The great thing about the New Year is it is a time for change. It is a time when we evaluate all the things we don’t like about ourselves, whether physically or emotionally, and set goals for positive self-improvement. However, it is easy to lose the momentum you had at the start of January.
It is estimated that only around 8% of people succeed at their New Year’s Resolution (NYR). This is because more often than not, people go into the New Year quitting things cold-turkey, they set lofty goals, and/or they try to achieve too many resolutions at once. To ensure success with your NYR, you want to make sure it is attainable based on your current situation and is meaningful enough for you to stick to it for a whole year.
Before you decide on your goals and resolutions for 2018, we suggest you sit down and make sure your goals are SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. A SMART goal is one that is clearly defined based on the criteria above.
Easing Into It
Now that you have ensured your New Year’s Resolution is SMART, you want to recognize that you will not see change overnight or even within the first month for that matter. Therefore, instead of eliminating sugar cold-turkey, or jumping into running January 1, slowly work up to your goals.
The biggest part of a NYR is not checking items off the list, it is recognizing that you need to change and working everyday towards that change. There will be times when you fail at your goals. You don’t read each day, you binge eat cookies and cake, you lose your temper; but the measure of success is the overall change that you make and the steps you take towards positive self-improvement.
Therefore, don’t quit the first time you fail. Recognize that you did not achieve your daily, weekly, or monthly goals. Maintain the momentum you have on January 1 and wake up to a new day and a new beginning, every day.
Picking a New Year’s Resolution:
Are you the type of person that has a resolution always focused around dieting and losing weight? I know I am. And every year I never achieve what I was hoping for.
Therefore, beginning last year, I decided to make resolutions that are more measurable and attainable for me. Resolutions that are not “only eat chicken and veggies” or “lose 10 pounds”, but rather ones that promote positive thoughts and actions that in turn result in a healthier me!
I have compiled a list of 8 New Year’ Resolutions that promote the making of a better you, and they do not involve the scale.
1. Achieve a workout goal.
Last year, my NYR was to run 7 half marathons in 2017. I unfortunately was unable to achieve it because I injured my knee in April. However, this resolution was easily measurable and simply required me to fill out a form online to commit myself. I’m not saying sign up to run a crazy long distance, especially if you hate running. But find a sport or athletic activity you have always aspired to do, sign yourself up or tell a friend to hold you accountable, and work towards it each day. Remember start small — success will eventually follow.
2. Eat at home more often.
Sure, eating out is easy and fast. But do you know where the food came from or what it was cooked in? You may order the “chicken and broccoli” thinking you are being healthy, when in actuality you are eating half a stick of butter. Not only will your waistline thank you for eating in more often, but so will your wallet. Think about what you could buy with all the lunches you decide to pack or all the dinners you cook? Create an incentive to save your “restaurant cash” and buy a larger present for yourself.
3. Build a strong mind.
Your mind is your greatest asset. Put down your phone and play a game of Sudoku or complete a crossword puzzle. Mind games of these sort keep you thinking, improve your cognitive ability and can actually delay the onset of dementia.
4. Learn a new skill.
Take this year to learn something you have always aspired to learn. Whether it be cooking (with ourEat Well and Live Health Cookbook of course), gardening, or even learning a new language. Keep yourself busy, improving on your own personal assets and trying new things.
5. Set a reading goal.
I had a friend in college who set the goal of reading 1 novel every week. Now, how he managed to do that while taking a full course load at Georgia Tech is beyond me. Nonetheless, over time he became more knowledge about the history of the world and popular historical fiction, and inevitably, he improved his reading speed. You don’t have to read a novel a week, but set a goal to put down your phone and get your nose in a few books this year.
6. Learn more about history.
History is so important to our past and even to our future. Learning history is a great way to make yourself more knowledge, even if you just don’t want to seem ignorant about society. And it doesn’t only have to be world history, which can be boring I will admit. Learn the history of the church, the history of computers, or the history of really anything.
7. Make yourself vulnerable.
One of my biggest regrets in college was not putting myself out there more to meet new people and make strong connections with my peers. If you have the guts to really challenge yourself this year, your NYR should be to become more confident by becoming more vulnerable. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. Go to an event where you know no one. The uncomfortable feeling will fad after a few occasions and soon enough you will feel more confident in your own skin.
8. Focus on your feelings.
Take this year to really dive into how you are feeling on all different occasions. It may even be beneficial to keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings. By enabling yourself to recognize how you are feeling in certain situations, you can train yourself to harness appropriate responses. This can even help you improve the communication of your feelings with those closest to you.
Now you are armoured with the tools to create a successful New Year's Resolution. 2018 better watch out because you are on your way to taking it by storm!