Ah, New Year’s resolutions. Those decisions we make to change something that we keep for about 2 weeks. Immediately after new year’s, the health food store takes me twice as long due to the crowds and I can’t even THINK about trying to step foot in the gym. However, all I have to do is wait about 2 weeks, and they both thin out. By February, they are almost as dead as they were before Christmas.
Why do we wait until Jan 2 to instill positive changes in our lives, only to abandon them shortly thereafter? Here’s my take: First of all, there is way too much hype associated with the New Year and making resolutions. Second, we go “all out” often being stricter or working harder than we should, which leads to the giving up just a short time later (as well as adding to stress). Finally, if we maintained our health during the holidays, we wouldn’t have so much to try and change!
My recommendation to you is to make small changes. Instead of committing to going from zero hours in the gym per week to 8, just start exercising. If you make it 3 times a week, celebrate that! Make your fitness fun and you are more likely to stick with it. If you hate the treadmill but use that because of your “resolutions” you will not stick to it. However, if you love to dance, decide to incorporate more of that into your life. Don’t change your eating habits so drastically that you no longer enjoy eating. Choose one thing a week and build upon it as each one becomes habit. For example if you want to eat more vegetables, choose one meal at a time to change!
Don’t wait until January 2 to start. If you feel like you need to improve on your health, start then! Also, don’t give up. Lots of people try hard and then when they aren’t perfect they either say “Oh I’ll start again next Monday” or give up altogether. If you fall back into an old habit, recognize it, forgive yourself and move on! During the holiday season, don’t throw all caution to the wind with the intention of “hitting it hard” afterwards. Instead, enjoy yourself with the goal to at least maintain where you are, rather than gaining only to have to lose it.
Studies show that it takes us 21 days to make ANY change become permanent, whether it’s exercising, learning a new way to deal with stress, or quitting smoking. Make those smaller changes, celebrate your successes no matter how small, and wait at least 3 weeks before clearing out my gym and health food store. You just may find out you want to keep going.