Or Maybe We Expect Change To Happen Just Because We Want It
Why do we make New Years resolutions? Because we love the idea of a fresh start? We can binge on junk food and drinks and let all our bad habits loose as long as we vow to make a change in the new year. For me, it’s about making big goals, like learning a new language or getting two-hours in at the gym each day; goals that I will eventually abandon near the second week of January. Sound familiar?
It seems hard to suddenly decide to change my daily behavior without some type of additional external change like moving or starting a new job. When I want to change something in my life without also completely altering my day-to-day habits, that change doesn’t seem to stick. Alternatively, the big goals I have been able to keep were facilitated by major life changes. For example, when I moved to live within walking distance to work, I got a 24 minute walk in each day, and double that if I went home for lunch. The change I wanted to make was facilitated by a major life change. (Moving IS a major life change).
WHY DO RESOLUTIONS FAIL?
Do your big resolutions fail because they’re not accompanied by a major life shift? Maybe that’s the key. Or maybe our goals are just too ambitious. Goals like ‘I want to finish writing my novel’ or ‘I want to have saved enough money to go to Thailand at the end of the year’ are big ones. Do these require big life-shifts to happen too? Having more time to write a novel could mean skipping other things, like avoiding Netflix and cutting cable for a year, or maybe even cutting your work hours back to part-time. Saving money means spending less money, making a monthly budget, or even asking for a raise; all which require sacrifices.
I have 15 month old daughter, who as of yet, is not walking. Once she starts to walk, then run, that will be a major shift in my day-to-day that will likely see me getting more exercise just to keep up with her. While my day-to-day routine is solely based around her right now, it would be difficult to aim for a big 2017 goal for myself; thus I’ve made a list of realistic resolutions/goals that are small enough not to require a big change in my daily routine. This means my goals could take a bit longer to accomplish, but maybe the more I do them the more they will become habits and I can evolve them into bigger parts of my day.
- Work small amounts of exercise into the repetitive, daily activities, like doing 10 squats every time I pick up the baby or jogging on the spot while she’s eating in her high chair.
- Instead of sitting down with my laptop and watching Netflix while the baby naps, do yoga at my standing desk and watch Netflix!
- Spend more time blogging or learning things on Coursera and less time on social media sites like Reddit or Facebook which only seems to waste my time.
- When the baby is fussing because she is tired, take her for a walk in the carrier around the neighborhood. Exercise for me and fresh air for both of us!
- Have music on more often. This will encourage me to dance more and hopefully, will also help with stress levels. Bonus: the baby LOVES music. All music from Sesame Street to AC/DC. This should also encourage less TV watching.
Does my list give you ideas of the types of New Year’s resolutions that might work for you? If you’re not ready or able to make a big shift in your day-to-day routine to accommodate an ambitious goal some smaller switches like these might make more sense for you.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Are they big enough to need a major shift in your life or small enough that you can swap some small things out? Have you ever been able to stick to a New Year’s resolution in the past? What did it take? Were you able to keep with a big goal without a major life change? Let me know in the comments!
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