By Heather Short
It never fails. New Year’s Day comes and we make all these fanciful resolutions that we promise to keep for an entire year. We try to say we won’t drink soda for a year or that we will hit the gym at least five days a week. We also want to lose the holiday weight by Feb. 1, and we want to cut out sweets for the next six months. After the holidays, we think without a doubt that we will be sick of sweet foods and junk food in general, but before you know it, all these high-hoped resolutions are getting broken left and right. It isn’t that they weren’t made with good intentions; it is more that it is too much all at once. Every New Year’s Day, we seem to set ourselves up for failure. Well not this year! This is going to be the year that we conquer our New Year’s resolutions. The key is to start small.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. But keep in mind to be realistic about it. It is not safe or healthy to attempt to lose a considerable amount of weight in a short time. It’s that time of the year when holiday weight gain creeps up on a lot of us, but you cannot expect to turn around and lose it all in a week. A lot of people hit the gym hard the first week of January but get burned out quickly.
Instead of setting an overall goal of a specific amount of weight you want to lose, try to focus on a weekly goal first. Start by figuring out what exercises are right for you and what you are comfortable doing. Next, start slowly and make a goal of working out three days a week. From there, slowly increase intensity and frequency. There are several apps available to download and local gyms that offer consultations on how to safely reach your weight loss goals.
If one of your goals is to become more active in the community, don’t feel that on Jan. 2, you need to go register and sign up for multiple volunteer opportunities. Again, start small. Research local clubs, schools or churches who could use some volunteers. Choose one that is right for you and one that you are comfortable with. Decide what you are most interested in and that you would actually enjoy dedicating some time to. Next, make contact with your chosen establishment and set up a day and time for your first volunteer experience. From there, if it is a good fit for you, make an appointment to volunteer again in a week or maybe the following month. Be aware of your existing commitments so you don’t wear yourself thin or cause additional stress. The goal is to enjoy volunteering and perhaps have it become a routine that you enjoy.
Another way to help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions is to keep track of them! You can purchase a good old-fashioned mini calendar to keep in your purse, briefcase or backpack. For some people, visualizing their goals on paper helps them keep track better than trying to remember it.
You can also purchase a wall calendar to hang in your room or kitchen so you will see it every day. Of course, several calendar or tracking apps are available to help you with this. Whichever you choose to use, be sure to regularly check the calendar to keep yourself aware of how you’re coming along with reaching your goals.
The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions is something fun and positive to do every year. It shouldn’t be something intimidating or become frustrating. When the New Year rolls around, don’t be afraid to set some goals for yourself. You will be so proud of yourself when you see the progress you’re making toward reaching your goals and even more so when you achieve them.
The key to achieving the long-term goals of New Year’s resolutions is to start small; you won’t achieve them in a week or a month. The most important thing to remember is to be gentle and not too hard on yourself. If you miss a day or a week, don’t get frustrated. It is all right to start over, but it’s not alright to give up.