Ask me how my New Year’s resolutions are going on Jan. 15, and you will most likely get an enthusiastic, spirited reply. The workouts are consistent, the diet choices are well on their way to driving McDonald’s out of business, the desk is organized and free of clutter.
Ask me how those resolutions are going on March 1. The monthly budget is going … well, it’s going. That determination to connect with old friends has become an intention. Workouts? Mmmm, about once a week … maybe.
Ask me about my New Year’s resolutions on Aug. 5. I will mumble something incoherent while deliberately not looking you in the eye … the same way I avoid making eye contact with the scale.
Yes, it is that time of year again. The time for those dreaded (yet always ambitious) lists of personal changes designed to make the world, at least your world, a better place.
Why are we so excited on Jan. 1 and yet so disillusioned as quickly as two or three weeks later?
For the last few years I have not even made any resolutions at the beginning of the year, as I knew I was setting myself up for the inevitable disappointments. “Why even bother?” I thought. But this year, I am trying it again. This time, I am listening to the advice of others who have taken the time to post their findings and experiences online. I thought I would pass a few along (along with my own tips and thoughts) to those of you who are joining me in this quest to overcome … well, ourselves.
Too many resolution lists consist of “Get a new job. Lose 100 pounds. Buy a new car. Get married.” The problem with this list is that as soon as one becomes unattainable for whatever reason, the others suddenly seem like pipe dreams and soon fall by the wayside. Instead, start on a smaller scale. Don’t try to lose 100 pounds in a month; just commit to an attainable and approved workout routine … even if just for a few days a week.
Don’t take your resolutions too seriously. The point is to improve you. If you wind up beating yourself up over your failures, you are defeating the purpose. Don’t stress yourself out with overly ambitious resolutions. Be flexible and adapt your resolutions to fit your lifestyle.
Throwing out the baby with the bathwater
One forbidden cheeseburger does not a resolution destroy. If you walk into a fast food restaurant and use the high calorie count of salad dressing as justification to get a full meal with extra-large fries and soda, that is no reason to give up on the entire resolution. Just as there is the beginning of a new year, there is also the beginning of each new day. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and use the following day as an opportunity to get that salad … and low-calorie dressing, if you can stand it (I usually can’t).
Make a plan, budget your resolutions
Resolutions rarely work if you jump in headfirst without a plan. Trying to set up a certain amount of savings? Calculate how much needs to come out of each paycheck to achieve that goal in a year’s time. If it’s a reasonable total, you will be surprised how quickly the money accumulates. It’s great you want to exercise more, but what have you done to get there? Set aside a deadline for building a workout or finding a gym. Set another deadline for having a consistent routine in place. A little bit of planning makes goals much, much easier.
Now that I have put it out there, I am not going to tell you what my resolutions are. But when you see me out and about and ask how the resolutions are going, you will have a pretty good idea if I look down and mumble while shuffling my feet.