This is the time of the year when everyone is asking what your New Year’s resolution is. Working in a fitness facility, I often hear students or members talk about the increase in patronage due to new fitness goals.
However, when looking back on New Year resolutions I always find it best to focus on something that will not only improve your quality of life, but also something that seems to make you happy or enrich your current experiences. Last year, I decided to be more present in my day-to-day life, which led me to deleting my social media. Now, this is not a reality for everyone, but it was a great experiment on how I could maintain important relationships long-distance and feel more present in how I was experiencing the world around me.
A major benefit to me was a noticeable difference in my mental health. This was not the goal or the reason behind my resolution, but I felt more connected to those around me, more involved in the relationships that I maintained and was eager to seek out new ways to engage with my community. New Year resolutions often seem to focus on the negatives in our lives or involve one changing too much too quickly, which may be the reason so many people do not stay committed past the first few weeks of January. Working in recreation, it can be hard to find non-fitness related goals, but I challenge you to find something that will make you happy.
Your Resolution Should Make You Smile
When you tell people your resolution, it should bring joy to your face. You should be excited to share what you are working on this year and how you hope to improve your life. Start off with a positive, which will help you maintain your commitment. Really focusing on what you like and then shaping a resolution around that will help enrich experiences you may already be seeking out. If you love to read but have realized you have not finished a book in a while, reread something that excited you to help get those muscles flexed. This may help get you excited about reading again.
Resolutions are Not Absolutes
When you make a commitment, there is no reason to get down on yourself for letting life get in the way. If you skipped a day, week or even month, there is no reason to let that give you a sense of defeat. The beauty in a resolution is you have all year to complete it. A resolution should not feel like a chore or something you are not looking forward to, and if it is maybe you did not pick one that made you smile. One thing I tell my students is not to pick a resolution you have to do every day or week. Rather pick something you could use to build up to that habit. Many people recommend making your goals measurable, and I agree to an extent. However, with a resolution starting smaller and setting less limitations will help you find ways to incorporate your goals into your current lifestyle.
Try Adding Something Rather than Subtracting Something
It is easy to say you are going to give something up as a resolution, but it may be smarter to decide to add something. Just make sure what you add does not take away from something else you love doing. Rather than giving up soda this year, try adding smoothies more often which in turn may help reduce caffeine consumption. Adding something to your life is a lot easier than having to take something away. Eventually, what you add may eliminate the item you wanted to subtract in the first place. All it takes is a few small habits to snowball into major lifestyle changes.
New Year resolutions should not define you or make you feel you are changing who you are. Rather than focusing on a new you, how can you make yourself happier and more fulfilled in your day-to-day? Let’s make 2020 less about reshaping ourselves and more into helping improve our well-being and the well-being of those around us. As a community, we can support and empower each other to continue to develop and enrich our own experiences. I stole my wife’s resolution this year because I loved it so much: Have more fun.