This is the time of year when people set all kinds of resolutions. There is a hopeful feeling in the air that makes it feel like anything is possible. Maybe it is the fact that we get a new calendar in January, and we believe that there is some magic in it that makes us feel like “this is the year”. Or perhaps it is that after the holiday season, there is something comforting about returning to a routine. The sense of time passing always seems to get a lot faster when the year changes. It could be a little scary, but the New Year tends to make the glass look half full rather than half empty.
There are all kinds of talk about New Year’s Resolutions and how to best set and keep them, but the bottom line is that resolutions can be hard to keep. No matter how many times we say that we are going to start eating better, taking control of our personal finances, travelling more and learning something new, making it happen is another story entirely. It can be difficult to stay motivated and focused, especially since your resolutions aren’t the only thing occupying your time. Strangely, willpower is a limited resource. Resolutions can be overwhelming and trying to change too much at once can lead to an epic meltdown that leaves you 10 pounds heavier instead of lighter, your finances in even more of a tangle, and you housebound instead of travelling to India to learn how to meditate. The good news is that you can fall off the wagon and get back on it again, without having to wait for 2015.
Focus on a habit, not a goal. Thinking that you would like to lose weight can be a more difficult milestone to achieve than thinking that you’d like to make it to the gym 4 times a week. Keeping it simple can help you find your way to success. Know yourself and be reasonable otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure. There only so many hours in the week, and some of them need to be dedicated to sleep. You don’t want to burn out before February gets here.
Something else to remember is that there are a ton of resources out there to help you along the way. Remember that practice makes perfect when you get frustrated, and for the most part, we don’t see the practice other people put in. Find a buddy to build your new habits with so you can encourage each other. Talk to a professional about your finances. Open a bank account just for your dream vacation. If you don’t like the new hobby you wanted to learn, pick a new one. Remember that your habits can be adjusted one tiny step at a time. Rome was not built in a day.
Be kind to yourself and have a wonderful and prosperous New Year.