"21/90", "New Year-New You", "Resolutions"...
With New Years Resolutions hitting social media for everyone... What helps you keep on track?
Every year the same thing occurs for most of us:
- January 1st - After a very indulgent holiday season (for most) we feel the need to make a change for the 'healthier'. Our New Years resolution often is the byproduct of that. We vow to quit smoking, exercise X days a week, eat a more balanced diet, stop drinking, etc.
- January 2ndish - We hit the ground running... if the gym is our goal... we are THERE.
- Mid January - Still remember the goal I set... I'm adhering to it... sort of... but I realize that I've strayed and that will get me back on track. Kale salad for the next 5 days!
- February - It's cold outside... it's been cold for a while now... I deserve to cheat a bit on my resolution. I'm treating myself by (insert thing you're not supposed to do anymore here).
- March - Oh.. I can almost go outside without a coat to grab the mail... spring must be soon. I'm going to start working out again to get back at it after lapsing in February. I know I said I would go to the gym 3 times a week minimum... but 2 is all I can muster.
- April - I forgot to hit the gym in March as we had so many things going on... and that one week where it looked like it is finally spring. It snowed today though... so I guess I should revisit those goals.
- November - *Looks at bank statement* Oh geez!... I'm still paying for that "gym membership/kale of the month club/smoking cessation meditation app". I totally forgot about that... I'm gonna cancel it.
- December 31st - Boy.... this holiday season has really been unhealthy... I'm gonna change__________ in the New Year!
And Rinse and Repeat.
Does this mean that making goals for a healthier lifestyle is something we shouldn't do? Absolutely not. We should ALWAYS look to improve ourselves... at all times of the year; not just after indulgent times.
What constitutes a positive goal or Resolution?
A positive goal can be anything. Read that again, ANYTHING. If you feel there is room for improvement in any one part of your life and it is achievable, then you have your goal. If you always wanted to play in the NHL... but are now 'a little outside the 19 year old range'... maybe that's a bit unrealistic! However, if you, for example, want to exercise more and eat a diet consisting of less meat... you have something to strive for.
What can be done to stay on track?
A lot of things... my list may differ from yours... but I like to do the following to ensure that I stay consistent with my goals:
- Set an achievable goal.
- Break it down into smaller chunks. For example, if I want to eat less meat protein I set up a weekly schedule for non-meat days... no exceptions. Working out... I plan SPECIFIC days that I will work out... no exceptions (barring illness or injury of course)
- Consult a professional. If your goal is to become more fiscally responsible... but you have been less than 'responsible' in the past... how will that change without new information/teaching? Go to someone who knows about what you want to change.
- Penalize yourself for not keeping to your plan. Make it something that you will miss. Love watching hockey games? You can only do that when you're adhering to your set parameters. It's gotta be something that hurts to lose.
- Reward yourself for continuing your goal. This doesn't mean that you should reward the fact that you haven't smoked by grabbing a pack of cigarettes! Plan out a reward at a milestone... when you achieve the milestone you get a reward... but ONLY when you achieve it.
- Check in on your progress at regular intervals (i.e. at the end of each "chunk" you broke down your goal as in step 2)
Does this mean if you follow 'my way' of doing things you won't fall off course? No, but you're far less likely to do so.
Happy New Year to everyone... let this be a healthy year ahead to you and yours.