I’m not a big fan of New Years resolutions. Ironic that I’m writing a blog post on them, right? I guess I’m all for making changes in our lives (they’re necessary!), but I hate the way people go about them around January 1st. It seems like a shift in the calendar year is the perfect time to change everything in your life that you’re unhappy with, but it doesn’t exactly work that way.
Changing everything at once is a recipe for disaster. Effective change is gradual, so expecting to make a major change without that transition is going to be terrible. Are you trying to eat healthier? This doesn’t mean that you need to cut every sugar- and fat-laden junk food out of your diet. Try adding in more veggies and cutting down your portion sizes. Taking the things you are already doing and adding healthy habits that steer you in the direction you want to go is going to be much more effective.
Another reason I’m not a fan of making New Years resolutions is because I believe that we should consistently be trying to better ourselves, not just once a year. For me, I’ve learned that taking a good hard look in the mirror when things aren’t going my way gives me an opportunity to reflect on the things that are within my control and what I can do differently to get what I want. And when things are going my way? I still think it’s important to search for areas of improvement. Maybe this is just the perfectionist in me, but it’s gotten me places.
It’s never going to be the “right time” to join a gym or take up a new hobby or start taking more time for yourself. You are always going to convince yourself that you’ll “do it tomorrow” or “start soon”. January 1st is not the magical right time either. The right time is when you’re ready and dedicated to making a serious change.
Thinking of your New Years resolution as a lifestyle change instead of just a temporary change is going to make it last much longer. I learned this when I decided to cut carbs out of my diet and started working out on a consistent basis. It’s not about today or this week, it’s about how you are going to maintain this change forever. While you may not actually maintain this change forever, looking at it this way gives you the opportunity to look at long-term goals instead of just getting by with day-t0-day promises that can easily be broken.
While making changes in your life is certainly a good thing, remember that just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean that it’s the perfect time to change everything in your life. Taking things slow, changing one thing at a time, and thinking of it as a lifestyle change above all else is going to keep you on track to reaching your goals. And remember that, according to C.S Lewis, “you are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”