Too Ambitious for the New Year?

The to-do list is packed full of tasks we thought we were capable of doing. All at once, when the clock struck midnight and the new year was ushered in, we magically expected ourselves to transform into a newer, better, more motivated self.

And it didn’t happen.

Photo by Tuhin Adhikary on

Where are our fairy godmothers and friendly genies when we need to make a wish?

Without the magical aid of a fairy tale helper, we’re stuck here with our miles-long to-do list of all the new tasks, healthy habits, and insanity we thought we could do cold-turkey.

Get up an hour earlier to do a workout or go to the gym. Eat healthier, fresher ingredients. Get all the housework done and live in a spotless, decluttered, perfect home.

Do all the hobbies! Craft all the things! Renovate, refurbish, or repaint!

Knock, knock, knock.  Excuse me, you do know there’s only 24 hours in a day, right?


The to-do list is unfinished, and now we’re feeling shame because we couldn’t get it done. 

Take a deep breath. It will be okay. It takes time and effort to learn a new skill or hobby. It takes time to build up stamina and strength.


It takes more time to do something at the beginning than it will once we have figured out the most efficient way to perform a task.

If we go to the gym and work out when we aren’t used to it, we’re going to be sore. We have to learn the proper form, so it may take us longer to do an exercise than the person two machines down who’s been going to the gym for 8 years. Expect that learning curve.

If we are learning to paint, it’s going to take us longer to set up our paints, brushes, and canvas than someone who does it every single day for a living. Recognize and expect that. Our painting may not turn out exactly as we want it too, but that’s because we haven’t mastered the skills yet.

It’s okay not to be perfect at the beginning. We are learning and adapting. It will take time.

Think of the to-do-list as the rules in Pirates of the Caribbean: they’re more like guidelines.

If we need to adjust our to-do list from 5 times a week to 3 to start, that’s okay.  If it’s taking us longer to finish our reading goals, our cleaning habit goals, exercise goals, etc., that’s okay, too.

We simply need to adjust our expectations to recognize the additional time our goals may take and reconsider our priorities to carve out time for the important tasks.

Which of those tasks on our to-do list is truly important? Which items are going to get us where we NEED to be rather than where we want to be? Which items can be handled later?

This reflection process is something we will need to continually come back to as we get further into our goals and we become more familiar with the tasks we choose to keep on our list. Once it takes us less time to do a task because we have become more efficient, then we can add another task to our list, or another repetition of an already existing task.


New To-Do List:

Don’t give up.

Be flexible with your to-do lists.

Be understanding and forgiving towards yourself.

Reflect on what is working, what will take more time, and what it is you truly need to accomplish.

Have fun with it!

One thought on “Too Ambitious for the New Year?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.