Hakuna Matata

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is the first day of 2014. Between the delightful chaos of Christmas and post-Christmas birthdays in my family, New Year’s often feels like an after-thought. I hadn’t even considered my New Year’s resolution until a friend asked me yesterday what mine would be. I blinked at them, uncomprehending, until I realized that yes, tomorrow is New Year’s Day. Tonight the ball will drop and 2013 will officially come to a close, whether we’re ready or not.

Even if you haven’t decided a New Year’s resolution yet, many people find New Year’s to be an opportunity for change, for a clean slate. It’s a chance to examine how you did last year and how you can do even better this year. You can put the past behind you. Hakuna matata.

On the last Fortify Friday blog post, I explained how choosing to adjust your commuting routine just one day can eliminate fourteen miles of double lane traffic daily. But maybe you’ve never carpooled before. Maybe you don’t know where to start, or where the closest bus stop to you is. The Huffington Post article, “6 Ways To Become A Creature Of New Habits,” explains that one of the biggest factors in cementing new habits or behaviors is “small wins.” Instead of setting a lofty, almost unachievable goal for yourself, set smaller, more realistic goals. For example, instead of telling yourself that on January 2nd you’ll suddenly start taking the bus to work every day, tell yourself you’ll take the bus one day a week. After all, it’s only one day right? Tell yourself you’ll bring up carpooling with your coworkers. Even if you don’t decide then and there to start a carpool, you’ve at least introduced the idea and can research the next step on ShareTheRideNC.

Whatever small goals you set for yourself, make sure you find a way to keep yourself accountable. Share your goals with a friend or post them online. You could even start a blog about your progress, keeping you doubly accountable to complete your goal and then tell your readers about it (hmm, this is starting to sound like a good idea).  Reward yourself every time you complete your goal – if you wake up and catch the bus, treat yourself to a Starbucks latte after.

Finally, give yourself a little wiggle room. If you end up oversleeping and missing the bus, that’s okay. If you forget to email your coworker about carpooling, that’s okay. New habits take time to form and beating yourself up every time you make a mistake doesn’t encourage you to do better. Just take things one day at a time.

Already know your New Year’s resolution? Let us know on Twitter @gotriangle or leave us a comment on our Facebook page.

Good luck, ye New Years Resolution-makers! See you all next year!

– Grace

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