Ask Miriam | Resolve to Get Off to a Good Start

silhouette of a woman jumping in 2020
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Dear Miriam,

I’m not exactly setting New Year’s resolutions, but I would like to do a few things better, more intentionally and more effectively this year. What are your suggestions for getting off to a good start for this first full week of the year?


2020 Vision, and All That

Dear Vision,

What do you want out of life? How can you live up to your potential? What will make you happiest? These are the question behind all resolutions (or non-resolutions) anyone makes, so start by asking yourself, and then really listening to your own answers.

You, and only you, can determine your priorities. Make a list. Make a lot of lists, if that’s how your brain works. Think about subdividing into “need to,” “want to” and “would be nice.” Think about a year from now and how you hope to feel looking back.

Set yourself up for success by choosing manageable goals and then congratulating yourself along the way. Consider setting week-long or month-long goals, and give yourself permission to reassess if the things you’re trying turn out to be more difficult or less rewarding than you’d hoped.

Perhaps the more significant limiting factor of any life change is time. Before you commit to anything, look at your calendar.

If you want to eat healthier, when are you going to go shopping and cook? If you want to go to the gym, when? Call your grandma? Tuesdays at 6 p.m.? Seriously, you can’t make any changes to your life without knowing when you’ll do the thing that’s different from what you’ve always done. Once you decide, make it a date. With reminders.

Even if the thing you want to improve is less of something (I’m looking at you, phone), what are you going to do instead? Make a list of hobbies or projects or books you’d rather engage with and set specific goals and calendar reminders to do the thing. Commit to checking in with yourself periodically throughout the year about how you’re doing, what you’re doing and why.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is encouragement, so even without any other specifics in place, I hope that you find ways to cheer yourself on, all year long.

Be well,



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