Why (and How) You Should Make Mediocre Resolutions
I totally encourage having big goals. But when it comes to something you want to stick with, like a New Year’s Resolution, you should set the bar lower.
Sure, slow and steady progress isn’t as intoxicating as losing 20 pounds by Valentines Day. But, if you want to hit your big goals for the new year, aiming low is best.
You’re probably super gung-ho about your “going vegan” resolution. And, a resolution to hit the gym 6 days a week instead of your usual 1, will be the perfect way to hit your fitness goals. Great, you’ll probably do awesome! For a week.
It is not that I don’t believe in you. And, it is not that you can’t make the positive changes you want so badly. But, it is that biting off more than you can chew by making complete overhauls to your lifestyle, will only backfire.
Read This: How to Change a Habit in 4 Steps!
Here are sane solutions to your extreme resolutions:
If your resolution involves going to the gym more, add 1-2 days a week to your current routine. Yes, even if you have no current routine.
Going to the gym everyday when you typically fit in one session a week, is going to be a shock. You’ll be sore, overwhelmed with what to do with your time there, and exhausted after a week.
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“That’s it!”, you’ll pretty soon declare, “I can’t do this anymore!”. And, you’ll be back to your old sporadic routine. Same goes with signing up for a race. If you recently started running regularly, a marathon may not be the best resolution. Start with a 5K, and see how you actually like running before going for an endurance race.
By adding 1-2 sessions, you’re not drastically changing your current routine, making it easier to stick to. Another option is increasing the time or intensity of what you do now. If you can’t logistically fit in more than your current 3 workouts a week, up the intensity of one of those workouts. Try adding sprints to your steady state run. Or, lift heavier weights for 6-8 reps, instead of your usual moderate weights for 12-15 reps.
If you’ve never made a weight related resolution, you’re in the minority. It’s an attractive goal, numbers are easy to track. But, if your resolution is to drop 30 pounds, it’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t see instant changes. Sustainable weight loss is not fast, and the scale is not the only way to measure progress.
Instead, make the process your focus. Weight loss is a side effect of treating your body right by making better choices. Take your measurements, a better indicator of progress than weight, and remeasure every 4-6 weeks.
There is nothing wrong with having a weight loss goal. But, understand that dropping weight, and keeping it off are different things. The latter is a process, not something that will happen the first month of the new year.
Much like fitness, if your resolution is to eat better, pick 1-2 specific things to change about your diet.
Going raw, vegan or cooking every meal is lofty, but after a week your cravings will get the better of you. And, it often won’t be just one slice of pizza that takes you down. “May as well eat the whole thing…plus those cookies!”, is a common response to the slightest slip up of such a strict resolution.
Instead, pick something small and specific. Swap water for soda. Aim to cook twice a week instead of once. Add a strength training class instead of doing only cardio. Once your new thing becomes routine, pick another small change to tackle. Like, switching from white to whole wheat (bread, flour, pasta), or adding a vegetable to 2 meals a day.
Read This: How to Cut Your Junk Food Habit
If your resolution is to get organized, focus on one area of your life, and one new system at a time.
A resolution to organize your work area, home life routine, and cooking strategy will start very ambitious. But, you’ll end up with a small loan towards The Container Store, and stress over remembering all the new systems you started.
Instead, identify what is most stressful that you’ve been saying you need a system for. If it’s bills, start there. Perhaps moving all your repeating bills to electronic payments for the same day each month.
If it’s your 10 junk drawers, start by going through them one at a time. Filter out what you use, and what you don’t. I found at least 8 keys that I had no idea what they unlocked!
Get comfortable with your new system, and make sure it actually works for you before tackling the next area.
Set Them. Crush Them.
Grab your Game Plan Printables and get on track today!
Saving more money and spending less, takes the same mindset as weight loss; slow and steady. When making a financial resolution, make one small and specific change in your spending/saving habits, then add to it.
Vowing to “save more” or “spend less” is very vague and extremely easy to justify your way out of. As in, seeing a dress that costs $175, but it’s on sale so you’re “saving”.
Instead, look at your expenses over the past few months and pick one area to cut back. Can you adjust the frequency of dining out, or set a monthly limit on what you spend at restaurants? If you sporadically switch money from your checking to savings account, set up a repeating deposit.
New Year’s Resolutions are intended to better ourselves.
Making extreme and drastic resolutions is incredibly enticing. You see yourself 50 pounds lighter by Valentine’s Day, or cooking vegan for your entire family every night. Oh, how healthy you will be! But if there’s one constant in adopting new habits, it’s consistency. The change(s) you make in January may be small, but doing them consistently will give you big rewards.
If you want assistance in determining an approachable resolutions, or would like help creating and sticking to a plan to get you there, I would love to work with you. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org today and together we will make your goals a reality!