Habit Making After the New Year Hype

Making goals and planning them are the easiest parts of starting any new habits. The doing part, not so much, which is where my resolutions tend to fall out. It’s the end of January, the hype is over and the challenge truly begins. This year, I really wanted to change my lifestyle to a more productive, creative, positive and active one. One that focuses on making a better version of myself. However, often what happens, though, I would plan my goals at the beginning of the year promising to fulfill it. As soon as February rolls by and University starts, it is most often back to old habits – procrastination, self-loathing and negativity. The cycle repeats – missing the opportunity to move forward and try new things.

I often take my time listing goals and making them look pretty on paper – giving the excuse that it practices my hand lettering (which is usually on my goal list). I use to break down mini tasks associates with those goals into weeks, then into days. On paper, it seemed achievable, and to some it’s the perfect approach. In my reality, though, the habit becomes a task more so than a lifestyle and the fun aspect disappears.

There are also unforeseen circumstances which the plan isn’t always prepared for. This is when I tend to drop the challenge and return back to laziness, procrastination and quitting. I thought, if this was a pattern, there must be a way to break it. I decided to change my approach and mindset. This year, I simplified my goal setting.

Often goal making begins with a list of things to do similar to a bucket list. The pressure of doing them before the next new year and the disappointment when they’re not done were what makes achieving goals hard. That was certainly how I started my 2017, and my habits stayed quite the same. Instead, I began this year with how I was feeling and how I wanted to feel. I read a book by by Danielle LaPorte, The Desire Map, which I found through Marie Forleo, suggesting to focus on feeling good. Doing things that makes us feel good. I took this approach and focused all my goals that ultimately realize confidence, courage and love of self, feelings that have been burried underneath fear, guilt and shame.

Top: Found at a vegan/organic shop in Paraparaumu
Shorts: Black Pleather, with elastic back waist from Glassons
Hat: a gift from my sister to hubby

This is the ultimate goal: love myself and be courageous and confident in doing the things I want to do.

The simplicity of this approach puts one’s self and feelings first than achieving a set of numbers that often means nothing. Personally, I find this approach focuses on the deeper, meaningful reason for the change in lifestyle. I actually find I have done more towards achieving my measurable goals than the past years I have made “to do list” type of goals. Previously, for example, I would plan a certain amount of money to save for the sake of having one. While having savings is a good thing, many things suddenly become an emergency: “no lunch”, “I need a new notebook for my class”, “that fabric will never come back on sale again” and so on. When I used, what I shall call, the feelings approach, I decided I will feel courageous, confident and self-love when I add more adventures in my life. So I thought I would travel more, which requires money to spend on tickets, gas, accomodation, food and whatnots. The money saved will be used for when there is free time to travel to a decided place. By calculating my expenses and income, I found a small amount to save for the first month, see what’s left and add more if I can the next month.

Overall, not only has my savings grew in just a month, but I was able to spend less on things I don’t need, I learned to prepare meals I want to eat, and learn what money I have left, which will then be added to paying personal debts the month coming. While I haven’t really travelled anywhere yet, walking around the city, which I haven’t done in a long time, was adventure enough. Books and movies gave me adventures where I couldn’t physically. Watching travel vloggers in the Philippines allows me to see home in a new perspective. See what I’m getting at?

The feelings approach is a great ripple effect of achievements that ultimately fulfills the major goal. So if you’re thinking about making new lifestyle changes, try starting with how you want to feel this year first and find the many things that you can do to achieve it. Who knows, you might be surprised. How do you want to feel this year?

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