Just like the start of every New Year everyone sets out to make new goals which for most start to dwindle away within a couple months. I don’t believe in New Year resolutions because I think you should set new goals for yourself throughout the year depending on what is happening with your life. There is no problem in setting new goals for yourself for the New Year, but be prepared to modify them depending on what life throws at you throughout the year.
A good way to set yourself up for success with goals at any point in your life is to set small goals instead of one big goal. This is the reason a lot of people fail at resolutions and goals in general; the goal is too big and something they have never done before so they quickly get overwhelmed.
Popular New Year goals are exercising more, eating healthier, stressing less and reading more. These are great goals and with all of these it is possible to conquer them with little goals throughout the year to see real change.
Here’s how to do it for each one:
Think about your schedule and what is realistic for you. For a lot of people working out 5-6 days a week is just not doable, especially if you are trying to get to a gym which takes more time and have traditional 9-5 job with a commute. Instead of jumping in and trying to commit to 5-6 days a week start with 2 days a week and think about what these 2 days would look like. Schedule these 2 days into your schedule as if they are an appointment you cannot miss! If you don’t think of it in this way then you will blow it off.
Day one could be a long walk or a quick high intensity workout at home with a YouTube video like these and the second day could be on the weekend when you have more time and can make it to the gym. After a few weeks of conquering these 2 days a week workouts then see where you can fit in a third day and what that third day would look like. Continue to add on from here, possibly another day or a new type of workout.
It doesn’t matter how long your workout is, just as long as you get your body moving and get that heart rate up!
Eating Healthier This one can be a lot like exercising, you have to think about your schedule and what is realistic for you and your life. Again, set a goal to commit to one or two homemade healthy meals at home. Yes, there are A LOT of meal kits and delivery services out there and some of them are healthy and will help you with your health goals, but the majority of them won’t. It has been proven that cooking at home helps with eating healthier, losing weight and spending more quality time with your loved ones.
Find a meal that is easy to make and schedule in a time to make it, don’t try to start out with being a gourmet chef. Do this for a couple weeks and then think about where you can add in another homemade meal during the week.
A great way to stay on track with this goal is to meal prep for all your meals if your life is that busy. Choose one day a week to make a bunch of food that will be ready to go all week. Set a small goal with meal prepping as well so you don’t get overwhelmed. Start with making a couple things on a free day such as some grilled chicken breast and cut up some fruits and vegetables so they are ready to grab and eat. Then on your next free day think about other foods you can meal prep and store in the fridge for the week.
Stressing Less This one can be tricky because with daily life there are a lot of stressors. However, practicing breathing and meditation can be very beneficial even if you only commit yourself to practicing these techniques for about 5 minutes a day. Think about the best time of your day when things are calm and quiet and schedule in at least 5 minutes to practice mindful breathing and meditation.
Just like with the previous goals start with a couple times a week and actually schedule this in as if it is an appointment you cannot miss. I have found that first thing in the morning or before bed is the best time to do this while everyone is asleep. Stay in a room where it is quiet and where you can shut a door and practice mindful breathing and meditate for as long as you can, even if it is just a few minutes.
After a few weeks add in an additional day and/or try to go longer than just a few minutes. Here are some great resources for you to learn how to practice mindful breathing and meditation. https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/meditation-101-techniques-benefits-and-a-beginner-s-how-to https://www.mindful.org/a-five-minute-breathing-meditation/
Reading More This one can be surprisingly hard for people and I think that TV and social media are mostly to blame for this. Reading is great for stimulating your brain, reducing stress (depending on the book) and helping you to fall asleep at night by helping you turn of your brain and relax. Yes, it so much easier to just sit on your phone and watch videos or scroll through social media, but I have found when I actually just pick up a book, I quickly am engrossed with what I am reading and happy that I put down the electronics.
When trying to find a good book it usually takes the first few chapters to find out if you are really interested. If you are not interested, then stop reading it! Your brain will start wondering and before you know it you are back on your phone looking at Instagram and don’t want to pick up another book. After finding a book you enjoy then start reading gradually. If it becomes a chore to read every day then you are more likely to give up. Also, don’t start off with a giant novel, pick a book that is shorter that feels more doable. Pick a couple nights a week and carve out time to sit in bed and read a chapter, or half a chapter if that feels more feasible. Then gradually add in more nights of reading and more chapters.
If you have found a great book you will soon look forward to bedtime so you can read and you will also find that you fall asleep easier. I am very picky with my books; I go through a lot trying to find the best one that will keep my attention. I like to use the website GoodReads to help me find a great book. There are a ton of books on there with a lot of reviews which is very helpful. Another thing I have realized is that I don’t need to try and force myself to read a book just because it is super popular and it seems like everyone and their mom loves it. I have tried this and I end up picking up my phone instead because the book is boring me to death.
It is always great to have goals and feel like you are striving to be better, but don’t let it overwhelm you or make you feel like a failure if you slip up or miss a day of conquering that goal. You will fail some days, that is just life and that is okay. What makes you a success is not letting those failed days derail you, there is always a fresh start the next day where you can learn from your mistakes and try again. There also may be multiple days where life just in gets in the way and makes it difficult for you to work out or eat a healthy meal and this is just fine!
Keep in mind that change takes time, don’t expect to see immediate results within a week. With a lot of these goals you will feel a difference in your body and mind before you start seeing a physical difference, but those that do things gradually are the ones that see lasting results.
Good luck with your goals in the New Year!