Studies show that it can be difficult for people to make and stick to their New Year’s resolutions. However, making 12 micro-resolutions to tackle each month offers a simpler path to success and goal setting for 2021. Here are some ideas for creating a calendar of micro-resolutions.
January: Dry January
The first month of the new year is a great time to reset our systems and detox from a decadent holiday season. Cutting out, or even cutting back on alcohol consumption for the rest of January can help our bodies get more rest, lose weight, and recover. There are plenty of 30-day detox and alcohol free programs to guide you through this micro-resolution.
Other ideas: no refined sugar, screen-free Saturdays, try something new every day (a workout, a recipe, journaling), wake up 30 min earlier on weekdays.
February: Personal and Emotional Growth
This February, focus on improving personal relationships, including the one with yourself. Studies show that those who express gratitude in some form every day achieve higher levels of personal happiness, sleep better, and have more meaningful relationships with others. Perhaps you’ll benefit from setting a goal to jot down the things you are thankful for each morning, or maybe you’ll want to write your family and friends letters telling them how much they mean to you. It’s important to reinvest in our emotional health so that we may be an asset to ourselves and the social circles we inhabit.
Other ideas: set up weekly coffee meetings via video chat with friends you’ve lost touch with, call a far-flung family member each week to check in, meditate five minutes a day.
March: Clean and Tidy
Get a jump start on Spring cleaning while still cooped up indoors. It’s unlikely that the general public will be vaccinated by March, so it’s crucial we all sit tight and stick to COVID-19 guidelines. Put another log on the fire, crank some tunes, and get organized throughout the month of March. Set a goal each weekend to tackle something around the house. That way, when Spring does arrive and it’s time to open up the house for a good cleaning, you won’t have to work around unwanted junk, disorganized drawers, and the like.
Other ideas: organize a different closet in your house each week, clean out the garage, choose something every day to donate.
April: Fresh Air Focused
By the time April rolls around, we’re chomping at the bit to get outside and embrace the warm weather. Fortunately, April usually offers a spackling of warm days interspersed with random wet snowfall. Carve out time each day, or every-other day, to spend time outside. Sunshine, fresh air, and nature do the body good and we can begin to cultivate better habits by forcing ourselves to set aside time to prioritize our health.
Other ideas: go for a 30-minute walk each night after dinner, take your yoga mat outside every Saturday for a practice, walk to the coffee shop (instead of driving).
May: Improved Slumber
Sleep is incredibly important to our health and wellbeing, both mentally and physically. Now that you’ve developed certain habits to improve your waking well-being, it’s time to focus on getting an adequate amount of quality sleep each night. Commit to moving your bed time up by 30 min, or create a no-screen zone in the bedroom. There are a variety of ways to ensure you get the recommended 8 hours nightly. Make it a point to put your rest first during the month of May.
Other ideas: no TV one hour before bed, read a book before falling asleep, meditate each morning before getting out of bed, start a dream journal.
June: Adventure Time
Summer in Colorado provides ample opportunity for adventuring outdoors. Commit to doing something new in nature each weekend of June. Plan ahead and reserve spots at a nearby campground. Or, pack the car up on Friday night and prepare for an early morning Saturday hike to tackle that 14-er on your bucket list.
Other ideas: roadtrip to a Colorado mountain town that you’ve always wanted to see, hike a new trail every weekend, climb a 14-er each weekend, pick a new sport to learn, practice, or play each day in June.
July: Give Back
A lot of nonprofits and charitable organizations see their supporters commitment wane during the summer months. Get involved with Boulder’s diverse nonprofits by setting a goal to volunteer weekly or donate your daily lunch money, opting to brown bag it instead.
Other ideas: organize a neighborhood trail cleanup each weekend, shop local to support small businesses, choose a new nonprofit each week to teach the family about.
August: Relax and Unwind
Prepare for Fall and back-to-school by getting in some much needed R&R. Do one thing everyday that promotes stress relief and relaxation throughout the month of August. This could be as simple as having an iced coffee on the back porch. Whatever your thing is, resolve to do it all 31 days in August.
Other ideas: sign up for a med-club membership and book weekly massages, try a 30-day mindfulness meditation challenge, use a foam roller each day to release tired muscles.
September: Notice New Things
With Labor Day plans and trying to squeeze in the last of warm-weather activities, September can quickly become overbooked. Make it a goal to simply notice something new each day. Getting in this habit will help keep our mind in the present and reduce stress, anxiety, and tension about future plans.
Other ideas: compliment something new on your spouse or significant other each day, look at the moon each night and note its changes, jot down the color of the leaves each day as they change.
October: Eat Whole Foods
The start of the holiday season brings plenty of sweet treats along with it. Commit to eating whole foods for an entire month. Prep your meals, enlist the help of an accountability partner, and even schedule grocery delivery so you never run out of fresh, healthy ingredients.
Other ideas: try Keto for 30 days, eliminate all dairy products, eat locally and seasonally.
November: Check out Local Culture
Boulder is home to plenty of museums, performing arts centers, and pop-up events that infuse our city with culture. During the month of November, plan to attend one culturally-focused event each week. Or, visit a new museum or art gallery weekly. Not only will you be supporting local businesses and the arts industry, you’ll be learning something new and will have engaging topics to talk about during holiday gatherings.
Other ideas: take a pottery class, see a new movie at The Dairy every week, read the local newspaper every day.
December: Disengage with your Phone
The last month of the year may provide the perfect time to put the phone down and be present with people around you. Set limits to how much you scroll through Instagram, read the news, or check emails. Try limiting yourself to one hour a day of personal-use phone time, or even less if you’re feeling bold. Instead of showing someone a video or photo of what happened, try describing it. Reverting back to analog interactions with people and with things can help us connect on deeper levels and reach within ourselves to provide entertainment, inspiration, and intrigue.
Other ideas: no TV at all, deactivate your social media profiles for the month, suspend a streaming subscription or two and opt to read books, instead.
These are just some examples of ways to make the most out of goal setting. Consider things that you’ve been wanting to cut back on, get better at, or focus your time to. Set monthly resolutions and reward yourself upon meeting each of them.