Bringing the proper perspective to New Year’s Resolutions

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Ready or not, 2019 is upon us. Let’s talk resolutions. Over the years I’ve downgraded my resolutions from “Completely changing almost everything in my life” to “Let’s try to get out of bed by nine each day. Except Sunday, of course.” Like many of you, my intentions are generally good. It’s in the execution that comes the downfall.

It all begins with an annual resolution to get in better shape by eating healthier and going to the gym. Anticipating this resolution of dieting and working out, I spend mid-November through December stuffing my face with all the carb-loaded foods I can find. Seems only fair, am I right? Then January arrives and it’s time to turn over that new leaf. Off I go to the gym, with a shake in hand; no problem.

…Until about 4pm. When some bread and cheese sounds AMAZING (because I’ve had nothing but a shake and some carrots), and perhaps a bit of wine to wash it down. Okay, no worries, there’s always tomorrow. And so it goes and goes again. I fully grasp that change takes time, and that if I do nothing the months will go by and nothing will have changed. Come April, I could be basking in the slow but steady changes… if only I had stuck with it. But without being able to see immediate changes for the better, my motivation dwindles.

So, here’s what I propose this year. Let’s bring the proper perspective to this annual resolution roughness by separating New Year’s Resolutions from Life Changes.

It’s easy to pick a day, say January 1st, or your birthday, or what-have-you, and decide that will be the day you resolve to make substantial, difficult changes. Bear in mind, if they were easy changes you would have done them long ago. Alas, waiting sounds a bit like an excuse. Instead of waiting for an event, what if you start today? What if you pick small changes you would like to see with measurable goals, so you could see those small changes turn into big changes over time? Life changes, if you will. Instead of losing 20 pounds in four weeks, how about buying a calendar (yes, I have a smart phone, but there’s something about seeing your whole month in front of you) and picking three days a week you will go to the gym, along with a reasonable plan regarding food and drinks. For example, if you traded in those lattes for tea, you could cut out two thousand calories per week right there. Write them down and check them off. Adjust your expectations and take baby steps.

New Year’s resolutions, on the other hand, could become life-changing actions that involve fun. What if you resolve to take that pottery class you’ve always wanted to take? Time well spent, and you get some cool pottery pieces out it. Or start a blog about the great places to walk your dog around town? Or pick a game night for your family, and stick to it for the year? What if you made family resolutions, like choosing a new place to visit one weekend a month, where you research the best restaurants, picnic spots, and kid-friendly activities before you go? Perhaps a family dinner every week, where each of you gets to find a recipe and make whatever you choose? The possibilities are endless. Here’s to 2019…May it be filled with good health, happiness and fun-filled resolutions.

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