Torey here!! With the New Year approaching, we thought it would be a good time to bring up this topic. I’m not a huge fan of New Years Resolutions, mostly because I believe that if you are capable of implementing changes at any time of the year. However, the energy and motivation that accompanies this tradition can be useful for sparking healthy habits and encouraging self improvement, and for that we applaud it.
When making a resolution, people are often quick to jump to a resolution without enough thought, something that we are guilty of as well. As a result, many of the resolutions made fall by the wayside mere months (or weeks) into the year. Putting time into your resolution, planning for mishaps, and creating a system to hold yourself accountable are all things that can help extend that resolution further into the year.
Before getting to questions and tips to help you with your resolution, keep in mind that the power of positivity. Framing your resolution in a way that encourages healthy behaviors rather than discouraging bad behaviors can contribute to a positive mindset. For example, rather than saying “I am not going to eat out as much this year” try “I am going to increase the number of healthy meals that I cook for myself each week.” Habits are things that you DO and the goal should be replacing bad habits with good habits rather than just avoiding bad habits.
Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself when crafting a New Years Resolution:
- What are your wellness goals? A resolution is a great way to make a small change in your day-to-day life to work towards a certain end. Your resolution can certainly be the goal itself, but also consider making it a step towards a larger goal that you’ve been working towards. That being said, do you have an existing goal? If not, think about what you want to work on, whether it be physically (fitness & nutrition), spiritually, financially, or any or aspect of self improvement, and start brainstorming.
- What steps can I take to achieve my goals? Your resolution doesn’t necessarily mean achieving your goal by the end of the year!! Rather, it could be one small thing that contributes to you reaching that goal.
- Is this achievable? You want to make sure your goal is within reasonable limits based on other aspects of your life such as your job, family, financial, and other commitments. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t push yourself and shoot for the moon, but rather you should step back and evaluate how this goal fits into day-to-day life.
- What are my benchmarks and at what intervals? Breaking your overall goal into 3 or 4 smaller “benchmark” goals can help segment your year and give you smaller goals to work towards. An example of this would be if you want to lose 12 lbs over the year. Making a goal to have lost 3 lbs by the end of March would be a reasonable benchmark goal towards your overall resolution.
- What will I do to get back on track when life happens? There will certainly be life planned and unplanned life events that try their best to derail your aspirations. Realizing that there will be times when your focus may be shifted is important so that when these events happen, they are expected. Making a plan for dealing with these events can prevent discouragement when you are not able to stick to your resolution. One idea would be to allow yourself to “free-days” (excused absences if you will) where you can be resolution free. Another idea is to cut your resolution in half for that week (for example, if your goal is to go to the gym four days each week, allow yourself a week where you only go two or three times).
Tips for holding yourself accountable:
- Write down your resolution. Physically writing it down and keeping it somewhere that you’re going to see it everyday can work wonders as far as reminding you what you are working towards.
- Use a buddy system. Make your goal with a buddy! Discuss different options and also talk over what you’ll do to hold yourself (and your buddy) accountable.
- Do a trial run between Christmas and New Years. Try it out for a week! If there are changes you need to make to your Resolution you can discover it before hand rather than during the first weeks of the new year.
- Alter your resolution! If you discover that your plan isn’t working out a couple months (or weeks) in, change it! It’s much better to make it more achievable than to give up altogether.
Putting it into Practice: here is my New Year’s Resolution in the context of the previous content!
- What are your wellness goals? I think this past year I’ve made strides in strength and nutritional habits. Flexibility has always been an area that I think I can improve on so I am using my New Year’s Resolution to achieve my overall goal of becoming more flexible. Specifically I’ve always thought it would be cool to be able to do the splits.
- What steps can I take to achieve my goals? Dedicating more time towards my flexibility is how I am going to reach my end goal. Stretching consistently (aka a certain number of times per week) is how I am going to achieve this. Therefore, my resolution is going to be to stretch six days per week for a minimum of 10 minutes.
- Is this achievable? I think so! I originally wanted to stretch everyday. However, the commitment to this would have been constricting in other areas of my life when perhaps I need a little more flexibility (haha) in my schedule such as around tests or busy weeks in the hospital.
- What are my benchmark goals and at what intervals? I am going to take pictures at my attempts at both the front and side splits at 3-month intervals to compare my progress. While these aren’t specific goals, it achieves the same purpose of checking in periodically and monitoring progress.
- What will I do to get back on track when life happens? If something comes up that challenges my resolution, I’m going to give myself one week per 3-months where my Resolution can fall by the wayside while I focus on other things. During that week I am going to allow myself to stretch as much (or as little) as I want.
Hope this was helpful! Happy Holidays and we’re looking forward to all the great things that 2018 will bring.