I personally believe that this attitude is healthy and needed. If we don’t believe this year will be better, then how can we get through it? It’s an important aspect of collective and positive change.
That being said, the new year for those of us in the northern hemisphere might be cold and rainy and far from the energy vibe required to start the year full throttle. It's ok not to be ready and this is why many of us discover burnout before the end of winter.
I believe that the problem with most New Year’s resolutions is that they are too drastic of a change, and they require a dedication that many of us don’t have. Most of us are already overcommitted in so many other aspects of our lives. It's hard to see taking on more. If it were easy, the cliché of dropping them wouldn’t exist!
That being said, I do believe they are important, and a highly motivating and inspiring aspect of starting fresh. Change absolutely can come and your life can get better! Don’t throw the New Year’s resolutions out with the bathwater just because you don’t believe you can’t keep them. Set resolutions that are feasible to accomplish and start with baby steps if you will.
Here are some of the great ways to set a foundation for successful resolutions in the new year:
1 - Be vocal about them.
Many of us internalize our resolutions and think we’re going to jump out of the gate with sudden strong and lasting change. The reality of this method (especially if you live with family members) is that in order to keep your resolutions, you do need a certain level of support. Talk to your spouse, your roommate, or your parents beforehand and let them know what you’re trying to achieve. This provides accountability and logistical support. We must on some level work with the people that we live with in order to achieve our goals. The collaboration is necessary!
2 - Don’t set goals that are too lofty.
For example, saying that you’re going to run seven days a week for the rest of the year, when you may or may not have been running is not really reasonable. You need days to rest and recover and you need to allow yourself the space for life to happen. Perhaps a goal is not met in that day. That’s fine. It’s also ok to take a day off and then pick right back up. Think of the break as a means to increase the longevity of whatever goal you are trying to achieve versus falling off the wagon.
3 - Get something on the calendar.
My personal goal is to run more this year, and to do that in a way that feels organized and sustainable, I know that I need to sign up for a race. To get something on the calendar. It’s something to look forward to, and it provides structure for my work out. I believe anybody can benefit from setting a date with something to look forward to. It provides motivation, and a framework for achieving your goals. This also goes for work and play!
4 - Involve a few friends.
I think keeping resolutions is easier if you have a few friends involved to hold you accountable. It also makes it way more fun.
5 - Positively engage with social media.
If you are online using social media as a platform, try using it to hold yourself accountable. We all know there’s enough negativity on social media, but helping someone live up to their New Year’s resolution is not one of them. I personally love to see the challenges people set for themselves and find it inspiring when they follow through.
6 – Know if you're an abstainer.
Lastly, for some people, cutting things out 100% is much easier than allowing themselves a break, a bite of junk food, or a glass of wine. We are all wired differently when it comes to these behaviors and I believe that knowing yourself in this regard is an important aspect of creating healthy habits. I’m personally not an all or nothing person, and the idea of cutting something out 100% is more stressful to me than saying you can have just one. Some people are the opposite. I’m not saying one way is better than the other, but you need to know yourself to set yourself up for success.
Overall, I believe the fresh energy of a new year can be used in a way that is advantageous to all of us. No one wants to start off thinking it’s all going to be the same as last year. Believing that we can do better, the year can be better, and that we all have the capacity for change is a much healthier and more positive outlook!
Even if that isn’t necessarily true 100% of the time...
Cheers and best of luck!