Can’t Decide on a New Year’s Resolution? Make 12 Micro-Resolutions Instead

Photo by Jens Lindner on Unsplash

There’s a reason traditional New Year’s resolutions don’t stick. If you’re making one, big, fat, vague resolution to adhere to for an entire year, you’re going to wind up disappointed and frustrated, and will most likely give up (or forget) the personal promise you made to yourself by February.

Why does this happen? When you make loose resolutions like eating better and working out, you end up failing because you aren’t being specific enough. It’s hard to have self-control over something when you aren’t exactly sure what that something is.

Behold the Micro-Resolution trend for keeping your next 12 months ahead fun, fulfilling and productive — by making one small, attainable goal for each month of 2020.

January

The kickoff month to a new year is always exhilarating. We’re pumped up about the goals we’ve set for ourselves and are ready to rid bad habits.

Choose something simple to ease into the New Year that you know you can achieve to avoid feelings of overwhelm.

I’m going to dedicate the month of January to writing 4 posts per week instead of my usual 2. It’s an upgrade to my current writing routine, and will benefit both myself (becoming a more disciplined writer) and my readers (quickly finding out what content they do and don’t like).

By having a specific weekly goal in mind, I’ll be better equipped to follow through with it. Especially because this is the only thing I need to strive for for 31 days.

Other micro-resolution ideas for January: Cutting out bread, nixing candy, dedicating Saturdays to spending time with family, working out 3x per week sans excuses, and waking up 30 minutes earlier during the week.

February

Because the need to feel like you have to do something has a certain nagging aspect to it, I’m going to dedicate February (the short month!) to something fun — dressing up every day.

It’s easy to fall into the comfort of leggings and oversize sweaters in the winter months, and is distinctly the case for freelancers who work from home, coffee shops and libraries, not having to worry about impressing people in the offline world.

So, I’m allowing myself one grace day (Sundays) to bask in the comfort that is athleisure/loungewear. All other days will be devoted to denim, nice tops, blazers, kimonos, heels, mules, shirt-dresses and the like.

I have a strong inkling this experiment in February is going to make me a happier person who just may end up sticking to the dress-up habit all year long.

Other micro-resolution ideas for February: Reading books instead of watching TV, getting outside for at least 20 minutes every day, going to bed 1 hour earlier every night, trying out a meal-kit service, and wearing a new lipstick color at the start of each week.

Photo by Mihai Stefan on Unsplash

March

March is the month where I really start getting irritated with the cold weather. It’s the month where we feel like Spring is on the horizon, but we know that isn’t happening until mid-April.

So, to keep my mind distracted during the freezing cold days we will experience, I’m going to dedicate this month to finishing my book that has been an on again/off again work-in-progress for well over a year now.

And because I know I work best in batches, I’m going to narrow this goal down further by writing/reworking 2 chapters per week to completion. To carry that out successfully, I know I’ll have to wake up at 4 am most days of the week.

As a bonus (serving both myself and my work), I’m going to book a solo trip someplace warm to recharge, reset and finalize the details of my book in order to confidently hand over to my editor before the month’s end.

Other micro-resolution ideas for March: Take an online learning course to improve your skillset, commit to a completely different workout, drink your morning coffee black without sugars or cream, and designate time every week to meet up with old or new friends.

April

If my previous resolutions become habits, I will be a more polished dresser/more relatable writer/soon-to-be published author come April. Not too shabby for the beginning of 2020.

April is the month where Spring Fever is in full swing. This means more time will be spent outside, which means being physically active, cooking, and hanging out with friends all happen more organically.

Because my book will be completed by this month, I’m going to celebrate by spending weekdays with family and friends, and weekends volunteering.

Refining these goals further (and to make sure I keep my word), I will dedicate one day each week to grabbing dinner with a friend, and one day each weekend to delivering meals to local residents who aren’t able to prepare or afford their own.

Other micro-resolution ideas for April: Conduct your workouts outside instead of at the gym, commit to learning how to cook new meals, recite mantras to improve your self-image, do exercises to strengthen your marriage, and join a club in your community.

May

Now that my social life has resurfaced, I think I’ll dial back on expensive hangouts and work on improving my professional network for the month of May.

What does this look like for a freelance writer residing in Connecticut? Taking the train to NYC once a week to meet up with fellow writers I’ve met online, magazine editors I want to work with, or authors I admire.

While this one will take some planning ahead, I know it’s achievable. Worst case scenario is not having a set person to meet/network with, which means I can attend book fairs, author signings or other literary events where likeminded industry folk will be gathered.

At the very least, I’ll have a good time, learn cool things, and make new friends. At the very best, I’ll hook up with the right person who can assist my career in a profound way. Also I hear the (complimentary!) wine and snacks at these shindigs do not disappoint. All-around wins.

Other micro-resolution ideas for May: Enjoy family dinners outside, team up with a friend or neighbor to keep one another accountable for personal or professional pursuits, start a podcast, outline an idea for a book, and volunteer at an animal rescue shelter.

Photo by Spencer Everett on Unsplash

June

FINALLY Summer has arrived. We can confidently say goodbye to our hibernation days and hello to the carefree days of warm weather.

Because June exudes endless good vibes, I’m going to roll through the month by not wasting one day on TV. Outdoor movies at the park obviously don’t count.

And since I feel like this is not going to be difficult for me, I’m going to throw in nixing typical summer treats (like ice cream, sugary cocktails and empty calorie desserts) for the month as well.

In place of traditional summer sweets, I will have fresh fruit smoothies, frozen yogurt, chia pudding, chocolate dipped berries, yogurt parfaits and banana oat muffins.

See? Healthy alternatives can be just as rewarding as the real deal.

Other micro-resolution ideas for June: Improve your personal or professional brand, conquer a fear, dress outside of your comfort zone, do random acts of kindness, take a road trip with friends, and get involved in a cause you care about.

July

The nonchalantness of summer is in rare form now. And so, it only makes sense to dedicate the month of July to relaxation.

Because I’m not one to sit still, I’m going to devote this month to engaging in activities that make me laugh. Planning outings to comedy shows, plays and movies will be the goal of this feel-good month, with sprinklings of backyard parties in-between for good measure.

Other micro-resolutions for July: Shop local all month, support small businesses you have yet to explore, hit the pool/beach 2x a week, read a book outside of your usual genre, dedicate Sundays to exploring surrounding towns, plan a trip to a new city, and replace driving with bike riding.

August

August is my birthday month! And in 2020, it is the month my book is set to be published.

Aside from my launch party, I’m going to spend every day in August marketing/promoting my book to local libraries, fitness studios, women’s boutiques, coffee shops and the like.

Not only will this get the word out on my book and brand, but will also give me the opportunity to connect with my community in new and different ways.

Other micro-resolution ideas for August: Start a book club, eat salads for lunch, go on family hikes, dedicate mornings to your passion project, focus on self-care rituals, turn your phone off every night, and read more local and worldly news.

September

I’m going to squeeze the most out of the dwindling days of sun by spending as much time outside as possible.

From enjoying morning runs down Main Street and afternoon picnics in the backyard to attending street festivals and outdoor concerts, September is the most fitting month for outdoor activities, minus the inevitable sweating of June-August.

Diving into specifics, I’m going to venture to new patio restaurants as frequently as possible, in addition to the above pursuits. May that be in neighboring towns or my own city, wandering to new rooftop bars/eateries will also provide the opportunity to spend quality time with my family and friends whilst we travel and dine.

Other micro-resolution ideas for September: Cut out alcohol, focus on your mental health, focus on your physical health, bring plants into your home, light candles in your house every night, listen to inspiring podcasts on your commute, and play upbeat music every morning.

Photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash

October

I don’t care much for Halloween, but I do care for Fall festivities like craft beer tastings, pumpkin patches and farmer’s markets.

Because my mood may start to dip this month (hazy days spent in bikinis on rooftops are well behind us), I’m going to try and prevent my seasonal mood dives by focusing on giving.

In particular, I’m going to get involved with a charitable cause like The Hunger Project or Earthworks.

Other micro-resolution ideas for October: Make your home more fragrant, redecorate your kitchen, enjoy time with your kids without screens, host food & wine tastings with your neighbors, quit social media, and try intermittent fasting.

November

November is an obvious month for giving thanks and practicing gratitude.

I’m going to take it a step further by reminding myself how lucky I am in my health and relationships. I will show appreciation to family, friends and clients by sending gifts or traveling to spend time with them.

And because I haven’t focused on dressing well since February (hopefully that one will stick throughout the year), I’ll add upping my style game to November, too, by experimenting with different hairstyles, bold makeup and colorful outfits.

Other micro-resolution ideas for November: Send thank-you notes to people who have impacted your life, focus on eating plant-based foods, start a podcast with a friend, volunteer at an orphanage, foster a rescue pet, and focus on your spiritual/religious health.

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

December

I’m notorious for being a scrooge during the holidays. Not being able to go outside without a parka coupled with consumerism culture immersion is enough to make me go mad.

Because December is typically my least favorite month of the year, I’m going to make an effort to find the joy during this snowy month instead of complaining about the stresses of it.

In particular, I will get into the Christmas spirit by baking cookies, attending themed parties, and hosting holiday get-togethers.

Other micro-resolution ideas for December: Donate old belongings to charity, collaborate with a non-profit you’re passionate about, ignore Instagram, start a side hustle, seek culture, hire a personal stylist, and go the whole month without gossiping.

Thanks for reading!

Want more stories like this? Follow me. I post 3x per week here on Medium on happy, healthy living — all dripping with bold fun and style.

Are you a millennial mom? Follow my Modern Motherhood publication for tips on pursuing your goals in the realm of work, wellness and style.

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Life is better when we laugh. I write about the importance of mental health & believe our weirdness is what makes us great. https://ashleyalt.substack.com/

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Ashley Alt

Ashley Alt

Life is better when we laugh. I write about the importance of mental health & believe our weirdness is what makes us great. https://ashleyalt.substack.com/

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