How many of us set new years resolutions only to fail within the first week of the new year? I remember a very good friend of mine declared loudly on one New Year’s eve that she was going to be a vegetarian, only to eat a bacon sandwich the next day and realize that it wasn’t going to work.
We often set ourselves up for failure by trying to achieve too much too soon. How often do you hear friends or colleagues talk about their resolutions “I’m going to the gym 6 times this week.” “I’m going to start hot yoga and do 4 sessions every weekend.” “I’m going on the grapefruit diet for 5 days to lose .” Our aspirations can be great but often unrealistic to follow or even maintain for a day, let alone a week. So what can you do?
Goals are great. They can keep us focused and motivated only if they are achievable but give us a challenge. Think about what is realistic and what will fit in with your lifestyle. How much money can you spend? Do you really need to join a gym as those four walls can be incredibly dull! If you need to lose weight, make sure that it stays off so deciding that you will lose 10 lbs in two weeks will not work and you will lose mainly water.
How about working out on your own and enjoy the ‘me time’ to think, or workout with a group of friends and walk, run, or do something active together. Those people that actually spend time socializing in groups have been shown to live a longer life. This is according to Susan Pinker in her book “The Village Effect’. Also it has been shown that oxytocin and vasopressin, two neuropeptides are released into the blood stream when meaningful relationships are formed and maintained. These chemicals also help combat stress and repair wounds.
By enriching our environment and heading out into the wilderness we can improve our mental state and attitude.
So keep your goals simple and realistic. Setting short, medium and long term goals will help you achieve more because you have a plan on how to get to your long term goals. Remember ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and therefore making small changes to your lifestyle can bring about the big changes that may need to be made. Keep thinking positively and actually write your goals out and not leave them floating in your brain. Refer back to them because, like it or not, these goals will change over time.
Keep focused and good luck!