New Year’s resolutions have become a tradition across the globe. At the same time, so has breaking them. So why in the world can’t we keep promises to ourselves? Main reason: we set the bar too high. While we of course want to create our very best selves, we also need to create a lifestyle that is sustainable, balanced, and one that we can enjoy day-in, day-out.
So instead of making sweeping, broad-based, near-impossible resolutions this year, how about trying to implement small changes that can improve who you are, how you feel and how happy you are, all year-long?
Here are five ideas to think about as you chart out your New Year’s goals.
Idea #1: Make one change a week, every week
If you love your morning coffee, are you really going to be able to give it up cold-turkey? If you have savings or health goals you want to accomplish by cutting out your daily caffeine fix, think about going about this a little differently (i.e. more realistically, and in a way that won’t make you miserable and ornery). Instead of cutting it out every day, maybe you go without it on Tuesdays. Trying to cut down on commuting costs? Take the bus to work on Wednesdays. And if you’re trying to make a habit of bringing your lunch to work, start with Thursdays and ramp up once you get the hang of it.
By setting small goals that you can get your head around, you’re far more likely to reach them and be encouraged to keep going.
Idea #2: Once a month, eat your house
No, not literally. But we’ve all had those days when nothing’s planned for dinner and we opt for expensive prepared foods or take-out to get by. Next time (and there will be a next time), eat what’s in your house instead. Chance are, you have some boxed pasta, canned goods, or something in the freezer that you’ll either have to eat or toss soon. As a result, you’ll save money, cut down on food waste, and likely start a more thoughtful shopping habit.
Idea #3: Embrace flex fitness
Fitness goals top the lists of many resolutioners every year. They’re also some of the first casualties, as gyms and fitness centres historically get jammed in January but open up again come February.
Most of us have busy schedules, and fitting in gym time can be tricky. While starting a new exercise regimen is always a great challenge to take on, it’s easy so easy to get sidetracked. If your goal is to exercise five days a week, don’t give up on the whole plan if you only fit in three workouts one week, or can only make time for two quick sessions another. Do what you can, keep it up, and stay flexible when it comes to your goals. Getting discouraged is enemy number one for new year’s resolutions.
Idea #4: Take a walk
Imagine you didn’t have a car for a week. If work, the grocery store, coffee shop or drug store are remotely within walking distance, get there on foot. You’ll save on gas, burn some calories, and hopefully start a healthy habit that counts towards your fitness and money goals.
Idea #5: Pay it forward
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to generally “be a better person”, you don’t need to completely change your lifestyle to do so. Consider doing small things in your daily life that can help you get there. Maybe that’s paying for the coffee of the next customer in line, giving a stranger an unprompted compliment, buying a sandwich for someone who needs it, or sending a card to a long-lost friend or relative who could use a boost. Small acts of kindness can make a world of difference to someone’s day.
Becoming a better version of yourself is possible, and a great overall goal to have. By making simple choices and small changes, you can improve yourself, make a positive impact in the lives of others, and in fact reach your New Year’s resolutions this year.
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