Happy New Year, All! 2016 is off to a great start already, and it’s only five days into the year.
Each December, I start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions that I want to set for myself. For a long time, I promised myself that I’d “overhaul my life” in the same boring ways such as promising to work out more, save more money, exercise more, eat less garbage and drink much less alcohol. I’d usually last about 2-3 weeks before reaching for that glass of rosé to wash down the man-sized New York Cherry Cheesecake slice I was gorging on. I would feel bad walking past my packed gym bag day after day without actually picking it up and going to the gym, and feel even worse buying yet another item of clothing that I didn’t really need as my poor Chanel Bag Savings Account languished empty and ignored.
A couple of years ago I decided to take a different approach to the start of each New Year. I started reading up on the best ways to keep my New Year’s Resolutions and make some lasting, positive changes in my life. Let me share with you what I discovered…but first actually, let me share with you a few of my 2016 resolutions:
- STOP BEING LATE. UGH!!! This hideous habit of mine fills me with shame each time I walk into a dinner 15 minutes late, pull into work at 9:10am or generally keep anyone waiting at all. This one I’m determined to achieve.
- Stop being so hard on myself. I guess I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things I genuinely care about. This is great, until something goes wrong and I lie in bed for hours ruminating over anything! Case in point: I love to garden. If a plant dies, that will ruin my day. Doesn’t matter if Japanese beetles (little bastards) decimated my lilies, “it’s my fault and I should have anticipated the problem and prevented it.” Is that always reasonable? No.
- Stop taking my second lover to bed – my iPhone. This is going to be a tough one. I have been having trouble sleeping lately and while life has been a little stressful over the last month, having my phone constantly attached to my hand for every waking minute of the day surely isn’t helping the insomnia. I am consciously going to make an effort to curb the iPhone use at least one hour before bedtime.
- Read more. Sigh. This is on the list every year. “Read more…and read things that are not magazines and blogs. Read those old school things… They have pages and are bound by either a hard or soft cover and are written by human beings. You know…books.”
- Save for a new car. This competes directly with my “Save for a Chanel Bag” goal, but alas, I cannot drive a Chanel bag to work. As much as I love Sassy (my beloved 2009 Acura), she’s gettin’ up there and once those repair bills really start getting ridiculous, I will have to kiss her goodbye. Funnily enough, the Dom-mobile Account is much healthier than the Chanel Bag account. I sort of hate myself.
- Get rid of my comfortable, yet disgusting “home only clothes”. I look at my once black leggings which have threadbare knees, a giant crotch hole (nice) with no semblance of stretchiness left. They are bunny-fur soft though and for some reason I cannot let them go, along with my horribly pilled “old man sweater” that feels like a warm hug when I put it on and a series of tea-stained t-shirts. Yes they feel great, and no they do not make me feel great AT ALL when I look in the mirror while wearing them. You can’t feel great if you look like a schlub. I don’t care what anyone says. I wanna feel great even while binge-watching Empire flat on my back in my basement.
Now – how do you actually keep your New Year’s Resolutions? Everything in moderation. Ask yourself why you are making these changes and envision your life with these changes implemented. Do you really think it will make your life better? If you are 100lbs overweight and never worked out before or taken an interest in healthy eating, do you really think you can achieve your goal of losing that extra 100lbs in six months unassisted? Being reasonable is key to your success and ensures you won’t beat yourself up too badly if you slip up.
So, enough jabbering. Let’s get down to making some positive changes! Here are my tips for achieving your New Year’s Resolutions without setting yourself up for failure:
- Choose your resolutions carefully and ask yourself seriously if this is a goal I can achieve. Choose those that will make the biggest, most positive difference in your life leading to more happiness and fulfilment, like quitting smoking or traveling more.
- Plan out how exactly you will achieve your goals. If you want to lose weight, plan out some milestones, like “lose 5lbs by the end of February” or get a personal trainer if you have no idea what you are doing when it comes to fitness. Two things that definitely get me going to the gym? 1) Group classes. I love feeling like I’m part of a team working towards a similar goal and, 2) new gym clothes. Always works.
- Write a pros and cons list for each of your resolutions. Want to drink less but have an active social life? Write a list of how reducing your alcohol intake will affect your life. Want a car? Pros are definitely there, but cons such as the expenses (gas, insurance, maintenance) are obviously worth considering.
- Talk about your resolutions with your friends and family and garner support! This is such a fantastic way to achieve your resolutions and stick with them! Case in point: when I shared with you all that I wanted to save for my Chanel bag. Lots of you give me hell when I post about buying new clothes and make up…thank you for keeping me in check.
- Playing into the tip directly above, come up with some shared resolutions! Have a boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/best buddy, etc? How about sharing some of those resolutions? Running more is a resolution that is better achieved when you have a running partner cheering you on and getting you out there. Have both you and your partner gained 15lbs of cookie weight over the holidays? You have a better chance of achieving your goal with support from a like-minded person.
- If you fail or slip up, revise/redefine those resolutions. So, you managed to save enough for that trip to Paris and then Louis Vuitton got you with their new line of finally “not boring” bags. That’s a big fail, but you aren’t a bad person! Revise your goals and get back to saving! If saving isn’t your forte, enlist the help of your bank’s financial advisors. Maybe a trip to Montréal or Québec City is more realistic in the time being. Same goes for exercise. If you don’t think you’ll run that marathon in June because oh…you know, you didn’t run AT ALL in six months, maybe change that resolution to doing anything that will get your heart rate up like opening your credit card bill or watching anything with Thor in it.
- Reward yourself!! You lost the 15 lbs in cookie weight and have kept it off for six months. Well done! Treat yourself to a little treat like a manicure, a new pair of jeans or a trip to the art gallery. Just whatever you do, DO NOT treat yourself to cookies.
- Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you blow a resolution. You’re human. It’s not the end of the world! Again, revise/redefine your goals and start again. Remember, resolutions don’t have to start in January. They should be set all year long.
How do you deal with New Year’s Resolutions? Have you achieved a goal that you are particularly proud of? If so, do tell! I’ll share one of my own: going completely dry in January 2015. #Drynuary
*Header image courtesy of www.gretchenrubin.com