Who had the great idea of starting New Years Resolutions on the coldest, darkest, colorless days of the year?! Talk about self-sabotaging. If it were up to me, New Years Resolutions would start April 1st. That is when it starts to warm up, the colors start to come out again, the days are longer and brighter, which gives the goal-setter a greater probability of keeping those resolutions.
I save my bigger goals for April, but that doesn't mean January should not be a productive month.
So let's make some resolutions this year that will stick through the dark and cold days that will get us ready to take off like a rocket the second spring decides to show its beautiful head.
1. Live in the Present: Always easier than it sounds. The problem many people face is they decide to eat healthier with too high of expectations. They cook chicken and peppers, then they run to the scale to see if they are thinner because of the healthy meal they ate expecting to see results. The scale didn't move and they lose the motivation to keep trying. So instead, focus on the little things. While cooking the peppers, try and flip them around in the pan like a chef would just using the handle. Cook with Coconut oil. The aroma is fantastic and makes you enjoy the cooking process a little more. Focus on the little enjoyments that will make the moments more fulfilling.
2. Be Grateful: In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons, McCullough, 2003). A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment: Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
3. Be Happy and Document It: What we predict will make us happy does not always make us happy. Researchers have found that by simply monitoring happiness levels every day (similar to a food journal) people reported they were significantly happier after just 3 weeks. They also found that those who reported they were not currently happy were less likely to report they were happy after they reached a set goal. Moral of the story: Be happy now and you will be more likely to be happy later.
4. Make It About Someone Else: According to Dr. Hamilton, a scientist, author and speaker, Acts of Kindness makes us happier, healthier, younger, better role models and a better friend/partner. Seems like it is a win-win situation. Pick the time of day that you practice your most self-sabotaging behaviors (3pm snack attack, 8pm ice-cream fest) and instead do a kind deed. Take a friend a flower. Place a nice post-it note on a friends desk. The options are endless.
Yes, its cold, dark and lifeless outside, but we can still set some realistic goals that will further our chance of being successful when spring hits and we can kick our fitness and nutrition routines into high gear.