Why You Should Not Make Any New Year Resolutions This Year.
I have been going to the same gym now for 4 years and January is arguably my favorite month to sit back and watch. The place is busier than ever. People you have never seen before on weight machines, treadmills and ellipticals, working away with great fervor. I look at them say hello, welcome them and then secretly giggle to myself knowing I will most likely never see them ever again. So far, my guessing game at who will return is pretty accurate. I am guilty of this behavior as well, but in other ways. Thinking about all my great intentions to change on January 1 I realized that is the problem. This year I am going to forget about New Year resolutions because face it, they just do not work. This year I am going to try something different.
Top 5 New Year Resolutions
Ok, here are the top 5 New Year resolutions made each year. Which one(s) have you decided to attempt again this year?
- Save Money
- Reduce Stress
- Exercise More
- Lose Weight
- Quit Smoking
Oh, by the way, did I mention that these resolutions are also the most broken promises we make each year. I do not smoke but I confess to historically making and breaking all the other ones. I have a great towel drying rack that doubles as an exercise bike to prove it. One minute after I break my promise I feel guilty about my inability to stay dedicated to something , and then I move on, stuff another potato chip in my mouth while I sit on the couch surfing online shopping sales, – all by noon on January 1. Then I justify my actions by thinking that it is the thought that counts? I could start tomorrow. I mean it is technically a holiday and we should be able to relax – right?
Resolutions vs. Intentions
So, this year instead of making a resolution I will undoubtedly break, I decided to make an intention. I think I saw you raise your eyebrow at me through the screen but bear with me while I explain – it is a good idea. What is the difference between the two you ask? By definition, a resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. An intention is similar, but it is something we decide to accomplish as an aim or a goal. A loophole if you will, for those moments of weakness. After careful contemplation I have come to the opinion that an intention is easier to achieve as it gives us the opportunity to be human. Intentions allow us to realize that even if we have a moment where we lapse in our promise to ourselves it does not mean that the promise is now destroyed never to be achieved. It allows us a second or third chance at being successful.
Rethinking It All
So, I am going to rethink the five resolutions as intentions in this way.
- Save Money. How much? How? This is too vague. Have I completed my resolution if I have a jar with a nickel in it – technically yes, but I am pretty sure that was not the goal. Why not try an intention instead? I will try and be better with my money and think about how I spend it. I can pause and ask myself is this necessary and not make an emotional or impulsive decision.
- Reduce Stress. I can say no to helping with things that are not positive or things I do not enjoy doing. Make volunteering about helping others but enjoying the process at the same time. I will consciously choose not to make commitments because I feel obligated or pressured.
- Exercise everyday. Instead, intend to be more active. Go for walk to the store, park further in the parking lot, take the stairs when possible, ask a friend to go for a walk around the block at lunch break or after work. I will need to apologize to the owner of my gym, but a gym memberships or a personal trainer not necessary at the start.
- Lose weight. Alternatively, I can consciously eat a little less at meals than normal, skip desert every other night, or put less sugar in my coffee. I will only eat potato chips on the weekends and choose to buy a cupcake not an entire cake.
- Stop Smoking. What if you reduce the amount you smoke each day with the objective towards quitting by the end of the year. No withdrawals, no cranky moods, and feel better about the process.
Set Yourself Up To Succeed
Instead of setting myself up for a repeat failure I am going to set myself up for success. Give myself grace and the opportunity to try, have a weak moment but then a chance to try again, and again, if necessary. I am going to write my intentions on a piece of paper and hang them on my fridge just like my parents did when I got a good grade at school or drew art they liked. I remember how looking at it made me feel and how it encouraged me to do my best the next time. Writing things down works because it makes things more tangible. It is easy to twist plans in my head to justify my decisions. I am not going to put pressure on myself to make big changes all at once. I will start with achievable goals and build upon them. If I falter that is ok, I will pick myself up, dust myself off and carry on.
So, out of curiosity are you now considering a resolution or an intention?
I sincerely hope that you are successful in what ever path you take towards a healthier new you.
We Can Help
Wishart Brain & Spine Law would like to wish you all a happy and healthy year ahead. If you are struggling with an injury, we want you to know that you are not alone. There are places and people that can help. Our website offers client resources, and our blog section has topics about health and wellness that you may find helpful. If you need legal advice, we offer a free first consultation to help you decide what is your best path moving forward.
Happy New Year to you all.