What is a resolution? The appropriate dictionary definition regarding new years resolutions is “the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.” Also, “a decision or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.”
Basically a resolution is a decision, but not a commitment. It is not a promise to yourself to follow through with these actions. It’s time to change our terminology.
This year, instead of a resolution, make a commitment, or a promise, or a contract, to/with yourself. And then, make sure that they are small, achievable commitments in order to set yourself up for success. You can always do more than you have committed to do; the point is to meet or exceed your “contractual obligation” with yourself, rather than setting the bar too high and setting yourself up to fail. Here are some health-related examples:
- You want to go to the gym more (or at all!) this year. So, make a commitment to yourself that is reasonable for you: plan to go once per week, or even twice per month. When you keep to that contract, you will have gone that many more times that month! Continue that and then you can build on it when that seems “too easy”.
- You want to drink more water but love your ______ (fill in the blank: coffee, soda, juice…etc). Commit to following each non-water drink with an equal amount of water before consuming another non-water drink. This will not only increase your water consumption and hydration, but also decrease your non-water consumption, likely decreasing your sugar consumption!
- You want to walk more. Promise to park further away from the door. Also promise to take the stairs if you only have one or two flights to go up or down, rather than taking the elevator. You can take a walk to the first telephone poll and back to start, then increase the distance over time until you are walking for your full 20 minute lunch break! Find ways to work in a couple extra steps here and there, and you will be walking way more than you previously were.
The trick is to being successful with a commitment to yourself is to:
- Commit! You are doing this for you and no one else. If you follow through, you will be successful in treating yourself to happiness.
- Set reasonable and achievable goals. You do not have to become a marathon runner this year. You do not have to go to the gym seven days a week if you don’t even go once usually. Any progress is still progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Don’t get discouraged by not meeting a goal. You’re sick, so you didn’t make it to the gym this week. Ok, when you’re feeling better, get right back on the horse. If you’re feeling well enough and have the time, make up the lost gym trip(s). If not, that’s perfectly ok too! The important thing is to get back to the gym and keep the commitment you made to yourself
- Give yourself permission to succeed. We often set goals and then self-sabotage. Keep your goals and reasons for these in mind. Make a clear list and keep it where you can see it.
- Don’t give up. When we make commitments to others, we have a much easier time keeping them than when we commit to ourselves. Consider this a commitment worth keeping, because you are worth it! The results will fulfill you in such an incredible way.
- Reward yourself. Did you keep your commitment for all of January? Reward yourself in some way. The reward should not be something that goes against/sabotages the contract you have made with yourself. The reward could be something small like buying yourself the book you have been wanting to read or treating yourself to new shoes. You can also accrue your weekly/monthly successes and “cash them in” on a larger reward, like a massage or a weekend away. The point is to do something for yourself that you will enjoy that you don’t normally do, ideally not food related or detrimental to your health goals.
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Second image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net