With the start of a new year often comes lofty resolutions and goals that, more often than not, are soon abandoned. What usually accompanies this abandonment is frustration and depression over not being able to tackle the goals we set. Eventually, we have to ask ourselves–why do we do this? Why do we set ourselves up for failure and how can we change it?
The issue often isn’t our intentions or our determination, but with how we define our goals in the first place.
Most of us start the new year with a declaration of “I’m going to lose weight!” or “I’m going to get healthy!”, and while those are noble goals to set, they are way too vague and broad to attain easily. When it comes to setting an end point like “I’m going to lose weight”, there are countless ways to get there and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the possibilities:
Should I diet?
What kind of diet?
Should I visit a weight loss specialist?
Should I start working out?
Which of the hundreds of different types of workouts should I try?
Let’s look at joining a gym–easily one of the biggest new years resolutions. A major gym chain reported that they usually see a 40% jump in gym attendance in January but that number quickly plummets around February. In fact, studies show that most workout related goals are given up after about 14 days. 14 days! Forbes.com ranks gym memberships as one of the top ten money wasters since most of us not only stop going, but usually never cancel the membership either.
Again–“I’m going to go to the gym more” is a vague goal to set.
If you’re planning on setting a resolution for yourself in the new year, make it small and specific. That way, you won’t feel overwhelmed with too many options and choices and you’re more likely to actually see it through.
For instance, let’s say your goal is “To get healthy”. Let’s narrow that down and pick one specific healthy change you can make–like cutting soda out of your diet. It’s a small change, but can have a great impact on your overall health and is easy to stick to. You could take it a step further and substitute your usual cola with sparkling or fruit infused water. That way, not only have you cut out a sugar heavy beverage, but you’ve also added much needed hydration to your wellness routine.
Instead of joining a gym or buying a 20 class package at Pilates studio that you may not use, set a goal like–going for a 20 minute walk every evening. It’s not a huge commitment, you’re enjoying some outdoor time, and it’s free!
While it is the norm to make a resolution for the new year, always keep in mind that you don’t have to. No one expects you to make a big change just because it’s a new year and, sometimes, being thankful for the abundance that already surrounds you is resolution enough. Take time to be kind to yourself, dispel negativity and enjoy whatever exciting adventures 2017 may bring!