People give a lot of flack for making new year resolutions – but when it comes down to it, a resolution is a promise to yourself that hopefully puts you on a path toward a goal – and what the heck is wrong with that?!
They usually have to do with improving some aspect of your life, and if it takes a new year to inspire someone to do that, I don’t see the problem! Could resolving to eat a little more green and a little less sugar help you be a healthier you? Could resolving to spend more time with your kids or to use kind words with your spouse lead to a better marriage and family?
One of the problems comes when we forget it’s a PROMISE and that if you are going to bother to make a resolution, it should be important enough for you to keep that promise. (We’ve talked about promises to ourselves before…)
The other problem comes with NOT HAVING A PLAN! Resolutions, improvements, promises usually involve some type of behavior, but if you don’t know what that behavior looks like it’s kinda difficult to follow through What does “being nicer to my spouse” involve? What does it mean to “spend more time” with someone? or to be “more charitable”? or to “eat better”?
That’s where the plan comes in!! Plans could be general or pretty darn specific:
- tell my spouse “I love you” every day
- give my spouse 3 compliments each day
- play a board game for at least 30 minutes with my kids on Monday, Friday and Saturday
- eat green veggies at every supper
- eat 1700 calories per day
- learn to run so that I can run 30 minutes without stopping
- run 30 minutes, 3 times a week
- volunteer at dog shelter 1 time a month
Plans can sometimes require tools as well – you need to gather the tools ahead of time. Do you need to learn how to count calories or come up with some low calorie meal ideas before the 1st rolls around so that you can stay in your 1700 calorie range? Do you need to purchase board games that are age appropriate so that you can keep the promise to play them with the kids? Do you need new shoes before you learn to run? Do you need to call and sign up as a volunteer before you all pile in the car for your first volunteer day?
You get the point…
3 years ago I started putting my “get to a healthy weight” plan together. I started in October deciding how I would change my daily eating habits (what plan to follow). I worked on meal plans – what would I be eating for breakfast/lunch/dinner – to make sure I knew how to buy/prepare the foods. I worked on my exercise plan – which wasn’t complicated – I began with 15 minutes on the elliptical and 3 leg machine exercises (the only ones I knew how to use) on 3 days a week. I also did a LOT of work preparing mentally… preparing for the “withdrawal” from junk foods I had read about, making online friends who would start the quest in January with me so that I wouldn’t feel so alone (I give this one the most credit for making it stick!), asking questions of those who had gone on that quest before me so I’d know what to expect…
And as with any goal, the promise/resolution should focus on behavior (not results). “I resolve to exercise 3 days a week and cut out sugar” is something you can DO and that you have control over. “I resolve to lose 5 pounds” might be a result of those behaviors, but you have no control over if or how fast that will happen. Just like “I will be nicer to my coworker that annoys me” is easier to control than “my coworker will become less annoying”
What promises are you making for yourself for 2014?
PS – If you need help making/keeping fitness related plans and promises – let me know! I can help with direction and maybe we’ll set up a group!