Our society is so often moving and doing… walking and talking… but how much of the time do we allow ourselves to quiet down to think?

As the calendar turns another page, try to take time for yourself–to be in your own thoughts–to do some of these things that can turn cliche resolutions into a new routine.

Here’s an easy and simple exercise* (no, you don’t have to get out of your chair) to approach your “fresh start” or for anytime you feel the need to re-set. I recommend grabbing a notebook or piece of paper for this.

  • Think BIG. Think about all the possible things you desire to accomplish or acquire. Write them all down, with no holding back. Do this for 3-5 minutes. Then for another minute, go through the ideas and circle 1-2 ideas that you think would most benefit your life or the ones that are the most important for you to prioritize at this moment of re-setting.
  • Plan a timeline for accomplishing that goal or desire–give yourself a deadline for each one. Then break that timeline down into tangible action steps–this may take several weeks, or even years, depending on the magnitude of the goal. The next step is crucial: start SMALL. Sometimes taking on too many actions, or too many goals, can lead us to burnout. For example, if my focus is to “be healthier this year” and I commit to: signing up for a gym membership, tackling meal prepping for the family, aiming for 8 hours of sleep, practicing meditation and drinking 60 ounces of water every day for a whole month, what might be the likelihood that I will accomplish all of those actions and still want to continue doing it for the rest of the year–or for the rest of my life? Remember that taking on small habits, with ease, will take you a long way rather than trying to do too much all at once–or all in one week or month.
  • BE CONSISTENT. Now that you have narrowed your focus on 1-2 ideas or goals, establish your key action steps and habits; it is incredibly important to be consistent with these. At first, this might mean you are repeating an action repeatedly towards your goal–maybe it is to sleep 8 hours per night–for 4 out of 7 days in a week–that’s the majority of the week! If that was achievable, you can increase your “consistency” to 5 out of 7 days a week. After all, we are only human and are bound to have mishaps towards our goals. Imperfect progress is still progress, but BE CONSISTENT.
  • Focus each week on one personal to-do and one work-related to-do. This will help give you more balance between your personal and professional goals. Whether you are a student, professional, or parent–we all could use a little more balance. Focusing in on one major to-do per week can help you complete 52 major to-do’s for the whole year** for yourself and for your work.

Keep your piece of paper somewhere where you will run into it again. Whether this is on a bulletin in your cubicle, folded up in your wallet, or hanging on the refrigerator–revisit your “THINK BIGS” and asses your consistency towards those. Don’t let this be another year of setting a resolution you are only going to forget and neglect later down the line.

Think big. Start small. Be consistent. And a Happy Fresh Start and 2018 to all!

*Exercise inspired by Passion Planner
**Cited from “Why People Fail: The 16 Obstacles to Success and How You Can Overcome Them” by Siimon Reynolds