I am as guilty as the next person for choosing an unsustainable New Year’s resolution. But, at long last, I have finally seen the error of my ways.
Year after year I would join a new gym, sign up with a personal trainer, or completely change my diet. Then, you guessed it, year after year, a few weeks in and it would all go caput. It wasn’t for lack of wanting or trying to make a change – it was that my goals were too hefty for my current lifestyle.
The key to an achievable New Year’s resolution is just that, it needs to be achievable. And sustainable.
Over the years I have realized a few things from my unsustainable resolutions; I am easily agitated and not the nicest person when I don’t eat carbs – especially bread, which is my absolute fave. Cutting out sugar had the opposite effect than intended, I found myself sneaking sweets all day and night. And having cravings I never experienced before. I can’t curl 30 pounds, even at my most fit, and honestly, I don’t want to.
Clearly, those goals were not right for me. And were three years of failed New Year’s resolutions among the many. Here’s what I’ve learned from my failed New Year’s resolutions.
How to Make an Effective New Year’s Resolution
Making an effective resolution is easier than you might think. First, you need to figure out what your goal is. Maybe it’s losing weight, introducing meditation into your life, spending more time with loved ones, or maintaining a to-do list to keep your days on track.
Whatever your goal is, break it down into steps. What is the first step you need to take in order to work towards your goal? If it’s losing weight then…
DON’T go all-in with a diet.
DON’T cut out major food groups.
DON’T start a super intense workout routine without ever having spent a day at the gym in your entire life.
Instead, choose one thing that you can start on January 1st that you can maintain before adding to it. Maybe you reduce the size of your portions instead of starting the new fad diet. Or you find a yoga program online that you can devote ten minutes a day to in order to get your body moving.
Small steps will help you with larger gains. Because once you have a handle on your portion sizes you can then think about adding an extra green into your evening meal before the next step of going from four squares of chocolate for an afternoon snack to three.
These are achievable goals. Even though it may seem like they are too small and will take forever to accomplish your main goal, they will keep you motivated and you can add to them rather than immediately failing because you bit off more than you can chew.
Continue Setting Resolutions After the New Year
Yes, this is a thing.
In fact, this is so necessary when you are taking achievable steps to reach your goal. A few years ago I made a resolution to create a morning routine for myself. It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution, but I treated it the same. I knew I wanted to wake up earlier, work out and stretch, meditate, journal, and who knew what else.
I also knew that I couldn’t go from waking up at 7:00 am to 4:00 am to fit that all into my routine and enjoy it. So three days a week I woke up 30 minutes earlier and started took a walk around my neighborhood. Then over time started to incorporate other types of fitness, such as weight lifting, cardio, and core programs.
After only a few weeks I added an additional morning during the week to work out, so I was up to walking four days a week. Then I set the alarm 15 minutes earlier and added in a stretching program to release lower back tension. A few months later I revisited my New Year’s resolution and by the 6-month mark, I was adding in meditation.
I pieced out what I wanted my resolution to be and took it step by step so I could introduce it into my life and make it maintainable.
Fast forward a few years later and my morning routine has totally evolved. Check it out here! It has completely transformed my life. On the rare occasion that I miss my morning routine, I feel totally off that day. It is a huge part of me and my favorite part of my day. And it started as a resolution that I pieced out to ensure its success.
Accomplish Your Goals With This Year’s Resolution
Now’s the time – well, really anytime is the time, to make your resolution. Just make sure it’s something you can maintain and keep growing. The point of a New Year’s resolution is that you have the entire year to give it your attention and energy. Use the year, revisit your goals throughout the year, celebrate your wins, and refocus when you lose steam.
This year I am focusing on my legs. Yup, that’s right. Leg day is my most dreaded workout of the week. So I am adding a pair of MonkeyFeet to my home gym. They will open up my range of leg exercises and help me achieve this goal. This is step one. I’ll figure out step two when I reevaluate my resolutions in a few months.
Statistically speaking, and from our own experience, we know, it’s not easy sticking with New Year’s resolutions. But who knows you better than you? Be honest with yourself and set goals you can achieve. Build momentum, bask in the triumphs, and revisit and adjust your goals as often as you need.
Join me in setting sustainable goals and achieving lifestyle adjustments that are important enough to us to add to our resolutions.