We are wrapping up another year, and I for one am simply SHOCKED at how quickly it has passed!
Seriously, what happened? Am I really getting that old (I’m 28, turning 29 in January if you must ask), that time is just slipping by without me noticing anymore? Something along the lines of “Ah it’s just one year, what is that in a span of a long and rich lifetime?”. No, I refuse to believe it!
Every New Year’s I, willingly or unwillingly, spend some time reflecting on my life, choices, achievements and such. When I was a kid, I would religiously get sick in that week between Christmas and NY, and spend the last day of the year either in bed (well, until the party started that is), or crying in front of a screen playing some type of a cheesy rom-com. It was like a purification ritual, a rite of passage into yet another year. My mom would just look at me and laugh out loud, teasing me for my emotional state.
But no more… Each year I have been growing stronger and stronger, ready to take on the year era ready and excited for future adventures!
The idea of making New Years Resolutions has been around forever it seems, and although many will argue they don’t really last longer than a month, I have been growing more fond of them. Embracing a tradition of letting go of the old and preparing for the new is a great practice that can help us advance in many fields of life, specially healthy, dietary and fitness habits!
So how can we make this process easier to accomplish, and most importantly, for our new resolutions to stick? Here are a few tips on getting you there.
Instead of imagining a whole new life, or a whole new you in your head, put in on paper - or better to say, notes on your laptop. Then sync them with all your devices so your resolutions are handy at all times. Once you have written them down, clean up your writing so the resolutions are clear and easy to understand.
- Clean your list up. If there are only 2 items on your resolution list, and they are pretty doable, make it at least a tad challenging. But if you are like me, and want to achieve 79 things in a span of the next 6 months, clean it up. Be realistic, for tofu’s sake! Start with running 1 marathon and 1 triathlon, and expand during the year if necessary. But hoping to run the Great Wall of China Marathon, hike Machu Pichu and go on a yoga retreat in India all in one year might be a bit far fetched. Don’t get me wrong, dream on! But resolutions should be practical and achievable, instead of leaving you disappointed.
- Be specific! Instead of just writing down “Eat Clean”, make a small list of what that really means. If you already cut out sugar significantly, but know you sneak a bag of potato chips in your diet weekly, be honest with yourself and address what needs to be addressed. Pick a specific action or 3 and write them down under each resolution. It will make your goals more tangible.
- Make it new but not unknown. What does that mean? If you put the same resolution on your list year after year, it’s time to reconsider it. Maybe write a resolution that will help you achieve your goal, but is different than the old ‘loose 20 pounds by going to the gym’ resolution. At the same time, do not jump into resolutions that have nothing to do with your current lifestyle and health, fitness or diet levels. If you want to go vegan, but currently eat non-vegan for every meal of every day, take it slow and start with a vegan day a week. A lot of people party hard enjoying all the old habits till midnight on the December 31st, and wake up on January 1st cutting those same habits harshly out of their lives. A month later, of course this change won’t stick. Slow and steady wins the race of making lifestyle changes!
No need to wait till January 1st! Now that you know what your resolutions are, it’s time to take first steps towards making them a reality. No need to spend tons of money on gear you won’t use or memberships you are not sure you really want. Manage your time and money intelligently so that your resolutions will last, but do make a practical move. Here are a few tricks:
- Employ other people. Ask a friend to start training with you/teach you how to cook/invite you to their yoga studio. No friends with same interests? Then make some. Sign up for various groups at meetup.com. I love that site! And although I only attend about 10% of all meetups sent to my inbox, just the regular email of “group run” that I receive almost daily is a great reminder to move my booty!
- Sign up for a race! Want to finally run that half marathon next year? Sign up now. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Find a local race that is doable and doesn’t require too much preparation/travel/expense. Give yourself enough time to train well, but pick a date close enough that you feel it’s already happening! More tips on running your first race here.
- Find your yoga. Yoga is a great all over solution. Bad break-up? Losing weight? Managing stress? Taking care of yourself? Finding a spiritual path? Yoga is worth a try! If you do not want to spend too much off the bat, check local studios that have new student promotions - they are usually worth it! Groupon is another great way to go, although not the most sustainable one for us instructors or studio owners. Sign up now and take a class before New Years. Other options include online classes and videos, although I recommend finding a studio to make your resolution stick - you will soon make friends and feel more connected to your new lifestyle habit.
- Get in the kitchen. Any healthy eating habit starts with you taking most of the charge in what goes into your body. For me, there is no other way to go around it. Learn how to cook if you don’t already, even if it’s just a few recipes. Learn how to shop. Clean up your pantry and add new recipes if you are a pro in the kitchen. A few tricks are getting a cookbook, taking a cooking class, asking friends who cook, and reading blogs (duh!). The later is really my favorite way to get inspiration, and that’s why I started this blog in the first place. Find the list of my blog love here.
It’s time to ask yourself what really moves you to change? The motives that drive you to do anything, to make any resolutions or lifestyle changes should be the pillars of your determination. Yes, there will be moments you will want to give up, change your opinion, there will be moments you will definitely not follow through and ‘fall off the wagon’. What will bring your back or keep you on track is the reason why.
- Find your reason why and question it. I am sorry to tell you, but if the reason why you are joining a yoga studio is to hook up with that hot yoga teacher, this habit won’t last. If you are trying to loose weight so others will think you are pretty, it won’t last. Find that most meaningful reason why you want to be healthier, stronger, faster, and you will see just how much more determined you will become.
I love running because that is something no one can gift me with or take away from me. You can’t buy running. You can’t fake it. You can’t lie about it and in reality, you may not even really impress anyone else with it. But the feeling you get from running, that rush of adrenaline, that delicious sweaty sensation (yuck! I am laughing just from typing this), that makes it all worth it. And it’s all only for you.
No matter your personal reasons, solid motives all have something in common. They are about a higher cause. They are not superficial and not to impress others. They are to make you happy and a better human being, whatever that means to you. Wanna go vegan because you will loose a couple of pounds? You have a better chance of staying vegan if you understand what is happening to animals in this world and feel that you do not want to harm them anymore.
- Practice Patience until you don’t need it anymore. Once you start, stick to it. Most important tip of them all, patience will take you from “I’m trying this new thing out” to a “hard-core commitment for life”. It’s what creates a difference between a hobby and a lifestyle change. I know what it’s like to want fast results. I wake up early one day and workout, then drink a fresh juiced green veggie and fruit concoction, and want to be Kate Moss by dinner time. Enjoy each step of the way and become in tune with subtle sifts in your body, mind and consciousness. Instead of counting pounds, count how much more energy you have, and how many less headaches. And before you know it, patience won’t be necessary anymore because you have created habits that last a lifetime, instead of following resolutions until your goals come true. Because the truth is, once you get that body you want or can hold a handstand without a wall, you will have to continue doing whatever it is you were doing so you can hold on to those goals and achievements. So make your lifestyle enjoyable and part of who you truly are.
I believe every day is an opportunity to turn a new page and start writing the chapters of your life exactly as you want them to be. Make the most of this change, because even though it’s a simple custom, each New Year does bring new energies, new ideas, and new beginnings. Use the global consciousness to make changes and refresh your lifestyle!
What are your New Year’s resolutions?! Share below, I’d love to hear!