I’ve written about New Year’s Resolutions before, and this won’t be the last time. It’s finally getting cold here in Jersey and you can’t find a department store not shoving Christmas down your throat already. With the change of seasons comes wardrobe swaps, pumpkin everything and healthy living obstacles. There’s a vicious annual cycle I see a majority of us go through:
- January: “New Year, New Me”. You put a plan in place (generally, a pretty aggressive one that is light years away from your habitual lifestyle). Kale smoothies, zero alcohol, gym everyday. Game. On.
- February: Feeling pretty good. Still getting to the gym a few times a week, but how can you not have a drink at Friday night happy hour.
- March: Uh. It’s cold. When’s spring coming? The gym still takes your money but you’ve found a few reasons to skip your evening spin class. Especially as your 1 drink happy hour has turned into 3-4 drinks and a burger.
- April: Wait; where’s the gym? It’s fine. As soon as it gets nice out you’re heading outside to run and enjoy the spring weather. Until then…
- May: Panic. Memorial Day Weekend is around the corner. Back to cardio-ing your brains out and salads. #sohungry
- June: Weekend plans start and they never NOT include a libation or four. Who wants to spend an hour inside lifting weights on such a beautiful spring morning?
- July: It’s too hot to go outside. You’re knee deep in BBQs. You only live once.
- August: You’re going to finish this summer with a bang and once Labor Day Weekend is over, it’t time to get back to the grind.
- September: The kids are in school and you’ve enrolled them in 80 after school/weekend programs and sports. There’s barely time to brush your teeth let alone take 40 minutes out of your day to exercise and eat a decent meal.
- October: Why isn’t the sun up yet? Snooze. You’ll be sure to get your work in tonight after the kids get to practice. If not, then tomorrow.
- November: So. Many. Holidays. They are coming and the hors devours are not forgiving.
- December: It’s okay. You’re going to enjoy the rest of the holidays. January is coming. “NEW YEAR, NEW ME!”
Does any/all of this sound familiar? Again – it makes you normal. I’m not pointing this out to criticize you for how you live or what you chose to prioritize. But, does it make you think? Why is it so easy to set these massive goals at the beginning of each year with a blanket plan of simply “getting healthier” only to sabotage our own success? And this seems to happen year after year? What if you decide to take a different approach this time around? What if you decide that you don’t need a new year’s resolution? What if you started right now?
Hear me out.
I get it. You’re sick of hearing, it’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle change. Sorry, folks. You can’t get any more real than that statement and anyone who has found their way to a happier and healthier life will be the first to tell you it didn’t happen over night; or just because it was Monday… or just because it was January 1st. They didn’t ride the success train for 21 days, 6 weeks, or 3 months. There are stumbles, there are falls, but there’s always getting back up. It doesn’t matter the month, the season or the ultimate goal. It’s consistency.
Let’s pretend Sally is looking to lose 20 pounds in 2018 and run her first 5k sometime in the process. If she knows that she wants this and this year will be her year of achievements, why wait another 2 months? In my experience, it’s the “waiting period” that people gain excess fat and lose motivation. What if Sally started to take some small steps now? Without overwhelming herself, she can make micro-changes over the next couple of months that not only get her ready for 2018, but they guide her through the holiday party scene and she may even start the year off better than she has in years. How simple can these changes be in the next 2 months?
- Sally commits to drinking more water. She’s got a 32oz bottle she is determined to fill up twice. That includes the weekends.
- Sally joins her local gym (they are now AS LOW AS $10/month…) and commits to walking on the treadmill during new episodes of This Is Us and Will and Grace. For the nights she can’t make it, there are some solid YouTube 30 minute at-home workouts she can get in.
- Sally searches the web for some fresh produce delivery services. She goes through a few trials at reduced prices, knowing that this time of year you can get any deal you want as companies are gearing up for new year’s resolutioners. Plus, she has cut out her 3-times per week dining out so she is saving money there.
- Before Sally heads to parties/happy hours with coworkers, she snacks on some of her favorite veggies and tzatziki dip and finishes up her bottle of water; better than heading there ravenous.
- Sally has downloaded one of the hundreds of free meditation apps to use before she goes to bed. This is helping her nights feel more restful. Mornings are slightly less terrible.
- While she’s at it, Sally found another free couch-to-5k app. She’s not ready to run, but the guidance on walking is helpful. Running a 5k sometime next year is starting to feel a little less aggressive.
- Yoga has always been intimidating to Sally, but she convinced her friend to check out a local studio with her. They were more than happy to give her a free intro class to test it out (as many, many studios and gyms will be obliged to do as they want your business) and made her feel comfortable. Imagine that? All these years Sally has talked herself out of something she’s wanted to do before she has even tried it?
Did Sally complete all of these in one week? No way. It’s too overwhelming and she needed to adapt them to her lifestyle. These are all small, simple life hacks. So, why would a simple calendar change be the reason you make massive, life-altering changes? If you, right now, today, this week, are capable of full-steam-ahead once the year changes. You are not alone in your desire for a healthier mind and body, but you are the only one capable of making those changes. Motivation fades. Intentions change. Life throws you curveballs. Your ability to handle them and work through them is your strength.
Starting today, you have 11 weeks to gear up for 2018. By January 1st, you could already be running a mile, down 5-10 pounds, squatting half your body weight or gaining the confidence to attempt your first crow pose. Time will pass anyway – allow it to let you grow. You don’t need a new year’s resolution.
How will you #FightTheResolution2018 ? Tag me in your posts with that hashtag and let’s see what we are doing to enjoy the here and now.