Happy New Year! Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? If you did, have you abandoned them yet? Because New Year’s Day is a holiday and my workplace observed the holiday yesterday (Monday), I decided not to start my New Year’s resolutions until today. So far, I am 100% on-track to achieving my resolutions, but it’s only been one day.
According to statistics, most of us (somewhere between 80-92%, studies disagree), will totally fail at our New Year’s resolutions. Why is that? Well, it seems most of us make resolutions that are either impossible to achieve or impossible to gauge success. For example, maybe you resolved to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle. Well, how exactly can you measure that? Technically, if you lose one pound, you have “lost weight.” But, I imagine most who resolve to lose weight want to lose more than 1 pound. And, what if you lose 5 or even 10 pounds but then gain it all back over the course of the year?
So, today, as we officially get back into our new year routines, let’s take a minute to re-vamp our resolutions and set ourselves up for success, shall we?
First of all, parse your list down to a few, manageable things. Any type of permanent change needs to come from a complete change in lifestyle. Lifestyle is not something that can be changed overnight. It must be accomplished by making small, slow, meaningful changes over the course of a long period of time. So, to make a permanent change, you need to determine what you would like to accomplish and then determine the specific, measurable steps you will take to get there.
I will use myself as an example.
Here is what I would like to accomplish in the new year:
- Lose weight
- Workout more
- Blog more often
- Try more new recipes/enhance my “regular” recipe rotation
To accomplish these goals, I have made only two resolutions. That’s it, just two. Easy right?
1. No more snooze alarm.
I blame this one 100% on the Taste Tester. I accept no personal responsibility for my addiction to hitting that snooze button. See, before I met TT, I was what most would consider a morning person. Not a super early riser, but throughout my childhood and teens I was always the first one awake at the slumber party. I was routinely awake by 7 am on the weekends, even in college. I rarely used an alarm and when I did I had no problem getting going in the morning.
Flash forward to life post-TT. Before we had our youngest dog (and also before we had jobs), we would sleep until 10 or 11 am. After meeting him is definitely the first time in my life I have slept past noon (which still only happened a few times). During my last year of law school, I didn’t take any 8:30 am classes because I knew it would be impossible to function at that ungodly hour of the morning. Flash forward until now and I am still struggling to get out of bed and to my job in the morning. And I have no excuse. TT’s job gets him up relatively early, I will laze in bed until 7:30 or 8 am. I will hit the snooze alarm for over AN HOUR some mornings. That is embarrassing!
So, this year, I resolve no more snooze alarm. Notice that I didn’t resolve to get up hours earlier or drastically change my sleep habits. I have simply decided that at night, before I go to bed, I will decide what time I can realistically wake up in the morning based on the time that I am going to bed and what I need to accomplish the next day. Then, I will actually get up at that time. That’s it.
This is a specific, measurable goal. It’s easy for me to determine if I have accomplished this goal. My hope is that if I stick it out through January, it will become a habit that I won’t even think about.
How does this relate to the list of things I hoped to accomplish? Well, my hope is that it will give me more time to workout, because on mornings when time permits, I will actually get out of bed to workout. This, in turn will help with my other goal of losing weight. So, by making one small, tiny change in my habits, I am hoping to accomplish a dramatic change in my lifestyle. Stay tuned to see if it works.
2. Try at least one new recipe every other week.
I started this resolution by typing, “try more new recipes,” but then realized that would be breaking my own rules of specificity and measurability. This is more of a loose, for fun resolution. My hope for this resolution is that it will help in three of my goals for the year. Obviously, it helps with trying more new recipes and increasing my regular recipe rotation. But my hope is that it will also lead to more blogging because I will have more things to write about. I also hope this will help in losing weight because my focus will be on trying healthy recipes. I have written about exactly what I am doing to accomplish this goal in my post about The Recipe Club. (Check it out here.)
If you are feeling frustrated with your resolutions already, take a minute to start over and re-check. If you want to change your life, you can’t afford to wait until January 2018. Your resolutions should be something you re-evaluate throughout the year.
To get started, take a few minutes today and think about what you are really hoping to accomplish and achieve this year. Dream big, but be realistic. WRITE IT DOWN. Now, take a look at your goals. For each goal, identify the very first step to achieving that goal. Bonus points if, like me, one step can accomplish multiple goals.
If your goal is to lose weight or be healthier, maybe the first step is giving up your soda or sugary coffee drink habit. Make it something specific and achievable. If you want to give up soda, it’s probably not realistic to think you will never drink soda again as long as you live. Maybe a realistic goal would be 1 soda a week or 1 soda a month. For the month of January, focus on those first, baby steps. Then, at the end of this month, re-evaluate. Have you achieved your goal? If so, great, what is the next step? If not, why not? Was it too lofty? Break it down into something even smaller and focus on that for February.
Many people resolve to change their lives at the beginning of the new year, but few ever achieve it. Make 2017 the year you join the 8% (or the 20%, depending on whose studies you believe).
Need help getting started? Share your goals in the comments!