UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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Today is the last day.
The clock is ticking.
Do you know what your resolutions are?
Make Them, Then Break Them
I won’t bore you with another list of the Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions … again. ( We did that last year, remember?)
You know the usual suspects: lose weight, eat healthier foods, exercise more, watch more reality television… yadda yadda.
The inherent problem with these resolutions is they were simply made to be broken. That’s right. You’re setting yourself up for failure from day one.
Do Better. Make Specific Resolutions
Instead of saying you’ll lose weight, how about saying”I’ll lose one pound a month for twelve months?” Or, “drop ten pounds by July 4th and another five by Christmas?” Setting specific goals provides you with something measurable, something you can see happening. It doesn’t do you any good to lose 15 pounds by the end of the year if you gained ten before spring arrives, does it?
Here’s another. Don’t be satisfied with saying you are going to eat healthier foods. Healthier than what? McDonald’s? Frozen Pizza? That’s not saying much. Instead, define what healthy foods are. Make a list of them.
Be realistic and start with just a few foods and gradually work them into your diet. Set goals for the number of new foods you are going to add each month and the number of bad foods you are going to cut out. Put it on paper. Give said paper to your spouse, friend, parent, child — anyone who cares enough about you to hold you accountable.
The Hard Truth About Resolutions
Chances are, you will fail. There — I said it.
But that’s only because many of us do it all wrong. It’s okay; our hearts are in the right place. We have the best of intentions and all that. It’s just that we need to make our resolutions look something like this:
- Specific – I will go to the gym twice a week in January, three times a week in February, etc.
- Measurable – I will create a calendar of specific days and times I will go to the gym.
- Accountable – I will post my calendar on Facebook and check in with my phone every time I go to the gym.
Do something different this year. Make your resolutions stick.
Another Truth: They Are of Little Use if You Can’t Sustain Them for the Long Run.
Every year we talk with customers who have resolutions to lose weight, lower their cholesterol, get control of their blood pressure and more. They ask us to check back with them in a few months when they are ready to apply for term life insurance. And when we do, we find that many of them have achieved their goals. They are healthier, fitter and generally in a much better place physically.
But sadly, many of them put the weight back on or lose control of their health in other ways. By some estimates, more than 80% of people who have lost weight regain most, or all, of it within two years. Several studies, including one from the New England Journal of Medicine, have found that after losing weight, a person’s metabolism slows and they experience hormonal changes that can cause increased appetite.
This is obviously discouraging and may even cause people to abandon losing weight altogether. And that’s the hidden danger of this common resolution. Once you reach your goal of losing a few pounds, you’re not out of the woods. Don’t stop there. Realize it’s more than just a one-time challenge. It’s a lifetime commitment. Stick with it. Improve upon it. Work harder. Otherwise, you may find those pounds creeping back.
The same goes for quitting smoking and exercising. Don’t stop when you reach your goal. Don’t stop when the calendar says time’s up.
Never stop. Keep going. Keep working.
Now, Get Moving
Don’t let New Year’s resolutions hold you back from bigger and better things.
Set specific goals. Measure your progress. Adjust as needed. Exceed your goals.