By now, you’re probably on New Year’s resolution overload. Everywhere you look you see ads, magazines, and busses telling you how to be the “new you in the new year.” The pressure is on and many of us crack.
Don’t get me wrong, having a goal and trying to stick to it is quite a feat in itself because you’re hopeful, while some drown in self-deprecation . However, what’s the point of aiming for an end result when: 1. It will make you miserable in the process 2. You’re not 100 percent committed to it 3. It just won’t last? Isn’t the point of having a resolution in the first place because you want to improve who you are to be happier and healthier?
My motto for resolutions: Think big, start small and stick with it. Here are 5 resolutions that you may have already broken and what you can do to fix it—it’s never too late!
1. Lose weight. You’ve starved yourself since the last lox and cream cheese bagel you touched on New Year’s Day. You can’t look at another grapefruit already and this Cookie Diet you keep hearing about sounds tempting. Stop right there. You can’t live off of any single-food diet and still be healthy for the rest of your life (because that’s how long you’ll have to keep it up if you plan on keeping the weight off this way).
The Fix: Eat when you’re hungry, even if it means you’re having six meals a day, but eat smaller portions. Just make sure the calories you are consuming you’re burning throughout the day. This takes focus and patience, but it pays off over time. If you want the weight to stay off, there’s no quick fix.
2. Exercise, exercise, exercise. You planned on going to the gym five days a week and you skipped yesterday because buddies planned a “work sucks” happy hour. And then the weekend starts the next day, so clearly you’re not going to that sweat pool on your “days off.” Okay, if this is the case for you, you were not fully invested in this goal to begin with.
The Fix: On the days you can’t make it to the gym or you’re really not motivated, try to walk more during the day. Walk home from work. Park farther away from the grocery store. Take the stairs—no elevators! It’s simple and it does work—getting 10,000 steps a day is key for good health. Plus, it relieves that pang of guilt you feel each time you don’t make it to the gym.
3. Save money. When you’re single with no kids and the biggest worry you have is if you have enough money to pay an absurd amount for rent after splurging on a pair of boots, saving’s not exactly a priority for you. With people losing their jobs at astonishing rates, you realize it’s time to save, but you just haven’t started.
The Fix: Think about the frivolous things you buy regularly, but little things like coffees, snacks, or really just cheap crap. Each time you spend, also put that exact amount in a jar. It’s a cash savings that will accumulate, little by little, over time. Just think of the price of that item as being double its original price. If you wouldn’t buy it for that price, maybe you shouldn’t be buying it in the first place.
4. Stop smoking. You only smoke when you’re stressed or out drinking with your buddies, but you’re noticing you’re craving it more and more during the day and you want to stop. You haven’t smoked for a week, but boyfriend drama and few glasses of wine later, you’re on the stoop with your fellow smoking buddy.
The Fix: Stay away or cut down on the activities (and people) that tempt you to smoke. Stressed? Keep busy to distract yourself. Idleness will only tempt you. Out? Cut down on the number of drinks you consume to stay in control. Peer pressure? If your friend isn’t supporting your decision to quit, you might need to re-evaluate that friendship and see that person less or not at all.
5. Be stress-free. Alright, it’s pretty much impossible to be stress-free if you live in a metropolitan city, have a job (or don’t have a job) or… breathe. Life is full of challenges and obstacles will come your way no matter what—it’s just how it is. Throw this resolution out and learn to stress less. To feel stress is a normal human condition, and you can control when you get stressed.
The Fix: When you feel your head swell up and the urge to scream arises, it’s time to evaluate the situation. Stop. Think. Is it worth the worry? Learn how to drop petty problems. And, if you’re unsure, use your time productively and think of solutions to the problem. This way, you can solve it and let it go. Most stress builds up from irrationally over-analyzing a problem and the horrific consequences you create in your head. If you’re facing something very serious, consult a professional or a trusted friend—always.
– LINDA VONGKHAMCHANH