With each New Year, individuals firmly resolve to make numerous changes in their lives. They picture themselves as being happier, healthier and more successful a few months down the road. They tell themselves they will go to the gym more often, embrace a healthier diet and stop being late to work on Monday mornings—among many other things. Sound familiar?
“Resolution number one: Obviously will lose twenty pounds. Number two: Always put last night’s panties in the laundry basket. Equally important, will find sensible boyfriend to go out with and not continue to form romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobics, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts. And especially will not fantasize about a particular person who embodies all these things”
–Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary
Unfortunately, the handwritten lists of New Year’s resolutions, products of wishful thinking, are more often thrown away and forgotten about then followed through with, until the following year when a new (and perhaps longer) list is produced.
The problem with these resolutions is that people quickly grow bored, tired and unmotivated. Although a person may stay committed to his or her resolutions for a few weeks, they often suddenly start to lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. They simply forget what they set out to do.
Perhaps it is time to approach the New Year differently. Rather than set resolutions, individuals can be more successful by embracing change and setting goals—in small and realistic doses.
Be Realistic: If you want to start exercising five days a week, but it’s been awhile since you’ve broken out the running shoes and workout clothes, you have to be realistic. Committing to 30 minutes of exercise, three days per week is a good start. Starting out the New Year by waking up at the crack of dawn and jogging for six miles every day probably isn’t going to happen. However, you can work your way there. Every couple of weeks, add 15 minutes to your exercise routine. Before you know it, regular exercise will become a part of your lifestyle, instead of a short-term goal or failed resolution.
Don’t Go Cold Turkey: If you are known to fall victim to the occasional carbohydrate binge, or are notorious for your sweet tooth, your decision to suddenly embrace a carb and sugar free diet probably isn’t going to last very long. Start by incorporating more protein, veggies and fruits into your diet. The reality is, if you see a piece of chocolate cake, you are still going to be tempted to eat it. Willpower doesn’t happen overnight. Maddie Kirkland, another student at USC and an advertising major said, “I love sweets, so I allow myself a bite here and there but no more. It’s all about portion control.”
Celebrate: Be proud of your achievements—no matter how small. Did you reach for an apple instead of going for the doughnut in the office break room today? Give yourself a pat on the back for that.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Everyone has setbacks. If you didn’t have a particularly “good” day when it comes to reaching your goals, don’t give up. Get back on track and move forward.
By realizing that “resolutions” are overrated, and choosing to set realistic goals that can be tackled in increments instead, you have a greater chance of being successful. Most importantly, never let an obstacle deter you from your path—keep striving to be the best person you can be.
Set Goals: Just about every client wants to lose weight and tone up. That is usually a given. What many do not realize is that those are often not the real goals.
Dig deep. What really motivates and drives you? We all want to look good and be liked but we also want to be healthy and happy along the way. Don’t ever lose sight of that!
Karen Jashinsky, Fabletics Master