The Anti-Resolution Resolutions

The New Year always comes with the hope of new possibilities. You have a whole year ahead of you. Think of all you can achieve. It’s in this optimistic mindset that we tend to make our New Year’s resolutions each year. But the most famous thing about New Year’s resolutions is that we rarely ever stick to them, so here are a few attainable resolutions that you can stick to and be proud of yourself a year from now when you gear up to make the following year’s resolutions. Ultimately it’s about thinking in terms of habits, not massive, unsustainable changes.

Eat Healthier Without The End Goal
When most people come up with New Year’s resolutions regarding health, they tend to be focused on a specific achievement (i.e. losing twenty pounds or going on the paleo diet or completely cutting out soda). The problem with this is that diets and weight markers aren’t always the easiest things to stick to or achieve. We’ve all done it before: we start on a diet and it goes well for a week or two. Then, we cheat one day and that one day turns into two days and pretty soon we’ve given up and wake up in a drained pool surrounded by empty boxes of twinkies and smashed cans of Coors Original. The key to setting a health goal and sticking to it is to not be so strict on yourself. The reason diets don’t work is because we’re often so strict that we’re basically tempting ourselves to give up. The alterations to our existing routines are so radical that they are impossible to sustain. Instead, focus on something small and easy like eating two more meals a week at home instead of dining out so often, or having four dinners a week without meat or making sure there’s some sort of vegetable in every meal. These small goals, if implemented correctly, will often end up getting you to that goal. So come up with small changes you can stick to, ones that don’t feel too out of your comfort zone. Don’t focus on the end goal, just change your little daily habits in small but crucial ways.

Get Outside (The Gym)
A classic New Year’s resolution is “I’m going to buy a gym membership and go work out every day.” or “I’m back at the gym on January 1!” First off, there’s football on and we’re going to be hungover so let’s be real, it’s a nice thought. But this year why not free yourself from the shackles of the traditional gym. Whether you’re trading in the traditional gym for a high-intensity group fitness class (CrossFit, indoor cycling, boot camp) or actually, you know, going outdoors, we highly encourage a change of scenery. Simply changing up your location and routine can do wonders for your motivation and overall intensity level.

Save in Percentages, Not Dollars
People set various goals for their finances at this time of year, some plans are better than others. The point is: oftentimes our financial goals aren’t even attainable. The best and most attainable way to help your finances that I’ve found is to set a percentage of your paycheck to automatically go to savings. Whether it’s 1% or 5% or 20%, whatever you can manage, by setting this up, you simply don’t think about it. The money automatically goes to your savings, and you now have whatever you have left. After a few months, it really won’t even cross your mind. The percentage taken away will force you to spend less--a way more effective way to get you to spend less than just telling yourself to spend less. And by the end of the year, you’ll be surprised how much even just 5% will add up to be. Let tech be your friend too, there are a myriad of savings and financial apps out there that are ready and willing to help you get on the right path.

Create New Habits Rather Than Setting Firm Goals
Whatever you want to make New Year’s resolutions about (finances, health, style, business, relationships, personal happiness, etc.), the key is to create new habits rather than impose limits on yourself or even firm number-driven goals. If you create habits in these areas, especially if they’re ones that are positive and consistently attainable, you’re much more likely to be successful. Ironically, the key to achieving your goals is not to focus on the goal but to instead make minor adjustments to your lifestyle that you can stick with. It might be slower in losing weight to walk every day and eat slightly healthier meals than it would be to go on a crash diet and workout every day for a month, but the key is that walking more and eating a bit healthier are attainable habits, whereas diets always end, and few people manage to maintain the gym schedule they set out for themselves. This is why you see people’s weight balloon back and forth--it’s because they haven’t made alterations to their habits, so they always rebound back to their old ways.

Say “Thanks, But No Thanks” to Resolutions This Year
Of course, the best way to assure you won’t fail at your New Year’s resolutions is to not make any. Yes, seriously. The idea of a resolution as a thing itself is often what makes them so hard to achieve. Don’t focus on resolutions, just make this a year where you go with the flow. Sure, it might be nice if you lose those extra few pounds or save that extra bit of cash, but if the stress of keeping up with these changes is greater than the benefit of these changes, then what’s the point? You only have one life. Enjoy it. Don’t spend it trying to live up to goals you made for yourself and then being bummed when you fail at achieving your own self-imposed benchmarks. This doesn’t mean don’t try to better yourself ever, it just means do it at your own pace and in your own way.

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