Americans seem to set themselves up for failure every brand, spanking new year. As I was trying to find the 10 most common New Year’s Resolutions, I wondered why we do this to ourselves. Sad to say, because the 10 most common resolutions are interchangeable with the 10 most commonly failed resolutions. These happen to be somewhere along the lines of:
- Be Healthier
- Quit/Less Smoking
- Quit/Less Drinking
- Get a Hold on Debt
- Volunteer More
- Become Less Stressed (yeah right)
- Save More Money
- Go on Vacation
- Lose Weight
- Exercise More
I really feel that the majority of these goals are never achieved because we select goals that are too big for our willpower, or personal circumstances, to successfully accomplish. Creating a goal that you’re supposed to keep all year seems too daunting for the majority of Americans. Why?
Because you’re insane to think that a year long goal of this magnitude can be accomplished all at once. Each of the resolutions listed above require a drastic change in your daily routine. There’s probably a good reason why you weren’t working out before you made the resolution. My guess is you’re lacking the willpower to sustain such a long commitment to reach your goal.
Remember, we’re only human.
I believe a solution to all this madness is quite simple: forget New Year’s resolutions. Don’t perpetuate the cycle of another failed year. Be positive about it and say, “I respect myself too much to beat myself up with another stupid goal.” Be the unresolutionist.
For all of you who are utterly shocked and still determined to carry on with more resolutions, have no fear. I’ve got a solution for you, too. Make your resolutions smaller and easier to manage. Make a small list of easy to achieve goals.
Instead of implementing a weight loss goal of 50 pounds by bikini season, make it easier both mentally and physically by having a weight loss goal of 5 pounds for the first month. If you can accomplish that, then do another 5 pounds for the second month, and so on and so forth, until you have reached your overall goal.
We all know that the hardest part to overcome is what’s in our minds. What psyches you out more, 50 lbs in five months or 5 pounds a month until you’ve reached your goal? Don’t lose the battle before it starts. Give yourself a fighting chance, for Pete’s sake!
This goes towards all the other goals as well. However, I do have some prejudices against smoking and alcohol. My personal thoughts (if you’re trying to quit, that is) are to throw your little stash away, lock yourself in a room, and don’t leave until you are no long dependent on cigarettes and booze. I honestly think the best way to give up smoking and drinking is to go cold turkey.
If your fancy is to volunteer more, ease yourself into it. Start off by volunteering every other time you have a day off to make sure you can fit volunteering into your schedule. Also, pick a volunteer group that doesn’t demand more than you can give. Be firm about the amount of time you can give so no one overloads you. This can lead to unwanted stress and the possibility of you quitting your volunteer work.
The only advice I have on saving money is this: Don’t buy things you don’t need. And I mean only the things you need. You only need the basics of food, water, and shelter. If you and your family eat out too often, change it. Get the family involved in cooking the meals. This will make the transition easier and a fun experience for everyone. Have a habit of ordering from Starbucks five times a day? Recreate those recipes at home and bring coffee with you on the go. No, the coffee will not be the same, but isn’t the cushion of a well-stocked savings account more important than what your taste buds think?
While the thought of going to some island paradise is an idyllic dream vacation, the majority of us just can’t afford it. Don’t let this deter you from having one, though. Just pick something more realistic. You are guaranteed to save more money by staying in the states, especially your own. While the thought of foreign adventures and ancient monuments are extremely appealing , America is full of a rich history from all the unique cultures that built, and continue to build, our nation.
Last, but certainly not least, is reduced stress. Honestly, with how our society operates, I do not believe that we can ever become completely stress free, but we can take measures to reduce the amount of stress in our lives. This means take more time for yourself. If you unwind by soaking in the tub, do it more often. Make time to be alone in complete silence for at least 30 minutes a day to reboot yourself. While our society may pressure us to become 24 hour robots, we know deep down that we can only be human.
Can you see how I’ve broken each resolution down into manageable steps? Each step is measurable, too. Breaking down a big resolution into many small steps is truly the only way to reach your goals.
Good luck in 2014, and may all your dreams come true!