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by Halley Sanford January 08, 2023 4 min read

New year, new you? In reality, probably not. Anyone who has been on this planet for more than a few January 1sts has probably learned by now how futile most New Year’s resolutions end up being. But that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged from working on becoming a better you in 2023! The key is being more methodical and intentional about it – and then holding yourself accountable.

Before we dive into the good stuff – tips for ways that work – let’s take a look at some fun(ny) facts. In a recent article on insideoutmastery.com, a study presents some startling (although not surprising) statistics on the reality of resolutions:

  • Nearly 40% of all American adults make New Year’s resolutions, and that number jumps to just shy of 60% when you narrow the age range to 18-34YOs. Ah, the optimism of youth, am I right? Folks over 55 are 3x less likely to make a resolution.
  • And of all those people, can you guess how many are successful and see those resolutions through to completion? A whole 9%. Amusingly, 43% of those who make resolutions expect them to fail by February, and most people quit the second Friday of the month, dubbed “Quitter’s Day”.
  • People most commonly cite a lack of motivation as their reason for giving up, and studies attribute it to the timing of New Year’s resolutions – the resolutions coincide more with the changing of the calendar than the person’s readiness to change.

So, you know, if you’ve already given up on your resolution, or didn’t even make one, you’re definitely not alone. But let’s not totally abandon the idea of improving ourselves, let’s reframe it! How about instead of “new year, new you”, we approach it as “every day, a little bit better”? Instead of extreme goals with absolutes and all-or-nothing metrics, join us in a gentler journey to your best self: habit tracking.

Never heard of a Habit Tracker? Think of it as a sticker chart for grown-ups! Habit Trackers are a customizable (the internet is full of templates) visual metric of your progress toward turning an action into a habit, one day at a time. The chart features a slot for you to write each habit that coordinates with a row of circles or squares that each represent a day, and each day that you complete that action, you fill in the space. It works on a multitude of levels – it’s accountability, it has an end goal, and let’s be honest, it’s a little dopamine burst getting to color in the day’s spot. PRO TIP: Up the ante on that end-of-day reward by choosing pretty pens or colored pencils to coordinate with each habit so that it brings you a little extra joy as your tracker fills up!

Love the idea, but need a little guidance in setting your intentions? We got you.

First and foremost, keep in mind the 3 Ms:

Make it meaningful. Developing the habit has to really matter to you in order for you to maintain your motivation. Plus, that’s just a good rule of thumb for life: save your energy for what’s important to you!

Make it manageable. A big reason people abandon goals is because they feel overwhelming or unachievable. It’s ok to set your end goal at say, losing 50 lbs, but you need to set meetable monthly milestones on the way to the finish line, like say 8 lbs.

Make it measurable. Break it down into a daily action that will propel you toward your overall goal – this method is meant to form habits, after all. For instance, “lose 8 lbs” isn’t conducive to habit tracking because it isn’t quantifiable. Instead, define an action you will do on a daily basis to lose 8 lbs – Is it exercise for 30 minutes a day? Drink 8 glasses of water? Keep your calorie/carb intake under a set amount? Come up with something you can color in at the end of the day!

Another important piece of advice: Make habits for your whole self! We’re all for working towards weight loss – as you well know, we’ve all been on that journey ourselves – but that is just one small aspect of your overall well-being. Try creating a well-rounded set of habits each month that aim to improve all areas of your life.

Here are some examples to get you started:

PHYSICAL HEALTH: Drink all your water. Take a walk. Stretch for 10 minutes. Go to bed at a certain time. Do your skincare regimen. [Note: If you’re adding in a more intense exercise habit, be sure to black out some rest days on your tracker.]

MENTAL HEALTH: Meditate. Journal. Check in with your therapist. One hour of phone-free time.

PROFESSIONAL GROWTH: Learn a new area of your industry. Read a book relevant to your ambitions. Commit 30 minutes per day to honing a skill. Network.

FINANCIAL GROWTH: Pack your lunch. Make your own coffee. Put the date dollar amount in savings ($1 on the 1st, $14 on the 14th, $31 on the 31st, etc. – it adds up!).

PERSONAL GROWTH: Wake up by a certain time. No phone until your bed is made. Take a MasterClass. Do a load of laundry – to completion! Get rid of one unnecessary item in your home.

INTERPERSONAL GROWTH: Give a stranger a compliment. Write someone a letter. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Tell someone in your life how much they mean to you/something you admire about them.

An added benefit of having multiple habits on your tracker is that even if you don’t achieve them all every day, you will likely achieve at least a few, which still provides a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day and is essential to maintaining motivation – progress over perfection!

And that brings us to our final and favorite piece of advice that is so important for granting yourself grace and getting back on track for any goal:

Just because you slip, doesn’t mean you have to slide.


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