What are new years resolutions anyway? It can be traced back to religion and tradition, a goal setting exercise to pay back debts, or to plan ahead to achieve certain goals. But, are they too broad to accomplish these days? Are we looking at them from entirely the wrong angle? The majority of goals I see so far are relating to weight-loss and finance, but are those priorities misplaced? Do these people want to lose weight to fit into the right size or do they want to be healthier? The issue I see is whether they are motivated if it’s a size they’re after, when if you want to be healthier, then being healthier will help you lose weight and help maintain motivation.
My new goals are smaller this year. If you read my blog you’ll be aware that a few years ago I lost 40ish kgs by making dietary and exercise changes – nothing very drastic, just small changes gradually. So weight loss isn’t high on my priority list, however I have other priorities… I would like to maintain my weight, build up some strength and flexibility, and we are hoping to save for a house (probably not this year – but hoping to make progress)… Or should I say we ARE saving for a house? Those are the two main goals, but this year I decided to take a different approach, and look at those things from another angle.
So as I have been sitting here with my new diary getting all organised because I got a new diary and it’s a new year, I decided it’s time to get all the good habits back. I was thinking about new years resolutions as I see them all on facebook all the time, and I wondered if I should be taking the same approach I took to my weight-loss? That was about small changes, and not “weight-loss” as a goal, but I changed other habits that ultimately lead to weight-loss. Let me explain…
My first goal I mentioned was to maintain my weight, and increase strength and flexibility. This isn’t going to happen on it’s own, this will require me to work hard, and as I don’t believe on putting off something that can be done now, I actually acted on this last year. I decided I was going to join the reserves, I know part of that would require a fitness test, of which I would not currently pass and I am aware that once I’m in it’s easier to pass the ongoing one, but I have to get there first. As part of this goal I decided I would need help, a bit of yoga and cardio wasn’t going to produce the changes I needed to make. My husband and I already have a gym membership, so I went and asked about personal training, and we have had 3 sessions so far. My husband could stand to lose a few kilos so he decided he would do the program with me, so the trainer adjusts weights during the workout according to my requirements and my husbands’. In addition to the exercise we now have a parallel goal to get to the gym at least 3 times a week, and this can include the personal training session. This is such an easy goal to start the year with, and the gym visits can vary depending on our energy levels and motivation, it’s not too unrealistic that we will go for a run 3 days a week, although I could manage it, my husband hates it and therefore it would not be sustainable.
In addition to exercise and due to health risk factors being a prevalent issue at the moment I’ve decided to go back to meal planning, something I have been really slack with lately. I also find this helps with my time management, planning for the week and means my hubby will have something prepared if he gets called into work. So our second plan is to pre-plan meals for the week or fortnight ahead, so I have my diary out and I’m making a list of meals we like that are relatively healthy that we can call from if we’re struggling for ideas. We have two thermomixes and I usually make most things from basic ingredients. This means breakfast, and lunch options in addition to dinner. I don’t really keep snacks in the house, I find if there’s nothing to snack on and everything must be prepared we are less likely to snack, and for the most part neither of us have a tendency to anyway.
The last strategy is for our mental health as much as it is for my strength and flexibility. I want to get to more yoga classes, I want to practice regularly, it’s great for my stress levels and clearing my head. Yoga is something I do for me, and there are so many places you can take it to. As for hubby I have suggested he gets out fishing a few times a week, it’s not expensive and it’s his passion.
Although our second goal was about saving money, if we just set out to “save money” where would we be? Right back where we started… So I’m setting some money rules this year, and there are things that we already do that save us money… I make a lot of food from scratch, which means an outlay at the beginning but base ingredients will last for many recipes once you have them. We meal plan so that we don’t pick up fast food options (in fact I can’t remember the last time we had fast food), and I like to make things in bulk which means less ingredients for a dish that will last us for 2-3 nights, and so it doesn’t get boring I will cook 2-3 different bulk meals to alternate and store in the freezer.
In addition to the food options we try to restrict going out to cheaper options like barbecues with friends and family, I no longer buy coffee if I can help it, instead I take a travel mug to work. A few of our debts will be paid off this year so I have plans to ensure we continue to save that money we would have been spending on bills since we have been managing without it anyways. And setting a goal to ensure our savings is never less than it was prior to being paid – although this isn’t always practical, I have our savings set up in a different bank to our “everyday” money so that it’s not so easy to transfer for direct debits or to use at the checkout.
We make some of our own cleaning products, which I prefer not just because of the expense but also because it’s more sustainable (I hate shopping), and safer around the house.
Joining the reserves (if I pass the fitness test) will help us out financially too, with a small tax free income. I might be taking on too much, but I’ll never know if I don’t give it a go. And worst case scenario I haven’t lost what I didn’t have, and I may just gain some strength physically like I was hoping with my first goal.
Lastly we have a goal to save my husbands’ income this year with no wedding to pay for, I don’t claim the tax free threshold and I continue to pay my HECS fees despite having already paid it up, we see it as involuntary saving and it’s something we can’t just access throughout the year. Hopefully leading to a good tax refund.
I think financially, things aren’t given adequate value when you think about how things add up. For instance buying yourself a coffee on the way to work everyday at $5/day adds up over the week to $35, add to that buying your lunch (something I have never done – it’s so easy to pack something and healthier too), that would almost come to my entire shopping budget.
I think we all have similar goals… We want to be more organised, we just want life to be easier, but only we can make that happen. We have to make small changes to our routine to make that easier. Crack a few eggs to make an omelette! You can create or be whatever you want to be if you’re motivated, and if you lose that motivation find something that reminds you. Use a vision board, or hang a picture on the fridge of what your goal is.