So we’re into the second week of a brand New Year. How’s dry January treating you? How’s the spending ban, gym frequenting, healthy eating new you finding 2016? If you’re thinking fail, fail and yep, another fail, you’re most certainly not alone…
As Fail Friday fast approaches (the third Friday of the month when the majority of the population have already broken one, if not all resolutions), you can almost hear the collective mass exodus of people as they run kicking and screaming from their first (and last) spin class, whilst pubs and bars begin to once again fill up with happy (and most certainly not dry) January drinkers.
New Year’s resolutions are all very well and good, but why do we set such high expectations for ourselves which we almost certainly know we can’t keep? Why do we feel such a desperate need for self-improvement, when the 2015 you really was an OK person?
Our advice for New Year’s resolutions you might actually have a chance of keeping – start small, be realistic, and don’t limit yourself to a New Year, New You Mentality...
Don’t try to change everything at once
Do you know what the most broken New Year’s resolutions are?
- Lose weight
- Make – and save – more money
- Work out
- Get a new job
- Eat healthier
- Stop smoking
- Manage stress better
Now these are some pretty serious life goals right here, and whilst the majority of them are all for the better, it would take one hell of a strong willed individual to see even some of these through to the end of the year. Instead, why not start with a slightly smaller, more attainable goal, and work your way up. Take eating healthier as an example. If on the first of January you embarked on some crazy juice detox or decided to try out going vegan, good for you, but it’s not entirely realistic. Instead, why not start by assessing what you eat, and what needs to change. If you’re a huge meat eater, try going meat free one day a week. If you’re a carbaholic, try cooking an ‘eat clean’ meal 2-3 times a week. Understanding your eating habits, and educating yourself about the types of foods you should be eating and why, will go much further than a 10 day juice cleanse that only ever ends in a carb binge and tears.
Don’t use the New Year as a reason to psychoanalyse everything in your life
The whole fresh slate mentality can be a good thing, but it can also be a dangerous thing. If you feel discontentment in your job for example, don’t just jump to the assumption that getting a new one is the best solution. Instead, figure out the reasons why you’re unhappy – do you lack confidence? Are you not working on projects that excite you? Do you want to get paid more money? Why not pluck up the confidence to talk to your boss about the issues.
Or if you’re feeling unhappy in your friendship group, don’t immediately assume they are the ones to blame. Again, look at your behaviour and your output – could you do more to see your friends more often? Could you call that friend who lives on the other side of the world a little more regularly? Could you instigate a trip you can all go on together, to get the bonding juices flowing again? Sometimes we’re quick to lay blame on everything and everyone around us, when really the solution to the problem lies with ourselves. Start with yourself, and maybe those grand old new year’s resolutions don’t actually need making after all…
Don’t jump on the band wagon just because your friends are
So your friends are all on a no drinking, no spending, zero fun vibe. Snore bore. Unless you belong to the Southern Hemisphere lucky lot currently basking in the joys of summer, January is pretty much the suckiest month of the year – it’s cold, you’re broke from Christmas, and there isn’t a whole heap to look forward to unless you planned ahead last year and booked an early year getaway. Basically, January is not the best time to decide that fun is off the agenda. So just because you’re friends are on the wagon, don’t be coerced into thinking you should be too. Why not see the month as an opportunity instead – go check out a cool new restaurant or bar, visit a part of your city you’ve never seen before or better still, step foot into a brand new country. There’s nothing like a sporadic January vay-cay to blow the cobwebs away…
Don’t make resolutions just because it’s January
The tradition of New Year’s resolutions began around 4000 years ago, and since then it’s simply become the norm to set ourselves up with challenges every 1st January to complete in the coming year. But you know what, traditions are made to be broken, so why confine yourself to January when you could make resolutions in any month you God damn please – March seems a pretty good option (once you’ve finally recovered from post-Christmas depression), as does June (midway through the year). Or, alternatively, why not set yourself mini resolutions each month. That way, instead of starting the year with the seemingly impossible task of losing weight AND getting a new job AND being a better person, you can actually devote more realistic time frames and targets to each resolution, thereby making them more likely to happen.
Don’t beat yourself up if you fail
At the end of the day, if you fail ten times over, it really doesn’t matter all that much. Sure achieving goals and committing and actually finishing things is super important, but if you’re not really trying that hard, it can’t have been all that important to begin with. Ultimately the only goals and resolutions that matter are the ones that make you happy or grow your confidence and belief in yourself, so if you’re feeling miserable as you cry into your bowl of kale every night, just give it up and go get a pizza. Everyone deserves a treat once in a while, the kale will still be there in the morning.