We’ve all heard the phrase “New year, new you”, like we are going to wake up on January 1st and everything is going to be different. As if, with no effort at all, we are going to eat healthier, start exercising, stop smoking, get a better job, save more money or whatever the case may be. When in reality, it’s just big businesses way of selling gym memberships and Nutri-Bullets.
Millions of people set New Year’s resolutions and over half end up failing. One reason for this is that we don’t think through these resolutions and tend to make very generalized statements. Instead of jumping into the new year and trying to change everything about your daily routine, focus on small sustainable changes. Think about things that really motivate you and be specific as to how you are going to accomplish your goals.
If your goal is to eat healthier, try eating more chicken instead of red meat, adding one more serving of fruit per day or bringing your lunch to work instead of eating out. If you want to start exercising, buy a fitness watch and set a daily step count (the American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps per day). Keep your goals realistic. For example, instead of saying you will go to the gym 7 days a week try starting with 3 days and work your way up from there.
If you want to stop smoking, what steps are you going to take to get there? Are you going to use the patch, the gum, or quit cold turkey? When are you going to ditch the smokes? Tomorrow, next week, next month? Do you have a support system to turn to on the days you are struggling? Break larger goals into smaller milestones to help them seem more attainable.
When setting goals, don’t try to pile everything into one year. You probably can’t climb Mount Everest, travel to the Amazon, and backpack through Europe all in the same year. (If you can, call me we need to be friends).
Keep in mind, you don’t have to wait until January to decide you want to set a goal or focus on your personal development. You can do this anytime throughout the year.