Resolutions, Goals and Habits

For 2019 I decided to set goals for a “happiness project”.  For accountability purposes, this article will be an update on how I did. This may also give you some ideas for helping you succeed with your goals. I wrote about my “happiness project” in the article, Goals, Resolutions and Happiness last January. If you need some ideas about how to set goals then check out that article.  

How did I do with my goals?

I am currently reviewing my list.  I set 21 goals in seven different areas for 2019.  Isn’t that too many?  It probably was, so I am not going to set that many for this next year.  I dropped three of the items from my list completely. I decided that I did not want to do one of them.  The other two were financial practices that I decided I did not need to do because my husband and I have a really good handle on our finances.  (I was a CFO for 25 years after all!)

What worked and why?

  • I successfully instituted the habit of exercising 5 or 6 days per week and plan to keep this going for the rest of my life.  
  • I read much more and have finished 99 books as of now for 2019.  
  • I got together on a more regular basis with girlfriends.
  • I was in a play, sang regularly and listened to music almost every day.  

Each of these required changing my habits in some way in order to accomplish them.  I had been doing each of these things, but not in a regular consistent way.  It was much more sporadic.  The two keys for me to accomplish these things were planning and tracking.  

Most people keep a calendar with appointments and meetings on them.  If there are things you want to do it also can be very helpful to add those to the calendar.  I started scheduling my exercise classes on my calendar.  This made it much more likely that I would go to them and not do something else.  I also added a task of calling a friend at least every other week to schedule a lunch date.  I had to plan to call or text them in advance, however, because I found that it would not happen otherwise.  

Tracking Works!

The second thing that I did was to track my reading and my exercising.  I used the website Goodreads to track my reading for the year.  At this site you can set up a page to keep track of books that you would like to read, track your reading progress, and rate and review books.  I learned of this site in 2018 when I was on a book launch team.  It is a great site to find books to read, see reviews and track your reading progress. 

For most of the year I tracked my exercise on my Fitbit. I had an Alta HR which would measure my steps and my heartrate.  I have been a klutz since childhood and never exercised on an extremely consistent basis over the years.  Because I know the many benefits to longevity, good physical and mental health to exercise, I knew that I wanted to do more on a consistent basis.  The Fitbit helped me track my exercise and this was incentive enough for me to keep going.  I got an even better way to track my exercise when I got an Apple Watch from my husband for my birthday in October. We chose this because it has an ECG monitor in it in addition to a heart monitor, steps and workout apps, among many features.  

What did not work and why? 

I had a few goals that I only partially accomplished.  One of these was to read all of the books that I had on my shelves in December 2018. Even though I read 100 books, I did not accomplish this goal.  Why?  I have a weakness for books.  Most times that we visited a thrift store or a yard sale I would purchase a book or two.  I was also able to get books free from our Amazon Prime account, or download them for free from our public library apps Hoopla and Cloud Library.  I also was able to get pre-publication digital books from NetGalley.  This website is sponsored by publishers in order to get early reviews for new books. I read and reviewed a number of books this year on NetGalley.  

There are more books available than I could possibly ever read, so I’m going to institute the one-in one-out rule for books for next year.  Even if the book is very cheap or free, I am not going to get a new one unless I have just finished an old one.  Quality over quantity is going to be my rule for reading starting next year. I read a lot of books this year but I only rated about half of them as four or five stars.  If the book is not really good, I will stop reading it. 

Tracking doesn’t work if you don’t do it! 

I also did not write as much as I wanted to this year. One reason may be that, unlike with exercise, I did not schedule my writing sessions on my calendar.  I plan to start scheduling several writing sessions a week beginning in January.  A second reason was because of lack of time.  Since I did find time to read lots of books, I plan to read fewer in 2020 and spend that found time writing instead.  

Have you set any goals or resolutions for 2020 yet?  

If you have goals that you want to accomplish in 2020 or habits that you would like to start, I highly suggest planning, writing and tracking them.  I read Atomic Habits by James Clear recently.  This bestselling book is a great how-to manual for starting good habits and eliminating bad ones.  If you find habit change difficult, I highly recommend reading this book.  

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