Ditch Resolutions: Create Monthly Themes & Tasks.

Resolutions are out.

I’m sure you’ve heard, ‘resolutions don’t work’. Maybe you’re one of the many who have given up setting goals for the new year.

The reason resolutions don’t work is that they’re often vague (lacking a plan with details) and often ‘too big’. Lose 50 pounds this year? Is that practical? How are you going to do it?

But I’m a big fan of setting goals, both for business and personal. So what’s the alternative to the classic resolution?

Think monthly.

I’ve gone a few years without setting any New Year’s resolutions. That doesn’t mean that I’ve been lacking goals, I just stopped lining these goals up with the start of the New Year.

Over the holiday, I re-read Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. It’s a great book that details small changes she has made to improve her happiness.  In the book, Gretchen sets monthly goals (some big, some small) and notices significant changes over the short time period.

And as I was thinking about the new year, it occurred to me that this monthly approach may be the solution to the oh-so-tired annual New Year’s Resolution.

By thinking monthly, you can make profound changes regularly, throughout the year.

Create the themes & tasks.

Inspired by Gretchen’s approach, for 2018, I’m setting a monthly theme (or could be described as a motto, something big like ‘reach out to old friends’) as well as a task (a specific item on a to-do list, like ‘get new light fixture for bedroom’). Ideally, these two components team up for one juicy, monthly goal.

My focus for 2018 is on the ‘life’ side of work-life balance, as my goals for my career (as a type-A, overachiever) slot naturally into my to-do list. Your list, of course, may reflect a different emphasis and will obviously be different in the details.


Below are several of my theme + task pairings. I’ll assign them to months shortly. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for updates throughout the year! (I’ll add a few more there, too!)

Theme: Give in to the occasional shortcut. Make life easy. Task: Borrow an Instapot from a friend and try it out.

Theme: Settle down at home. Task: Paint the walls and get a desk for the home office.

Theme: Create festivity. Task: Buy a lame and decorate my home-baked breads.

Theme: Create green space. Task: Plant a vertical garden.

Theme: Spend out. Splurge a little. Task: Buy a lovely fragrance from Demeter or Fresh.

Theme: Live the bigger life. Do things that are awe-inspiring. Task: Visit the Mount Wilson observatory.

Theme: Make a quilt. Task: Do/organize a fabric swap on Instagram.

Theme: Do non-goal-oriented activities. Task: Spend time writing down stories.

Theme: Grow my network. Task: Dedicate time to getting back in touch with old friends.

Theme: Be prepared. Task: Set up our emergency preparedness plan + make a household manual.