Hello everyone! Happy New Year to all of you and I hope the new decade brings great opportunities and positive changes in your life. New years are often associated with new beginnings and resolutions. These resolutions may include changes in diet, losing weight and saving more money (Becker, 2019). However, a study reported that at least eighty percent of people abandon their resolutions before February (Abgarian, 2019).
Some of the reasons for abandoning resolutions is because it could be unrealistic, bring feelings of dread, and thus cause a lot of stress and pressure. Instead of telling yourself to “eat healthy”, if you set a realistic and attainable goal of eating a balanced diet at least 3 times a week, then it will be a goal that is easier for you to achieve, gain satisfaction and you will know how to move forward from there to be healthier (Latham, 2019). For example, after getting used to eating a balanced diet 3 times a week, you could set another goal to exercise at least 30 minutes a week and slowly increase that to 30 minutes daily.
Another reason for failing to keep up with resolutions is because people tend to make extreme changes in January. But, such changes should be introduced step by step and you should like the process of it. Making extreme changes could be stressful and you may not keep up with the changes after a while.
Avoid comparing yourself with others when setting goals. You have a different body shape, strength, and bone structure. You should aspire to be a healthy version of yourself instead of idolizing someone else. Instead of focusing on being thin, focus on being healthy. Ensure you set goals weekly instead of anything longer, such as yearly. This allows you to work with your own comfort level by adjusting your goals accordingly every week (Jaffe-Hoffman, 2019).
Before you begin listing your resolutions for 2020, you need to reframe your mindset. How often have we felt frustrated when we were told to do household chores as children. We were annoyed because we were told we “have to” do it. But, a child who is “allowed” to do household chores, show a more positive attitude. This is due to the switch from “I have to” to “I get to” that impacts a person’s belief and approach (Becker, 2019). So, instead of telling yourself that you have to eat healthy or you have to avoid chips and oily food, change it with “I get to choose healthier snack options such as eating fruits”.
Remember to start small. Most of the time, we start with a very big goal and that can be overwhelming. If your resolution is to save money, instead of deciding to save $300 a month, give yourself a flexible range such as to save anywhere between $100 and $300. This way, when you save the minimum of $100, you will feel an encouragement and you may be able to save more the next month (Morin, 2019). This also allows you to feel good on some months when expenses could be a bit more than usual because of social events and sales. Remember to find a balance between saving and spending. While it is good to save, remember to not neglect yourself. There is no harm in treating yourself to a good meal or a spa day every once in a while.
Important things to do
In general, most people have the desire to make more money and to be fit in 2020. But, in the process of chasing things that we desire, we tend to overlook other important things we need to do for ourselves. Below are some things we should take note of:
Not getting the amount of sleep you need affects your memory and attention. As you sleep, your body repairs itself to be better prepared for the next day. Remember to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every day. Some people may need more hours of sleep depending on your body and the work you do. Be mindful to what your body needs and act accordingly.
- Being mindful of your mental health
How often do we stop when we are in the middle of a task, and ask ourselves “how do I really feel right now?”. Our minds are always thinking about what to do next and we rarely pay attention to what our mind and body needs. In 2020, let’s be more mindful and question ourselves on how we feel and what we can do to make ourselves feel better. Do we want to stay at home over the weekend and just Netflix and chill with a hot cup of tea? Do we want to go hiking and connect with nature instead of our office desks and laptops? Do we want to meet an old friend for a cup of coffee? Do we just want some alone time in a cinema watching a movie by ourselves or do we need someone to talk to?
- Increase your social life
People tend to get caught up with work and things to do that we do not realise how much time has passed and that we are losing out on making memories. Being socially active benefits your brain. If a weekly commitment is overwhelming, start out with a monthly commitment in something you are passionate about. Join a program at your community club either to volunteer and help animals, spend some time with the elderly or to simply learn a new skill like painting and cooking. This will give you something to look forward to, provide a platform for you to interact with new people and allow yourself to learn something new.
While it is good that we have new year resolutions to earn more money, lose weight and eat healthy, these goals can get overwhelming if they are not specific enough and if they are a sudden and an extreme change in our lifestyle. Instead, let’s start slow with the goals and increase it over the months according to our comfort level. It takes time to change old habits. While we focus on these common goals, it is important to pay attention to our daily needs such as having adequate amount of sleep, nutrition and giving ourselves space to recharge. Let’s be kind to ourselves in 2020 because we all are doing the best that we can. I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and hope you get all the love you deserve!
Abgarian, A. (2019). Why you should stop setting New Year’s resolutions to exercise. Retrieved from https://metro.co.uk/2019/11/29/stop-setting-new-years-resolutions-exercise-start-working-now-11240019/.
Becker, J. (2019). Mind Matters: Rethink your New Year’s resolutions. Retrieved from https://www.wacotrib.com/waco_today_magazine/mind-matters-rethink-your-new-year-s-resolutions/article_8f808d86-c644-5f00-83fc-c071ecbdc7ea.html.
Jaffe-Hoffman, M. (2019). How to stick to your fitness New Year’s resolution. Retrieved from https://www.jpost.com/HEALTH-SCIENCE/How-to-stick-to-your-fitness-New-Years-resolution-612228.
Latham, D. (2019). New Year’s resolutions: Fitness, smoking (giving up) or saving money | Poll. Retrieved from https://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/6558228/tell-us-your-new-years-resolution-and-well-tell-you-how-to-stick-to-it-poll/.
Morin, A. (2019). I’m a psychotherapist, and these are the 3 biggest resolution mistakes I see most people make. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.sg/biggest-new-years-resolution-mistakes-most-people-make/.