need to do it right away. I don’t want to wait for someday anymore.

“Someday is not a day of the week.” —Joshua Fields Millburn

You don’t need a new year to have a clean slate. Permit yourself to start over now. Allow yourself to start working toward your goals now. Don’t wait until next week, next month, or next year. Let your heart guide you, and live your best life now.

Black and white photograph of a tree branch with a single dead leaf.
Photo by Bea Sz. on Unsplash.

But how do you start?

Your goals should come from your heart.

What do you really want? I’m not asking what you should be doing, because we all know what we “should” be doing, right? Focus less on the things you think you should change and more on the things you love and desire for your life. What can you remove from your life that isn’t adding value?

“Don’t tie your success to the results. When you are hyper-focused on the end of the goal…you discount everything that unfolds along the way. There is great opportunity for growth and joy long before you reach the end. What’s more successful than that?” -Courtney Carver, Be More With Less

Black and white photograph of a snow covered creek.
Photo by Tono Graphy on Unsplash.

Start small.

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says that we need to start with small behaviors and habits to achieve bigger goals. New behaviors create a lifestyle change, and our outcomes come from that – not the goals themselves. Start small! He wrote, “New goals don’t deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is not an outcome, it is a process. For this reason, all of your energy should go into building better rituals, not chasing better results.”1

“Make it so easy you can’t say no.” -Leo Babauta2

Let Go of Guilt.

I’ve written this in other articles: let go of guilt. Feeling bad that you didn’t accomplish something or haven’t been putting in enough effort toward a goal won’t motivate you. It just keeps you down.

“You’re not gonna feel like doing what you have to do all the time. That’s the truth and it makes you human. Don’t beat yourself up for leaning into the lazy space now and then. Just don’t claim that space as your new identity. You have places to go and goals to crush.” -Mel Robbins3

Black and white photograph of trees growing in a lake.
Photo by Dave on Unsplash.

My non-New Year’s Resolutions

I want to continue to spend as much time with my little boy as I can. He makes me laugh and feel joy and I want to maximize this.

I plan to continue working on my health by creating individual small habits (per James Clear) centered around diet, fitness, and mindfulness.

I want to spend more time writing and I will continue my quest to find alternatives to using disposable items, plastic items, striving for zero waste, and living minimally.

I am continuing to work on building my self-confidence and I’m still learning how to say no. I’ve just downloaded Sarah Knight’s newest publication on audiobook, F*ck No!: How to Stop Saying Yes When You Can’t, You Shouldn’t, or You Just Don’t Want To. I also follow Mel Robbins on social media.

That is by no means an exhaustive list. They’re just the ones that spilled out of my heart without me thinking too hard about it. Listen to your inner voice for those – that’s where the good stuff is.

Thanks for reading, please share and subscribe!

 

Footnotes:

Film Review: “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things”

Last updated on April 29, 2023.

Minimalist space, dining room with living space and windows overlooking water in background.
Image by Jean van der Meulen from Pixabay.

How might your life be better with less? That’s the question Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus pose in this documentary. I recently rewatched it after my family went through many changes in our home: eliminating many toxic products; eliminating plastics; reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up; reducing household waste; etc. We got rid of so much stuff and had a big yard sale. We’ve been constantly reducing our material possessions, little by little, because it’s a process. I found the film inspiring!

But What is Minimalism?

I know it sounds like a trendy word, but it’s about living intentionally. It can mean different things to different people. It does not mean giving up all of your possessions, your house, your car, your boat. etc. It means becoming more aware and refocusing your life on what’s most important to you.

Here’s how The Minimalists define minimalism:

“Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”1

It’s about more than our material possessions. It’s about the over-consumptive, planned obsolescent, mass-marketed culture that we live in, and how discontent we are in our society. A “documentary about the important things” really means just that. It’s not the stuff in our lives that’s important. Check out the trailer:

Define Success and Happiness For Yourself

We live in a society that teaches us that success is defined by income and material possessions. Earn more, buy more, buy bigger. What if we all started defining success in different ways? Success and happiness can be found in many ways other than by job title, income, and house size. Let’s decide for ourselves, instead of letting society do it for us.

Maybe you want to spend more time with your children. Maybe that means you quit working 60 hours a week for a smaller salary. Perhaps you’re tired of working all the time to pay the big mortgage payment on the big house. That could mean moving into a smaller home, with a smaller mortgage, with fewer belongings; the trade-off might be having more cash for travel, spending less time cleaning the home, and less stress because your finances are less stretched. It could be any number of scenarios.

How might your life be better with less?

The word "Imagine" in the center of a mosaic tile floor, black and white.
Photo by Jeremy Beck on Unsplash.

The Environmental Impact of Minimalism

Consumerism is ruining the environment through the production and waste of so much stuff. The less we consume, the less we waste, and the less pollution. Consider just these facts, just about plastic consumption:

Globally, we produce 400 million tons of plastic waste a year. About 98% of single-use plastic products are made from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, which are also used to make petroleum products, take millions of years to form and release carbon, which is causing our planet to warm.2

Approximately 36% of all plastic produced is used to create packaging, 85% of which ends up in landfills almost as soon as we’ve opened the product.3 Read my Packaging Industry series to learn more.

Consumerism causes 60% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, which are increasing global warming. Watch the film, The Story of Stuff (linked below) to learn more. Read my article about Black Friday and how we can do things differently.

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life book cover

Minimalism Teaches Us to Live Intentionally

I highly recommend watching this film and learning how you can make your life better through a minimalist mindset. Also check out my review of their book, Everything That Remains. We all have the power to make our lives better. And we all have the power to make great changes to the environment. I’m going to strive for less stress, less waste, and more happiness. What will you do? What improvements in your own life can you make?

Feel free to leave me a comment below. As always, thanks for reading, and please share and subscribe!

 

Additional Resources:

Website, The Minimalists.

Film, The Story of Stuff, 2007.

TEDx Talk, “The Art of Letting Go, The Minimalists, July 2016.

 

Footnotes: