New Year’s resolutions are a popular way for many people to make a vow to themselves to make one or more significant changes in their life. Often, when the enthusiasm is high and any sense of failure seems remote, people start out at full steam. Plans to hit the gym seven days a week and eliminate every evil eating and drinking habit effective with the first day of the new year fuel every ardent heart. Making these wild promises to yourself for the new year is often a way to sooth the guilt of over-indulgence during the holiday season.
Fast starts often lead to a quick crash and burn scenario. After all, it’s hard to change and it’s even harder to change on a dramatic, sustainable level. If lasting changes are really your goal, you might want to take a different approach to your resolutions this year.
- Start out looking at your week as a whole. Instead of feeling like a failure when you miss your visit to the gym on day two and abandoning your resolutions as hopeless, start out setting reasonable goals to be achieved in a weekly period. Going to the gym three times in the first week might be very achievable. You are not committing yourself to daily perfection right from the start and you always have time to redirect your actions. At the end of the week you can then more easily pat yourself on the back for having met your goals.
- In a similar vein, don’t force yourself to revamp your eating habits effective immediately. Using that same weekly schedule format, determine to make sure that five of your meals are healthy, grain and vegetable based, low-calorie options. You can’t make sweeping changes all at once and you shouldn’t really try to do that. Sustainable change is a slow and steady process.
- If one of your resolutions revolves around money matters, you can start small there. Increase your savings, or start if you haven’t been saving at all, by one percent. Add an extra twenty dollars to that expanding credit card bill. If you don’t know where that extra money is coming from, take a good look at some of your discretionary spending. Eat out one less time this week. That will benefit both your savings goal and your healthier eating goal.
Each of these steps addresses your actions in the first week of your new resolve. It doesn’t stop there. Each week, or at least every other week, increase your efforts in some way. Add an extra gym session or increase the amount of time you devote to the existing ones. Consider improving your breakfast choices in addition to the five vegetable based meals you’ve incorporated in the earlier weeks. As far as that one percent of savings or twenty dollars on the credit card goes, see what you can do to increase your efforts there. If there truly is no extra money to put against these goals, consider taking on some part time work with the intent of strengthening your financial foundation. A little extra effort today will result in a more comfortable lifestyle in the future.
New Year’s resolutions, when successfully employed, really can move you towards your goal of being the best person you can be. Permanent change is usually gradual change. If you approach it that way, you are well on your way to success.