While it may not be a New Year for everyone just yet, New Year’s Day as a concept is revered and held to one of the highest esteems in most cultures. It’s a marker of time and growth. Last year is officially in the past, and whatever baggage that came with it can be thrown away with the weekly garbage. And throwing out the trash comes with space to bring in the new. Enter, New Year’s Resolutions. Did you create a work out plan? Maybe you chose to clean for 15 minutes everyday to stay ahead of the midterm messes. One of my resolutions was to write something creative everyday, and I can say confidently up to the point of writing this article, that I have consistently written at least 20 minutes each day (is it only Jan. 7? maybe).
No matter what you chose — if you chose anything — there is an air around New Year’s Resolutions. The fact is, most resolutions are never completed, but I want to look deeper than that. Why are we so confident in ourselves on Jan. 1 but indifferent on the 31? I can’t remember if it was a teacher or counselor who had told me this, but it sticks with me for any goals that I make, and especially resolutions. The best way to stick with a goal is to A: be very realistic with yourself, B: be specific in your goal, and C: understand there will be days that you don’t satisfy your goal, but that doesn’t mean you should quit. Changing these little but important caveats could be the difference between completing a goal or forgetting completely about it.
Being realistic with yourself is imperative. If you were sedentary all of 2022, don’t expect yourself to immediately be able to do a HITT workout every day. However, you could set up a schedule with a trainer on campus at RIMAC to create a plan best suited for your fitness goals! For example, I want to save money each month for holiday and birthday gifts, so I don’t feel like I am scrambling and having to choose between buying gifts or groceries; however, I know in the past I have ended up dipping into it on weeks that I may have had a lighter paycheck. To be realistic with myself, I set the goal that I will save the money on store-specific gift cards and have them saved together. Will this work? I have 11 months to find out! However, even if it doesn’t, I know I was more realistic with myself, and thus, I didn’t set myself up for failure.
I cannot stress enough that having specific goals is one of the most important parts of keeping them. To me, being specific is like putting responsibility on yourself. It sets the intention and the task plan. When you are too broad, it can almost be like absolving yourself of the responsibility of finishing. If you don’t know the end goal, how can you be at fault for not completing it? Going back to fitness and general health, as it is one of the most common resolutions, saying that you want to get in shape versus you want to be able to deadlift your current body weight are two separate things. When you are more abstract with yourself, it is harder to continue because there are too many options with how it can go. I have some friends who say this works for them, so if you’ve noticed results by being more broad, more power to you! I am terrible at “broad goals” so no matter how small, I still give myself a very specific outcome to strive for.
Take my reading goal, for example: I have steadily increased the number since 2021, the first year I set a goal. From 24 books, to 36, and now, in 2023 to 50, I set a goal that I know I can achieve but also still challenges me. I tend to read on average about eight more books than my reading goal, so I’m excited to see if I can push the barrier! All of this to say, if I said “I want to read more this year,” I don’t believe I would be as motivated because I don’t know what that inherently means — how much more do I want to read? What do I want to read? And if there are too many options, I’m more likely to just let it blow over my head. So, if you find yourself in this predicament, it might be because you’re not being specific with yourself.
Finally, forgive yourself when you don’t follow your plan completely! You may have wanted to work out four days a week but only got to go toto the gym twice one week. That doesn’t mean you have failed and that you should give up; it just means that when the new week starts, you can reset and continue making progress towards your original goal. I have a goal to stretch for 15 minutes in the morning to wake myself up, but I know inherently there will be days that I wake up late and don’t have the time. “Failing” at a goal isn’t the lack of completing it, but the refusal to do it again. 365 days is a huge commitment — don’t let one day ruin the other 364.
I have told you some of my resolutions, but I’m interested to hear yours. After reading this post, did you go back and tweak some of yours? Do you set intentions for the new year? Everyone celebrates the holiday a little differently, but in the end, I think we can all pat ourselves on the back when our date rolls around for another year under our belt. Take a deep breath, have some water (I know that was on your list, don’t lie to me), and welcome in the New Year and new quarter with a smile.
Or don’t — if you’re channeling your inner Wednesday Addams.