Reflection is the new resolution.
Woah. You’re a title and a subtitle in, and already, you might be thinking, “Isn’t that a contradiction? Don’t these people love New Year’s resolutions?” Yes, and also no. Hang with us.
Here at GoodKind, we’re actually (mostly) all for New Year’s resolutions. (Hear us chat all about it on our podcast!) Turning the calendar is a huge moment of possibility, and the perfect opportunity to start anew. All habit experts say kicking off a new habit at the start of a month (or a year) can give you significant momentum and increase your chance of success. So if you’ve already started on your 2023 goals, don’t ditch them. Keep that momentum going.
But here’s the thing: If you’re anything like us, you might be entering this January a bit frazzled. It’s not January’s fault, exactly. It’s just that the way we do December makes early January a little rushed for resolutions.
January can be a great time to make resolutions. Or create goals. Or set intentions. Or whatever you like to call them. But it might not be the best time.
Sure, maybe all of your Christmas decorations were boxed, labeled, and stowed neatly in the attic on December 26. And maybe you didn’t need to travel home, work, potty train a child, recover from an illness, or catch up on paying bills. But, we’re willing to bet that for most people, December filled up and fizzled out. Your calendar was packed and had you running, then recovering, and never quite realizing what day it was—until around 3:00 pm on New Year’s Eve, when you tried to throw together something, anything together to celebrate.
Then you woke up on New Year’s Day, more tired than usual because you stayed up 3 hours later than usual, scrolled through your phone, and were nearly assaulted with great ideas for 2023: All of a sudden Katie has reorganized four closets, Melinda has a new workout plan and the outfits to go with it, John set up a cozy prayer corner and started reading four new books. Sidebar: All you Katies, Melindas, and Johns, well done! Keep that momentum going. We’re over here cheering you on.
But if you’re (ahem, like us) still in pajamas, surrounded by wrapping paper, wondering where the time went and how you’re supposed to kick it into gear, you’re not alone. And frankly, the last thing you need is a resolution.
At least, not right now.
Want to know the best way to ensure you won’t keep your New Year’s resolution? Make a hasty New Year’s resolution—one that’s a knee-jerk decision, without much forethought or reflection on the year you just put to bed.
You don’t need a quick solution. No matter how much you might even enjoy goal-setting and getting organized. You need time to stop and reflect.
You need a January that starts in February.
Don't rush your resolutions.
Think about it this way. Would you rush into a year-long financial commitment, involve your family in it within a few minutes (or even seconds) based on what you see in someone else’s social media feed? Just because Sonia bought a new car so she can more effectively manage carpool, does that mean you should? We hope not.
And yet, how often are we doing this with our time, commitments, and goals? Most of us are aware of the peer pressure and comparison traps of social media. But when we’re surrounded by that, plus the added pressure of a holiday and media campaigns that capitalize on this fresh optimism and ability to help you make a new life, it can feel inescapable. In just a moment, you can find yourself scrolling car dealerships in the area, just in case you too should be upgrading the carpool situation. Metaphorically speaking, that is.
Influenced or not by social media, this is often our approach to creating resolutions and goals at the start of the year. Ask a couple folks what they’re doing. Glance through some media marketing. Take a (quick) look at your life. And choose the best option in front of you. You might do this methodically. Or you might do it subconsciously. But either way, you probably do it fast. And you need to slow it down.
And we mean way down. Not a few more minutes or hours. We’re talking days, weeks—shoot, maybe even a whole month.
Mid-December simply isn’t the best time to reflect on the months before and start goal-setting for the year ahead. It’s manic. There’s cookie swaps and concerts and Christmas parties and church services to attend. A lot of it is great. But it’s still a lot.
So when does that all start to slow down? January.
Here’s our offer to you. Take this as a grown-up sized permission slip to skip the resolution-making this January … and punt it to February. We are.
Make Habits, Not Just Resolutions.
There’s no deadline for making a good resolution. And at the end of the day, it’s not the resolution that matters. It’s the action that comes from it.
So, some time in the next week or two, after you’ve taken the time to reflect on last year, and when you are feeling more confident in what you’d like to resolve this year, try it out. Start small. Smaller than you think. And then start practicing.
What might that “small thing” look like for you? It might be reading your Bible for five minutes a day. Leaving your phone in the car during church. Practicing silent prayer for 30 seconds before you fall asleep. Texting a friend an encouraging message every week.
Of course, none of us wants to only pray for 30 seconds a day or only reach out to friends once a week. But a small goal is more catalytic than a large one. A favorite author of ours, Kendra Adachi, made this point in her yoga practice. Her original goal was to do 30 minutes of yoga each day. Quickly realizing that wasn’t feasible, she dramatically altered her resolution. The overall goal stayed the same, though generalized: Do more yoga. But the daily habit? One down dog. That was it. So simple that it felt silly to skip. The simplicity added accountability. And at the end of the day, Kendra found that once you’re already in the pose, it becomes a lot easier to continue.
That’s what we’re really about here. As much as we love to capture momentum and start something new, we want to start something and continue it. That’s why one of our values is that all of our products, everything we make must be easy. We want to help you create spiritual practices that help you engage with God and one another. But we want them to be practical enough that you can actually do them.
We don’t know what resolutions you’ll come up with. It might be one down dog a day. Or one proverb every morning. Or one intentional question at dinner. We do know this: It’s better if you take your time crafting your plan for 2023.
Take your time, start small, and when you miss your stride, simply try, try again. As much research as been done on the topic, let us reassure you. There’s not a rule book.
And join us by starting January in February. Set the pressure for mapping out your whole year aside. Set the panic aside. January, and all its resolutions, can begin in February. Or, for that matter, in March.
January is a fresh start. But it doesn’t have to be a fast start. Start the year with time to reflect, sifting through the good, the bad, and the surprising of 2022. And then—only then—turn your gaze to the dreams and goals (and habits!) God has for you in 2023.