Time is a funny thing: it ticks by as normal and feels a lot slower when we’re focused on it, but it can pass us by in a blink of an eye when we’re not paying attention. Perhaps it’s because a lot of us are so immersed in life by the hour and day; living like this and it’s no wonder we end up surprised one day, only to find ourselves almost at the year’s end. Because now that we're here, the tail end of 2021 can only mean one thing:
It’s time to prepare our journal for the New Year!
We’re not just talking about journal spreads or layouts, no—the new year looming before us is also an amazing chance for us to take a look at ourselves and reevaluate the direction we’re taking in our never ending goal to improve the quality of our life and who we are as a person. In today’s article, that’s what we want to take a look at: the ways we can use our journal to get ready to meet our best self!
1. Forget about New Year’s resolutions. Set up plans instead!
According to the US News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is at about 80%. That’s a very high number, and for good reason: it’s tradition for us to list down all of these life changing things without thinking about how we’re going to achieve them or if they’re even achievable at all. That’s where the problem lies—having no clear path to take and not knowing if we’re well-equipped means we’re prone to getting lost. That’s only to be expected since we have no way of knowing how to get from point A to point B. So instead of writing down what we want for ourselves this 2022 grocery list-style, consider a game plan instead.
This is where planning comes in.
The shift in the term we use is intentional here: whereas a New Year’s resolution is a destination we want to get to, the act of planning includes the actual journey to get there. For example: when going on a road trip, you don’t just hop into a car and see where the road takes you; you still do the bare minimum by mapping out a route, deciding stopovers, and ensuring you have what you need like money for gas, food and lodging. In short, you still plan things out no matter how rudimentary. Doing otherwise can land you in the middle of nowhere with no cash, an empty tank, and a grumbling stomach.
Planning is a preferable way to approach the things we want to achieve and work for this New Year because it provides more than just an end in sight: it also lays out every step that we need to take to arrive where we’re supposed to go. This means we’re also ready for any possible roadblocks and know how to navigate our way around them. So instead of a resolution that’s set in stone, we have an ever-evolving game plan that can accommodate adjustments, delays, and anything in between while we work on achieving all of our goals.
2. Look forward—by looking back.
The best way forward, or the details needed to do so at the very least, rely on looking at who we used to be. Therefore, it’s important to look back by taking stock of the best and worst things that have shaped ourselves and the entire year to what it currently is. It doesn’t even have to be a deep dive; you can start by asking yourself questions like:
What are the things I struggled with?
What have I accomplished so far?
What do I want to do differently this coming year?
Of course these are just general examples—you can make the questions and your answers to them as detailed and as complex as you want. The point of asking these is to figure out what your progress is. By utilizing what is called the progress principle, you create a cycle of continuous progress because seeing that you’re changing and moving forward actually has an impact on whether you continue making progress at all.
One of the best ways to see progress is with a habit tracker. Our Field Journal has the perfect system that allows you to incorporate this with all of your other journaling needs: use a Dot Grid refill for your habit tracker, a Ruled or Wide Ruled refill for your journal writing, a Planner refill for important dates and to plan out your schedule, as well as a Plain refill for sketches and doodles. Even then, there’s space left to spare!
Not sure what to start tracking? Take a look at a quick list here to get an idea!
Field Journal Refill
Field Journal Refill
Field Journal Refill
Field Journal Refill
3. As the saying goes: when the going gets tough, the tough get going!
Trying something new, building a habit, making life-altering decisions that can change our whole life… these are difficult things to do. Saying otherwise is straight up lying. It’s the same whenever we approach the New Year intent on making changes for the better: in the aftermath as January bleeds to February, as soon as the new year doesn’t feel new anymore, whatever motivation we had in the beginning might start dissipating, never to be seen again.
But that’s not true! Motivation can be found anywhere. In fact, we put together three useful ways you can keep yourself motivated here. Among them is finding a deeper meaning behind what you’re doing and why you’re doing it—it’s a great boost when it seems extra hard to push onwards so you can stay true to your goals. According to Forbes, “You want an emotional attachment to your goals that gives you the ceaseless energy to pursue them no matter how tough it gets.”
More than just a chore, figure out the real reasons why you care enough to want to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. And then keep going! The harder it gets, the harder you should push back.
Making changes to become better can be done anytime of the year, but there’s something exciting about doing it with the rest of the world every time a new year comes around. Set realistic goals, don’t forget to celebrate the progress you’re making no matter how small, and find meaning in what you’ve set out to achieve—these things can help prepare you to finally meet the best version of yourself.
What other things will you be trying this New Year to ensure you achieve everything you’ve set out to do? Is there anything specific that has, or has not, worked for you? We’d love to hear what you think so don’t forget to leave comments below!