New Year’s Resolutions Suck: Other Ways to Make 2018 Great

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2017 is coming to an end and there’s a chance you’re starting to slip into that “New Year, New Me” mindset. But are New Year’s resolutions really worth the hassle? Losing weight, taking up a new hobby or quitting smoking—these well-meaning goals are oft-sought New Year’s resolutions, but some 80% of people report dropping them within a month. So what’s up with all these failed resolutions and what should you do if YourResolution.Sucks?

There are many reasons why people start the new year with the best of intentions—they need a change or are inspired by those around them trying to better their lives. But resolutions are often too vague or too ambitious. While every gym chain in America looks forward to impulsive sign ups, true healthy habits are hard to form overnight, so it makes sense that people get frustrated when they don’t see immediate results from their hard work. If you choose something like “lose weight” but don’t decide how you’re going to manage that, your journey is going to suck. If you want to take up a hobby, but your chosen pursuit doesn’t excite or engage you, it’s going to feel like a chore. If you want to give up one of your vices (cigarettes, drinking, junk food, shopping) but you don’t have a solid plan in place, you’re going to crawl back to your old ways.

But don’t throw in the towel just yet! If you truly want to make some changes this coming year, we have compiled a list of dos and don’ts to help you get started and—more importantly—stay on track.

Be Specific

Be specific with new goals
  • Don’t: “I’m going to lose weight.”
  • Do: “I’m going to work out for 30 minutes, 3 times a week.”

The first example is a result and the second example is an action. You aren’t in control of a result. Different bodies work differently. Your friend might lose weight by simply adjusting their diet, while you might hit the gym every single day and still see only the tiniest of changes reflected by the scale. Think about what you want to do—and what you can do—instead of what you want to see happen in the long run. You know you can work out for 30 minutes; it’s something within your control. So instead of worrying about numbers on a scale, think about how good your new habits make you feel, and how much better your long term health will be as a result.

Be Reasonable

  • Don’t: “I’m never going to drink alcohol again.”
  • Do: “I’m going to limit myself to drinking once a month.”

Barring an addiction problem, going cold turkey isn’t always practical or reasonable. If you want to cut back on a bad habit like drinking or eating junk food, be sure to give yourself a designated “cheat day”. This gives you something to look forward to and makes room for the inevitable special occasion (such as a birthday or work event) where you might want to indulge. An “all or nothing” mindset sets you up for failure and frustration. You’re only human and your goals should respect that.

Be Open

  • Don’t: “I’m going to learn to play piano.”
  • Do: “I’m going to try a few hobby classes and see if anything speaks to me.”

Playing piano would be great—but what if you’re just not that passionate about it? It can be expensive to start a new hobby on a whim and if it’s not something that speaks to you then dedicating time to perfecting your craft is going to feel like a total drag. Instead of “deciding” what you want to be good at, open your mind to trying new things. Try signing up for a few community classes and see if anything draws you in. You’re more likely to stick to it if it’s something that clicks with you, rather than something that just sounded good on paper. Maybe you have a hidden talent for French, tennis or card magic that you never knew to pursue.

The Takeaway

Forget about the typical, seemingly-obligatory resolutions—try to better yourself for your own sake, year round. Be understanding if something isn’t working for you and don’t worry about the occasional failure. Work on slowly building new habits that are reasonable and realistic rather than simply jumping into a trendy goal just because it’s popular. And most of all, have fun with it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Is part of your plan for 2018 to up your internet game? Don’t: “I’m going to build the best website on the internet.” Do: “I’m going to build a website where I can document a unique story in 2018.”

Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Kamil Macnia, Shutterstock / Dean Drobot, Shutterstock / areebarbar

 

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