The definition of resolution, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the act or process of resolving.” If you are like me and take life a little less serious on occasion, then you may appreciate one of the top three definitions of New Year’s resolution from the Urban Dictionary.
Now that we have had a good laugh, let’s get serious about 2021! After mustering through 2020, we all know that things can only get better in 2021. So, what are you thinking about resolving in the New Year and how can you set yourself up for success? Committing to resolve something in the New Year is a tradition for many but may take different directions. Some may choose to continue things they do well, others may want to change a behavior, improve their life, or carry out a personal goal. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something you are passionate about and brings you joy. Additionally, have a plan, but do not make it too complicated.
Goal setting is a key component to any life change. It helps keep you focused, driven, motivated, and excited to keep progressing towards a result. Goals can be as big or as small as you want, but the first step is determining what is most important to YOU! Next, make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based). SMART goals can be applied in any instance, such as climbing the ladder at work, saving money to buy a house or for a child’s education, or perhaps personal health goals you are striving for. For more details on the definition of a SMART goal as well as a few ideas to get you started, visit the Slimdown Challenge resource page.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is said to be about 80 percent, and most of us lose our resolve by mid-February. Why, oh why, do we do this to ourselves? Perhaps we set expectations too high or we have a lack of clarity in our resolutions, but most likely our resolution or goal simply does not fit with who we are or where we are in our life. Remember earlier when we talked about passion and joy? Setting yourself up for success is focusing on what brings you joy instead of what you think you SHOULD do.
Personal health goals or what we believe to be a healthy lifestyle, are too often rooted in what others say we should do (i.e. social norms) instead of looking at our individual needs and leveraging our very own strengths. For example, how often have you committed to start doing yoga, join a spin class or run a half marathon only to quit after a few weeks? Likely it's not because you can’t do these things, but simply because you didn’t like it. Instead of feeling like a failure, move on until you find something that brings you joy and then do more of it! It may take you awhile to figure out what you really love, or perhaps you are just overwhelmed and don’t even know where to start.
Another important step to setting yourself up for success is making sure you have a clear mind! Our overall well-being is more than just being physically fit, eating healthy and the number on the scale. It is multi-dimensional and means that our emotional health (ability to cope, resiliency) is just as important as our physical health (nutrition, exercise, sleep). For example, if you tend to make less healthy choices or overeat when you are stressed, you must first investigate what is causing your stress and then reflect on what and how you may be able to control it. Focusing on what you can control will likely make it easier for you to change the less desirable behavior (“stress eating”). Resolving in the new year to discover what your true needs are to live the life you want to live would be amazing! If this is what you are looking for, ditch the goal to lose 50 pounds or run a half marathon and try one of these suggestions.
If you “Google” new year's resolutions, you will get many articles, ideas and tips for starting off the new year (after your search you may also get multiple ads for books, diet pills and a new treadmill but that’s another blog). The most important thing to remember is that any resolution is about YOU and only you. To set yourself up for success, reflect on what you need the most, what brings you the most joy, and then create a plan. Bring on 2021. You’ve got this!