I came across an interesting article from Entrepreneur the other day that fits in well with my feelings about New Year’s Resolutions. After years of making resolutions and then “falling off the wagon” by around January 7, I gave up making resolutions. After all, there is nothing magical about the date January 1. It does indeed feel like a fresh start, but in the end. why put off making a change until a certain day. Don’t wait until January 1, or next Monday, or a landmark birthday to start. You can start TODAY.
And rather than trying to re-vamp and recreate your entire life, focus on some general areas which are the cornerstones of a happy, healthy, fulfilling life. Here are 5 general areas listed in the article by Ann Mehl, and my take on each one.
1. Physical- You don’t have jog a 5K every day. How about taking a 15 minute walk in the fresh air, doing some jumping jacks during the commercials of your favorite show, drinking an extra glass of water or 2, or adding an extra serving of vegetables to your daily menu?
2. Emotional- Don’t waste your emotional energy on negative people or thoughts. Learn which things have a negative effect on you and get rid of them as much as possible. I, for one, tend to fall into the trap of comparing myself with other people, so I try to stay away from certain TV shows and websites which make me feel like I just don’t measure up.
3. Mental- Do something every day that keeps your mind sharp. It can be a crossword or Sudoku puzzle, reading a challenging newspaper article, practicing a new skill. For me, sometimes it’s as simple as figuring out a math problem in my head instead of automatically reaching for the calculator.
4. Spiritual- Prayer, mediation, practicing daily gratitude. Something that reminds you that it’s not all about you.
5. Interpersonal- Reach out, whether by a phone call, written note, email, even a Facebook message or text. This is an important one for me because I tend to spend so much time all alone in my studio. I need to remind myself that there is a bigger world, full of interesting people out there, that will make my life richer by connecting with them.
Another article which I found very useful was called “Forget Setting Goals, Focus on This Instead” by James Clear. In it, the author stresses focusing on the system or process instead of the end goal. He maintains that this is actually a more effective way of ultimately reaching our goals. For example, if you want to lose a certain amount of weight, instead of just focusing on the number which is your goal, try focusing on the process. Think about what you are eating and how it makes you feel. How does exercise make you feel? If you concentrate on the process- say, making sure you eat 6 servings of vegetables a day, and walk at least 20 minutes a day- you will reach your goal of losing weight. AND you have created habits that result in a lifestyle change, which is ultimately the goal anyway, right? I think it was an excellent article, I strongly recommend it.
So those are just some thoughts that have been going through my head regarding New Year’s Resolutions. What are your thoughts?? Do you make resolutions? If so, do you find that stick with them throughout much of the year?