The beginning of the New Year represents the turning of a proverbial page, allowing people to feel as though they have a fresh new start.
This also tends to prompt the setting of New Year's Resolutions, intended to achieve positive change in one's overall health, fitness level, or lifestyle in general. In theory, that's FANTASTIC!
Here is the rub, though; most New Year's resolutions are broken by Jan. 15! Then we slide back into the old habits again, often no further ahead than when we started out, and also sometimes feeling ashamed that we have not reached our goal.
The top 5 most commonly made New Year's Resolutions are:
- Lose Weight and Get Fit
- Eat Healthier and Diet
- Be Less Stressed and a better person
- Get Out of Debt and Save Money
- Spend More Time with Family
These are all wonderful things to resolve to do. But, here is the issue.
We make these resolutions often out of frustration with ourselves for failing to do them last year. We place such high expectations on ourselves to succeed, that we end up stressing out about any shortcomings in our adherence -- and in the process, blowing our 'stress less' goal. Not really off to a good start, are we?
In the new year, we try to go all in, and then life happens....The kids get sick, you get sick, a family member becomes unexpectedly ill, and our 'all or nothing approach' swings from "all" to "nothing." You feel disappointed in yourself, like a failure rather than simply a fallible human being, and then binge on chocolate...or worse. You swear you'll return to being perfect... soon. I call it the " I will start on Monday syndrome." The problem is, Monday just never seems to come.
Why must it take a change of a date in order to make a positive change in your life? Maybe all or nothing isn't servicing us well at all in our pursuit of health and happiness.
How about this? How about we every single day make our next best decision.
Let me explain.
You are at a restaurant and you can order either order salad or fries. Choose the salad - not because it is 2017, but because right then and there, that is the next best decision.
Another example. You are shopping. You can either park as close as you can to the entrance of the store, or you can park farther away and walk five minutes.
What is the next best decision? You got it! Walk the five minutes, get some steps in, and maybe even save some parking money too.
A friend wrongs you. You can either a) hold a grudge or b) forgive and let go. What is the next best decision?
Being in the healthy and wellness world for more than 20 years, I see it over and over again; these unrealistic expectations that we put on ourselves, and the damage they cause not only to meeting our goals, but also our sense of self worth.
I have also been guilty of it myself!
How about taking it moment by moment?
Make the choice in the moment to be kinder.
Make the choice in the moment to drink water over pop.
Make the choice in the moment to walk instead of drive.
Make the choice in the moment to sleep an extra hour instead of watching TV.
Climb your own personal mountain, one step at a time... not just because it is the new year but because it is the next best decision.
Before too long, all of these small choices represent a lifestyle change, and that's how it becomes a habit. And habits can either break us -- or make us successful!
The key to your success will be making many good small decisions, one at a time; not trying - and quite possibly failing - to keep one huge undertaking.
I wish you continued health and happiness in this moment, and for all of 2017! Stay in touch - follow along at my website, http://livethesmartway.com.
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