The turn of the new year comes with a dangerous allure – the obligation to start fresh. The appeal is that we have an opportunity to banish all of our old habits and begin the year with a clean slate.
If it were only that simple.
There’s a lot of pressure on us this time of year. However, most of this pressure is self-induced. We make big, bold promises to ourselves with high hopes of doing a 180 and completely turning our lives around.
I personally love the idea of making a resolution. The perfectionists out there might say a resolution isn’t necessary and the way to turn things around is just to live a better life. That sounds great but is hardly good advice for those struggling with personal issues.
The idea of a resolution gives us the hope that things could change. We all have to attach ourselves to something that makes us believe change is possible, and hope is probably the best thing we could associate positive change with.
Making a resolution isn’t about how big, how bold, or how impressive it sounds. We tend to bite off more than we can chew, which is why those resolutions get kicked to the curb come mid-February, if not before.
While choosing a resolution is simple to do, sticking to it is not. Most of us have prior commitments that leave little time to actually commit to working on them. We have jobs, relationships, kids, and a list of existing bad habits that leave hardly any room to make change happen.
However, if you go at this the correct way, change is possible no matter what you have on your plate. First, commit to making a change. Being “on board” and open to the idea can get the ball rolling for action to take place.
Second, identify and fully recognize your existing constraints and reasons why your resolutions in the past didn’t happen. If you don’t list current strengths and weaknesses, it’s difficult to fully assess your current situation.
Next, simplify your goal. Choose quality over quantity and banish the broad list of resolutions and focus on smaller, more meaningful, and more achievable resolutions.
If your resolution is to “get in shape,” simplify that by saying, “I will go to the gym for 30 minutes, three times per week.” Saying you will “get in shape” is difficult to measure and doesn’t outline any specifics. Also, don’t just join a gym. Visit at least three gyms in your area and speak to a few of the members. Getting a feel for the clientele and space is vital to your success. Also, seek out a partner. Having a workout buddy can assist in social support and the two of you can motivate each other.
And to the gym regulars, instead of getting aggravated with the influx of gym-goers come January, look at the newcomers with patience and respect. We’ve all been in their shoes at one time or another.
-Tim Hlivia is the owner of Leverage Fitness Studio in Forty Fort.