Embracing change: Swapping New Year’s resolutions for an ‘in’ and ‘out’ approach

Jennifer Stewart — New Year’s resolutions

“In and out” approach to resolution-setting

This year, instead of penning a laundry list of resolutions destined for neglect by February, I took a different route. The usual drill of resolutions lost its appeal; instead, I created two lists: the first what was going to be ‘in’ for this year, and the second for habits that were ‘out.’

What changed? I realized that naming what no longer serves me is as vital as recognizing what does. Out went the obligatory resolutions, and in came two unique lists — one that guides my daily habits, and the other that I don’t want to creep back into them.

Daily rituals: journaling, walking and food prep

Firstly, what’s in? Journaling takes the lead — a daily ritual that I do before I leave bed. I’m not writing pages upon pages, but rather taking 5 minutes to quickly jot down goals for the day and an intention. The physical act of writing these items down has really changed my mindset about what’s important to me over the next day and where my focus should lie.

Next on the ‘in’ list is food prep — a simple practice but one that often gets pushed aside when times get busy. It’s more than chopping vegetables or measuring ingredients; it’s a commitment to eating well and taking the time to invest in myself.

Then, daily walking — an act that has never been about exercise for me. When I was a little girl, I walked daily with my mom, and I quickly realized it’s just as much for your mental health as it is for your physical health. It’s a chance to break clear from the workday, clear my head, and reconnect with nature. It often gets pushed to the wayside, but this year, it’s becoming a priority.

And the grand challenge — completing a half marathon. A year ago, the thought of running more than a kilometre seemed implausible, yet here I stand, resolute and determined to conquer this milestone as I embrace my 40th year.

Activities that really aren’t serving me — the ‘out’ list

Enter the ‘out’ list — a compilation of habits and activities that really aren’t serving me. Bidding farewell to certain practices feels liberating. The biggest culprit: mindless scrolling. It’s officially out. 

Another ‘out’ — getting my nails done. Though seemingly trivial, it was a chore that consumed precious time and never left my nails in good condition. Embracing my own nails symbolizes a commitment to my time, and just keeping things natural. 

Lastly, people-pleasing — an exhausting exercise that I have learned to kick to the wayside. This year, though, I want it to go entirely. Rather than saying yes to keep others happy, I’m continuing to prioritize authenticity and valuing genuine connections.

I also did an ‘in’ and ‘out’ list for my professional life, but I would rather work behind the scenes on some lofty goals for the next 12 months and then share them in December and see what I was able to achieve. Stay tuned — I’ll circle back to these in December ’24!

The ‘in’ and ‘out’ list, for me, isn’t about earth-shattering, revolutionary resolutions. It’s about self-reflection and being intentional about what deserves to be in your life and, just as importantly, what’s on the way out.

We’re eager to hear your ‘in’ and ‘out’ lists at The Honest Talk. Share your insights at admin@thehonesttalk.ca, and your list might just inspire someone else’s journey!


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