It’s that time of year again, when we make our New Year’s Resolutions. One way or another most of the resolutions we make have to do with making us “feel better” in the coming year. In fact, as per Brad Zomick, https://www.goskills.com/Soft-Skills/Resources/Top-10-new-years-resolutions, the 10 most common resolutions made every year are:
- Exercise more
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Learn a new skill or hobby
- Live life to the fullest
- Save more money / spend less money
- Quit smoking
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Travel more
- Read more
Brad’s article actually suggests how we can be successful in the resolution(s) we set, but let’s face it, if it were as simple as reading the “how-to’s”, we would not be making the same NY’s resolutions year after year. In 2018, Forbes published an article stating: “The statistics on how many people actually follow through and accomplish their New Year's resolutions are rather grim. Studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.”
Lifestyle Changes Rather Than Resolutions
For so many years, I too would have the same New Year’s resolutions as most of the people I know, and it was the ever popular weight loss resolution. Given I have always incorporated exercise into my daily routine, it didn’t make it onto the list per se, but I realized a long time ago that my interest in daily exercise was tied more to weight loss/maintenance, rather than my overall health.
Something shifted about 8 years ago. I incorporated major lifestyle changes, predominantly around how I eat. This led me to being very conscious of the choices I make around food. In other words, if I was eating any packaged foods, I was very particular about what the ingredients were, and if there was anything I read that I didn’t know what it was, or it was not a clean ingredient, I just wouldn’t eat it. This included certain oils/fats, gums or preservatives, excess added sugar or non-sugar sweeteners. Today, I eat only 100% plant-based whole foods. I notice a lot of changes in my attitude especially this time of year.
I no longer have the added stress of making bad choices at holiday gatherings, I don’t over-indulge during the holidays, with an ultimately failed resolution that I will take off the extra pounds after the new year. I realized that I exercise because I feel better, and not to burn off the extra calories I may have consumed the day/week before. My weight at the beginning of each year is where I want it to be, and the same as it is halfway through the year, and the same as it is at the end of the year. Lastly, I realized that I never, ever make a New Year’s Resolution.
Goal Setting for Success
I will suggest that setting goals is much more effective than New Year’s resolutions. If the resolutions you have been making are around losing weight, then perhaps, you should look at the bigger picture. Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to feel better, to live longer, or to have more energy? Or is it all of the above; in other words, to be healthier? If you approach your resolution to lose weight by embarking on one of the ‘trending diets’, you are destined to fail. Maybe you want to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Understand what the bigger goal is. Break it into parts and set milestones or mini goals with defined timelines. Goal setting works best if you can quantify how-much, and by-when. If the goal is to be healthier there are better ways to approach it than setting yet another New Year’s resolution to lose weight and/or go to the gym more frequently.
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We hope for all of you a joyful 2021 full of good health!!