New Year’s resolution ideas are often painfully predictable — this list of ideas is different. A big thank you to Katie Sullivan of Rise Through Strife for sharing this new year’s inspiration.

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Every new year, our newsfeeds are full of lists upon lists of New Year’s Resolutions that you need to have the #bestyearyet. And they’re often painfully predictable: get more sleep, work out more, eat organic veggies, save more money.

It just becomes another to-do list that puts more pressure on those of us who already feel like we’re not enough and failing epically at life.

This list (I hope) is different…

The Best New Year’s Resolutions Ideas for Perfectionists & Workaholics

… because as a perfectionist, workaholic, overachiever, you-name-it, you don’t need those other lists. You’re already doing enough. This list is about who you are on the inside.

1. Sit in silence for 15 minutes every day

Some people will call this practicing meditation, but I don’t see a need to use that word. “Meditation” comes with all kinds of preconceived expectations of how it should be done: a yoga mat in an empty room with plenty of natural light, and orchid, green tea, and of course, don’t forget the Tibetan singing bowls.

I’m not knocking any of those things – they’re just not necessary for you right now. Truth bomb: you suck at doing nothing. You’re great at so many things, and that’s precisely your problem. You’re so amazing in so many ways that you suck at doing nothing.

One thing I know about you – you’re not afraid of a challenge.

I challenge you to take quiet time every day to force yourself to do less. The results may surprise you.

When I started forcing myself to do nothing for a few minutes a day, it changed my life. I learned that the world could go on without me. My colleagues would find the solution, my husband could google it, and the laundry could wait.

Woman looking out over the mountains, with a quote over reading: The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.

2. Make decisions more slowly

Recently I was presented with a job opportunity that came at an amazingly coincidental time. It was a job I was well-suited for, and one that would boost my family’s income in the exact amount that I needed.

Of course, my knee-jerk reaction was to say, “Yes! I can do that! I’ll take it!” but over the years, I’ve learned better. When first offered the job, I knew that my line needed to be, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

Making decisions that will impact your family, your lifestyle, your health, etc. should always be made with care and thoughtful consideration. And to do that, you need time to explore yourself.

While taking this time to consider this job prospect carefully, it occurred to me that my initial reaction was not an accurate representation of my true feelings. Instead of, “Yes, I can do that!” the line my brain was actually telling me was, “I can be that for you.”

There was no consideration of what I could be for me — only what mold I could fit for someone else. Had I not taken the time to explore myself deeply on this decision could have resulted in the same circumstances, I’ve faced my whole life: exhausted, unfulfilled, unhappy, and lost.

3. Get acquainted with your body

Back to that job opportunity I was presented with – I’d received an email one day from this contact asking for my resume and cover letter as a formality. The request itself was not surprising, nor problematic in any way. My physical reaction, on the other hand, was.

Your body will alert you when something is off. The trouble is, we overachievers have muted those notifications over and over, that we’ve forgotten how to recognize them.

As soon as I saw the email pop up in my inbox, my stomach dropped. I felt nauseous, with a lump in my throat that stuck around for a good 20 minutes. FROM AN EMAIL. This may seem absurd to some, but I’ve learned to listen to these reactions when they come.

My body was telling me a few things:

  1. I didn’t really want this job, and this reaction was reinforcing that.
  2. That taking the opportunity would actually make me feel like more of a failure, not less – the exact thing I was always trying to reconcile.
  3. That I’d denied myself the opportunity to just be myself for so long, that the only way to get back in touch with that part of me was to spend more time in the slow, unbusy lifestyle I’d worked hard to create for myself.

The only way for me to have gleaned all that, from what otherwise would’ve been a completely benign email exchange, was because I’d spent time getting in tune with my body. Seeking answers, approval, and love from within is the only real way to actually attain them.

Woman resting in bed with a quote typed out reading, "If you don't know how to say no, your body will say it for you through physical illness."

BONUS New Year’s Resolution Idea: Play more, work less

It is true that work can give our lives meaning — to an extent. Presumably, you’ve chosen a job where you go every day because it allows you to make a positive impact in the world, and use your time on earth constructively.

Does that accurately describe your relationship with work? For many of us, it does not.

You wake up, drive to work, work, drive home, sleep, and repeat. And it’s killing you. But for some reason, you just keep on doing it, and even taking on more because you think, “maybe this time, this opportunity will fill up my soul.”

And you find emptiness again in the work. Here’s my tip: Work less. Play more.

When we focus on unfulfilling work we lose our connection to ourselves. Play has the exact opposite of effect. Play is the expression of our truest selves. It’s what we did as kids that came so naturally.

Spend more time doing “irresponsible” things. Go hiking, sit on a park bench and people watch, go shopping with your sister, try painting, or writing or rapping. It literally doesn’t matter.

Play is where we’ll find love, and peace, and happiness in the new year.

Woman standing with her arms wide open in front of mountains with this quote over the photo: Work less. Play more. Rush less. Live more.

Katie Sullivan is a transformation coach, who works with workaholics, overachievers & perfectionists, to help them create lives that are full of joy, purpose, freedom, and fulfillment through self-expression and self-love. Katie’s podcast, Rise Through Strife, tells stories of everyday people who’ve found meaning and purpose in their lives, even after experiencing hardship. Sign up to be invited to Katie’s private podcast community!

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