A New Year and A New You? The New Year's Resolution Trend
The holidays are over. The feasting, the gifts, the indulging ourselves in pleasures we normally would avoid is quickly coming to an end. The dreaded pressure of how to be better. How to improve ourselves. How to be someone that someone else thinks we should be. These are the thoughts that have replaced the fun stuff.
I have never been a fan of the idea of New Year's Resolutions. I have always felt they are a way to bring us down and make us feel like we are back in High School being pressured to take that first drink or drag of a cigarette. To make a change that maybe you don't even think you need. I heard the best resolution the other day on social media. Jess Oklaroots said, ' I want to do less but I also want to do what I do better'.(I paraphrased that a bit as I can't remember the exact phrase she used.) To me, this is exactly what a resolution should be. It is no fail and all win. I want to do less. You remove one thing from your list of everyday tasks that truly won't be missed. I know but I NEED to do it all! I am a person who CAN do it all and thrives with a full schedule. If this is the case then your first step is to itemize what it is you do every day. Then see if you can combine anything to make one task instead of two. There you have now done one of the two things you set out to do. We can all do better at what we already do. Again I know, we ALL think we ROCK at what we do but I am sure you can find a way to make it a bit better.
Why do people go so BIG and MASSIVE with their resolutions if they are just going to bomb them? I honestly believe it is marketing and recently within the last decade, social media. We are constantly looking at people who look flawless. People who appear not to have to work at things and get AMAZING results! What they never show us is the craziness of their lives behind the scenes, how they have to give something up to look the way they do and even bigger still they have assistants to help with those many tasks that we have to do ourselves. They never tell you the real recipe for their success.
I am not saying don't make resolutions. I am saying make ones that are realistic for YOU to accomplish. How do I do that though? How do I lose weight without dieting and working out, or how do I start meal prepping for the week to save money if I don't do it every day? You start small and work up. You are allowed to decide how your resolutions look and when they happen. They don't have to happen at the start of the new year only. They can be something that is added upon and chunked up. Let me give you an example.
You want to lose weight and you are not happy that you are 50 pounds over what you think you should be. Rather than saying I am going to lose 50 pounds by the summer by going to the gym every day and starting to cut carbs say 'My goal is to lose weight.' You haven't put any time frame on it or even a number. You have simply said I am going to lose weight. Then you work on one thing at a time. Start working out. Do you need a membership to a gym? No, not really. You could start walking after dinner each night or choose to take the stairs over the elevator. If you want to go to the gym, which is awesome too, then do that. Don't put a label on the amount you will be there. Just go. Get the feel of it. Find the things you like and the things you truly don't like. Do the ones you like, even if you feel people are looking at you. You belong there and those people are willing to help you out if you need it. Trust me, I was one of those gym rats for the longest time.
The harsh reality of the whole 'I am going to lose 50 pounds by the summer by going to the gym every day and starting to cut carbs', is that most people will fail at this. It is too much all at once. My advice for ANY and ALL resolutions is to start small and build. Remember it isn't all or nothing. You can always add on to what you achieve.
Here are some suggestions for you.
Meal Prepping/Journaling/Personal Scheduling
I have put all of these things into one category because they revolve around the same thing - time management. Some of us are great at it and others, well not so much. For this I would say rather than looking at a whole week, look at a day or even an hour or meal within that day. A quick example would be - I want to spend Sundays as my prep day for the whole week. If you aren't one to normally do this, a whole week is going to be hard. For me, it would be. I have tried to plan 7 meals in advance, well 6 really because one was a take-out day. Before I knew it, there were 5 take-out days and 2 meals or the same meal plan was up for the month on repeat. I would just give up. Do ONE meal to start. Prep dinner for one night, possibly the busiest night of the week. Or write in your journal one day a week, even if it is a statement that says 'screw it'. When you can do this one thing consistently for some time, then add to it.
Dieting / Weight Loss / Working Out
I touched on this above however I feel it is one that so many people just feel they need it all and to do it all at once. Over two decades ago I lost over 100 pounds. I was OBSESSED! My husband had just left the kids and I and my sister thought going to the gym would be a good distractor for me. OMG, It was! It also became an addiction for me too! I loved it! I loved watching my body change and my confidence change with it! I loved it so much, I began working for the gym too. I was there EVERY.DAMN.DAY! They had a daycare and it worked perfectly for me. Go for 40 minutes every day (well okay every day but Sunday. Even addictions need a rest day.) So for about 10 years I was ADDICTED to working out and then to everything that went in my mouth. I ended up breaking my body. No, seriously I did. I have had 2 hip surgeries already on one hip and the other one needs surgery too however I need to figure out why the first hip still doesn't want to work properly. I have gone from working out ALL the time to not being able to work out at all. Talk about a kick to the ego.
If you were so into it then why tell others not to? I am not saying don't do it. I am saying that I am a rare person who is stupid yet smart and you should learn from my massive blunders in life. However, even in my stupidity I started with one thing and worked up. I started with fitness then added the diet later. I didn't do both at once. One came with the other. You see when you start to notice a change from doing one thing, you begin to wonder how you could add to it and make it better. You start to feel different about yourself, which helps drive change.
Don't get me wrong. I don't believe everyone needs to eat a certain way or workout, I am referring only to those who want to.
The other thing it did for me was it gave me control of something at a time when I had zero control over anything. (I will write about that another day if you want to hear about it.)
So what exactly do I suggest then? Change your eating habits (not diet) or work out. Don't try to combine them. The mental struggle to do both can be extremely draining on your self-esteem. Just because I was addicted to working out didn't mean I wouldn't slam myself if I wanted to lay in bed and not work out. If I didn't work out one day I called myself EVERY NASTY WORD if I ate a cookie on the same day. I did and I did it all the time. I still do. That is in part why I am in therapy. We are actually working on me only speaking facts about myself and not saying hurtful comments about myself. It is not easy and some days I hate it more than others.
Ahhh the ever-loving 'Oh that looks fun and I can totally do it' purchases. Come on be honest. How many of you have these items in your homes? You know the ones. They are the items you purchase because you are going to learn a new craft skill but then get home, get distracted or talk yourself out of it because you don't think you are good enough to do it. Ya those craft purchases. So this is my challenge to you. Don't make a resolution to do all of them by the end of the year. Challenge yourself to just try one of them. Just try. Pull one out and attempt it or better yet watch videos on how to do it. Lots of videos and not all by people that make it look easy. We all know that most crafts are not as easy as they make them appear. As I stated at the very beginning of this post, they don't show you everything. They don't show you how many times they failed or how messy things got. Heck, they never show the amount of swearing that was involved in creating it.
If you get that one made. Try another and so on. It is when we over plan or resolve to do something that our egos take the hit. Goals aren't meant to do that. They are meant however to help you grow. Growth doesn't come easy, fast, or without a bit of struggle and learning. Growth is obtainable if done right.
I know that IF you make a resolution and it is not a massive unobtainable goal, you will succeed at it. It may take a whole year or even a decade to get there but you will get there. I believe in YOU! Borrow that and use it for yourself.