Too often, these can all be too short lived. By the time March rolls around, self improvement strategies just become sad jokes. This can result in things being worse than they were before the new year. The things that were supposed to improve are the same or worse, AND we have the guilt and anxiety of failure. With seasonal depression hanging over us during the winter months, the last thing we need is the negativity of resolutions gone bad.
Realizing this pattern can go a long way towards avoiding all of this and staying committed to our resolutions. One tip for increasing the chances of success is to make your goals realistic and achievable. Setting the bar at a place that we can get to or exceed without too much trouble is much more likely to result in actual improvement in ourselves. Plus, having the satisfaction and confidence of succeeding will increase our overall happiness.
Consistency is key in making any self improvement steps work. Rather than commit to a ‘crash’ diet, or completely giving up chocolate, exercise portion control. Make gradual adjustments to the parts of ourselves we want to change rather than making drastic changes. We need to look at these as long term revisions in our lifestyle and commit to changing our ‘day to day’ routines.
We also need to realize that having lapses in progress is pretty normal. Any adjustments we make probably won’t be totally ‘linear’ and have some ups and downs. Some days we’ll do better, and some days not so much. The important thing is to stay on track and shoot for slow steady progress. Rather than a ‘binary’ thing, we should look at our resolutions as reductions in poor habits and boosting good ones.
Another trick in this is to allow yourself a cheat-day. As long as the adjustment you’re making is for something relatively harmless it’s OK to give yourself a day of the week when you can compromise a little. Remember that bad habits that are unhealthy, such as smoking, vaping, alcohol, or recreational drugs should be treated with more commitment and intensity.
Of course, a new commitment to an exercise routine is one of the best things you can do for your fitness, health and well being. Mindful exercise not only makes us more fit and helps regulate body weight, it helps us feel good about ourselves. It changes our brain chemistry to actually be happier and improves our ability to think clearly. Lastly, regular exercise helps us sleep better allowing us to be more rested during our awake times, and our bodies to repair and minimize injuries and illnesses.
An out of the box approach to New Year resolutions is to simply make a commitment to yourself to live more healthy. In addition to specific goals for resolutions, or just as an alternative, we should commit to living healthy each day and improving our lives. Maximize the good stuff and minimize the bad. We should do our best to make good choices from day to day. Take the initiative and make good stuff happen. Do kind things for your friends and family. Do your best to be happier and help the people around us to do the same. Be the hero of your own story. Optimize 2019, and the rest of your life!