It’s no secret that most resolutions don’t last beyond March. But maybe that’s because we take on too much at once. Sure, we’re all hyped up at first to hit the gym every day. But that much change is just too much to sustain in the long run. So instead of setting ourselves up for failure, let’s try some more reasonable goals for 2020.
- Water – want to get healthier? Make a resolution to drink 2 more glasses of water a day than you currently do. DON’T set a goal of 8 a day if you drink none now. You’ll just burn out on that. You’ll get there eventually. Right now, just drink more than you did before, whatever that looks like. I LOVE these water bottles that have hourly goals, like this one from Uncommon Goods. Another trick is the reward system. Use something you love now (for me, it’s coffee) and alternate that reward with your goal. For example, if you usually have a cup of coffee in the morning, make that cup (and each thereafter) a reward for drinking a glass of water first.
- Diet – Diets. Don’t. Work. Not for the long run. Not when you go into it thinking it’s a temporary fix. If you do a fad diet that you can’t sustain, the weight won’t stay off. We are humans. We don’t adapt to change quite that quickly. Take it slow. Do you do fast food every day? Cut back to every other day or three times a week. Want to eat more vegetables? Start with one serving a day. Evolve slowly. Diets won’t make you healthier. Skinnier? Maybe. But healthy change comes from a lifestyle change. A permanent one! So don’t bite off more than you can chew (pun intended). Another tip: Craving a sweet? Find a single serving cookie in the bakery. DON’T buy a whole package when you are only craving one. If you buy a package of cookies at the store, you’ll likely eat a package of cookies at home. Recipe for failure (pun intended). Cold turkey sucks. Ween yourself off of your vice if you want lasting results.
- Exercise. BLAH. BLAH. BLAH. God I hate the gym. And if you do too, you’re not going to do it for long. You have to find something that you are passionate about that also meets the goals of your health. For example, you want to have a stronger heart but hate the treadmill? Try the elliptical (FABULOUS if you like moving to music). Love nature? Get out and hike, bike, or climb. Again, make your goal significant YET ATTAINABLE. Try for one day a week first. 30 minutes of something that makes your body move. A walk while listening to an audiobook, a dance class once a week. Something that you don’t dread doing that will still get you off the couch. But you HAVE to enjoy it. If you hate it, you’ll find any excuse to not do it. Other ideas: Park at the far spot in the parking lot and walk to the store, take the stairs instead of elevator, eat your lunch while walking around the building.
- Spending – This is a fun one. Who doesn’t like shopping? And it’s easier than ever to get carried away with spending money (thank you Amazon). If you have it to blow, go crazy. If you don’t, there are a few things you can do to lower your spending. Do you have accounts with online retailers? Do those accounts keep your credit card on file so you can just click to buy? Dangerous. If you have a bad habit of shopping for things you don’t need, try logging out of your account every time you use it. That extra step of logging back in might make shopping just a little less convenient. Or, don’t keep your card on file, for the same reason. You’ll have time to reassess what’s in that cart when you’re fishing for your card to enter your information. For shopping in stores, don’t go to a store if you don’t have a list. And on your list, give yourself one or two “wild cards”, each with a low price limit, so you can still feel like you’ve binged a little, but not so carelessly that you’ll get a stomach ache at the checkout. If shopping is your therapy, like you wander into a store when you’re bored and you don’t really need anything, careful. This one could get you into a lot of trouble. Try a thrift or dollar store! Same therapy, cheaper price tag. If you have a really bad habit of overspending, leave your cards in the car. Take in cash only. You won’t have the choice to spend too much.
- Saving – Almost every checking/savings account has an option (or even a requirement) to do weekly or monthly transfers. Set up your transfer to coincide with your payday. Set $10, $25, $100, whatever you can spare, to transfer into your savings account from your checking the SAME DAY you get paid. If you don’t see it in your checking account, you’re less likely to spend it. And it’s always over there in your savings if you decide you do need it, so you still have that security. Also, have TWO savings accounts. Use one as needed to cover your checking, forget about the other. I mean if you have an unexpected expense, figure out how to pay for it like you don’t have that second checking out. Pretend it’s not there. Sell something, pick up overtime, whatever. Use the forgotten savings account as a last resort only. Don’t get into the habit of using it to cover expenses, or it’ll be gone before you know it.
- Yes, it’s a thing. And a very important part of a healthy lifestyle. So what can you do to improve yours? Lots of things. First, cut back on social media. If you’re on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram daily, you’re taking in DAILY negativity in the form of gossip, political arguments, and comparing the reality of your life to the pseudo reality of someone else’s… That’s a recipe for depression and anxiety. If you’re a social media slut, cut back to a few times a week. If that’s too much, start with one day where you listen to music instead of the time you usually get on SM. If you have the apps on your phone, LOSE THEM. Make yourself log in to a web browser. Get those gossip pools as hard to access as you can.
- Positive Thinking – There is a LOT of power in how you think. About people, the world, yourself. If you only focus on the negative things your life, you are going to be MISERABLE. And, you’re going to affect your physical health as well. Make a practice to wake up with a gratitude journal. It starts your day focusing on the positive. Super easy to do, with great results for your day. I’m a big fan of this 5-minute journal from Amazon. It’s only five minutes a day to a happier you. Teach yourself to focus on the positive things around you, and you will change your thinking. Hate your commute? Love the fact that you have a job, because many people don’t. Frustrated with your kids? Many people endure great heartache because they can’t have them. You get the idea…
- Self-Love – What would you do if someone was throwing insults at your BFF? If someone was putting your kid down, would that piss you off? Do you do put yourself down? If so, why? Why are you more protective of people around you than you are about yourself? If you catch yourself putting yourself down, make a note of it. Make yourself say three positive things about yourself to take away the negative. Self-acceptance and self-love are the foundation of a happier and healthier you.
Whatever resolutions you make this year, the trick is to take baby steps. Lasting results come from permanent change, and too much at one time isn’t sustainable. Good luck on your goals! You can do it! Happy New Year! – Wendy
If you want more ideas, HERE are some great ones to consider.