It’s now February. I was listening to the radio on the way to work today and they were talking about new years’ resolutions and wondering if people still make them these days, they came to the conclusion they must not be that popular anymore because they only had one caller respond. While I was listening to this I was thinking about myself, as selfish as that sounds. I was thinking about how I always have something I would like to achieve, even if I don’t share it with the world or with my immediate circle of friends, but I think we all have something we would like to achieve.
This got me to thinking about the resolutions we do make, and I may have mentioned this before but I tend to think they are set unfairly. We make goals like “I want to lose weight”, “I want to save more money”, “I want a new job” and “I want to be more organised”, but these are not goals, they are outcomes. What we should be doing is looking at the outcome we want to achieve and making smaller goals that will lead to the result of weight loss, more money in our bank accounts or more time to ourselves, meals prepared for work, whatever it is we hope to achieve.
As part of the same radio segment I was listening to they mentioned how new years’ resolutions were easy kept for January, but by the time we reach February the motivation and inspiration is all gone. What we need to maintain our goals and dreams is more achievable aims. Having thought about this I have made a few lifestyle changes, the kinds of changes that once we create habits with are more sustainable, and can continue for longer than the 31 days in January. I have returned to meal planning, I have prepped food, I have a plan for my husband’s breakfast, and our lunches and dinners, we have made plans to get to the gym and I have recommenced yoga at home (in the hopes of improving my flexibility and strength enough to have the confidence to head back to a class), I have kept a day of my 3 day weekend for social meetings, and a day for me. I have made a budget, a plan for our year financially, so we haven’t left our goals with unrealistic expectations. While the road is paved with good intentions, I have so far managed to sustain these changes, but it remains to be a work in progress until these changes become a habit.
The biggest barrier to keeping new years resolutions are schedules, motivation and support. I find the easiest way to maintain continuity is to make lifestyle changes, make small changes and remain accountable. Tell friends or family about your goals, this might trigger a conversation about you having similar goals and maybe you can help motivate each other. For example, I was talking to a friend about my goals this year, to lose the 3 kilos I gained over the Christmas break, make more time for friends, not allow myself to be “too busy” and to be more organised with meals for the week (we are both shift workers). This lead to her telling me she had similar goals for the year, so we have been sharing our exercise efforts, meal planning ideas (which has been really helpful to both of us as we are trying things we wouldn’t normally have thought of and provided more variety), and we have made a plan to meet up weekly for a catch up, coffee and walk, since we both have Mondays off.
The biggest obstacle is to make smaller changes and make them one at a time. I have to admit I haven’t done this one change at a time, however, I have reintroduced some old habits that will really help this year, and I have implemented some new ideas to help get us through it. We want to be more organised around the house, with two shift workers we worry the house will get behind, we will be relying on frozen meals and wasting the food we have bought due to being too time poor. So we have a routine, we make a plan of what we can do to help each other out.
These days women and men both work, men are capable of helping out around the house, and we can all do a little to lighten the load, supporting each other and enabling the other to achieve their goals. The last few years we have been doing just that. My husband wasn’t happy in his job and he wanted a change, so I took on the sole responsibility of providing financially while he went back to uni to re-train, he picked up the housework and I took a step back focusing on work and working a lot of overtime,. During his second year of uni, I decided I wanted to do a post-graduate study and so we adjusted our routine again. Now we are both back to working full time, neither of us has any study, so we are re-structuring our regime again. We do what we need in order to achieve our goals, no matter how big or small they might be. The main thing to remember is that we should approach them with the same attitude we would at work or with a personal issue, if you are having trouble utilise the people around you, ask for their support, or offer support if you know someone who is struggling or finding something challenging. Share your struggles and achievements, because you just never know how much you help someone else, either by letting them see they are not alone in their struggles or by seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
In answer to the radio host, yes I think we all make new years’ resolutions, I just don’t think we always think of them like that though. I think we all have goals, we all have something we don’t like about ourselves or our lives, and I don’t think I know a single person who is happy with their life 100%, so happy there is nothing they would change. While we tend to yearn for the wrong things sometimes, the things we should really be aiming for are family, friends and happiness. However, happiness comes in all shapes and sizes, and what provides happiness for one person does not do the same for another. Some people aren’t happy with their bodies, some aren’t happy with their health, home, income, family or job. But maybe instead of looking at what we aren’t happy with, we could focus on what we appreciate and love.