Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Years Resolutions

Making New Year's Resolutions is a time honored tradition that people engage in with hopeful abandon every January.  However, they are often just as quickly abandoned.  So this year while I make my business and blog goals for 2017 I thought I would give you a few tips on creating goals and resolutions that actually stick and carry you through a prosperous new year.

Keeping your Goals in 2017

Basically resolutions tend to be stated like I will "lose weight" or "get in shape" during the next year.  These are ambiguous and gives no steps or include realistic expectations on how to accomplish these goals.  To make them work you must focus on something concrete like committing to losing 10 pounds or running a mini-marathon. These can then be broken into manageable bits like 1 to 2 pounds a week and running a certain number of miles each week or month to prepare.  Here are a few ideas to help you keep your resolutions in 2017.

Pick Just One Resolution
While you might have a long list of potential New Year's Resolutions it is suggested that you should pick just one and focus your energies on it rather than spreading yourself too thin among a number of different objectives.

Start With Small Steps
Planning is an essential part of achieving any goal. Experts suggest that you should spend some time planning out how you will tackle a major behavior change. You can start by writing down your goal, making a list of things you might do to achieve that goal, and noting any obstacles that might stand in your way.  Then break those down into steps. Taking on too much is a common reason why so many New Year's Resolutions fail. Dramatically slashing calories, over-doing it at the gym, or radically altering your normal behavior are sure-fire ways to derail your plans. Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal.

If you've resolved to run a marathon, start out by going for a jog two or three times a week. If you are trying to eat healthier, start by replacing some of your favorite junk foods with more nutritious foods. While it may seem like a slow start, these small changes make it easier to stick to your new habits and increase the likelihood of long-term success.

Avoid Repeating Past Failures
Another strategy for keeping your New Year's Resolution is to not make the exact same resolution year after year. You want to have a large amount of self-belief to accomplish a goal, so trying the same resolution that you failed to accomplish last year can result in self-doubt that undermines your motivation.

If you do choose to reach for the same goals you've tried for in the past, spend some time evaluating your previous results. Which strategies were the most effective? Which were the least effective? What has prevented you from keeping your resolution in past years? By changing your approach, you will be more likely to see real results this year.

Remember That Change Is a Process
Those unhealthy habits that you are trying to change probably took years to develop, so how can you expect to change them in just a matter or days, weeks, or months? It may take longer than you would like to achieve your goals, but remember that this is not a race to the finish. Once you have made the commitment to changing a behaviour, it is something that you will continue to work on for the rest of your life.

Don't Let Small Stumbles Bring You Down
Encountering a setback is one of the most common reasons why people give up on their New Year's Resolutions. If you suddenly relapse into a bad habit, don't view it as a failure. The path toward your goal is not a straight one and there are always going to be challenges. Instead, view relapses as learning opportunities.

Try keeping a resolution journal, write down the goal and the steps, and what you will gain when you achieve them.  And if a relapse occurs and what might have triggered it. By understanding the challenges you face, you will be better prepared to deal with them in the future. And a reminder of what you gain if you succeed.

Get Support From Your Friends and Family
Yes, you've probably heard this advice a million times, but that is because the buddy system actually works. Having a solid support system can help you stay motivated. Explain what your goals are to your close friends or family and ask them to help you achieve your objectives. Better yet, enlist the help of others by joining a group that shares your goal.

Renew Your Motivation
During the first days of a New Year's Resolution, you will probably feel confident and highly motivated to reach your goal. Because you haven't really faced any discomfort or temptation associated with changing your behavior, making this change might seem all too easy.
After dealing with the reality of dragging yourself to the gym at 6 a.m. or gritting your teeth through headaches brought on by nicotine withdrawal, your motivation to keep your New Year's Resolution will probably start to dwindle. When you face such moments, remind yourself of exactly why you are doing this. What do you have to gain by achieving your goal? Find sources of inspiration that will keep you going when times get tough.  Write them down in your Resolution Journal.

By February, many people have lost that initial spark of motivation that they felt immediately after making their New Year's Resolution. Keep that inspiration alive by continuing to work on your goals, even after facing setbacks. If your current approach is not working, reevaluate your strategies and develop a new plan.

Be serious about keeping a resolution journal, where you can write about your successes and struggles. Write down the reasons why you are working toward your goal so that you can refer to them during times when you feel uninspired and unmotivated. By sticking with it and working on your goal all year long, you can be one of the few able to say that you really did keep your New Year's Resolution.

Backyard Patch Goals for 2017

The Backyard Patch was very busy in December which cut into my ability to post recipes and herb tips, so this year we are going to get a head start on several posts by starting them early and doing the research so that when it is time to right them I do not have to spend time doing the background work.

To that end we will be adding a bi-weekly series, Beginning Herb Gardening. Every other week we will detail how to plan, start, plant, care for and harvest and use herbs for those who have never done it before, or those who want to improve their technique.

We will continue the Bath Blend of the Month.  I have been having fun creating new blends and trying them out, so I will share them with you around the 4th of each month.

Herb of the Week has never been published weekly and is too time consuming to research to ever be that frequent, so I am going to call it Herb to Know and publish it as often as I can based on time and research.  To increase the frequency of information, I will also publish Mini Herb to Know posts that share new information, cultivars and recipes about the chosen herb, especially if a detailed Herb of the Week post was done in the past.

In that same vein, I have been researching and writing Herb of the Week posts for 6 years now and have completed many posts.  We are creating a page on the Blog called Herbs A to Z that will link you to the previous Herb of the Week and Herb to Know posts, as well as recipes for each of the herbs listed.  This will take us some time to do, so check back during the year to see the links for new posts and previous posts.

We will continue to post How To and DIY posts, continue to share recipes as we have always done and hope to expand our sharing on gardening techniques and uses and benefits of herbs.  We will be creating a theme for each month to provide some focus for the posts and will use that theme to direct our research and perhaps even our growing experiments.

Our themes for 2017
        January - Hot Tea Month
        February - Mardi Gras
        March - Garden Planning
        April - National Garden Month (Herb Gardens)
        May - Salsa Month - Cilantro (herb of year)
        June - Dairy Month
        July - Blending Herbs
        August - Infusing Herbs
        September - Preserving Herbs
        October -  Vegetarian Month
        November - Gifting Herbs
        December - Biblical Herbs

Our biggest Goal in 2017 is to increase the mail order business.  Last year we strived to get out into the community and speak about herbs and succeeded in having at least one lecture or program each month. We will be continuing our pubic appearances in 2017.  This year we will be speaking at both the Darien Garden Symposium and the Chicago Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier in March as well as teaching classes at various libraries and garden clubs during the year.

Expect to see announcements about an improved website and saving opportunities on Etsy and Ebay for returning customers, as we work on our mail order business.  We are also putting together a couple of free ebooks which will be available to those who sign up for our newsletter.  You can sign up in the box to the right of the blog.

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