As we move into the third week of January, I’m thinking it is time to address the concept of New Year’s Resolutions. New Year’s resolutions were first recorded by the Babylonians about 4000 years ago. The focus of these resolutions was to ensure the return of farm equipment as the new year coincided with the start of a new farming season. The New Year was moved from March to January by the Romans who spent their time counting stock from the previous year so that more ambitious goals could be set in the following year. The Chinese equated New Year’s resolutions with house cleaning, viewing the new year as a time to clean the house from top to bottom.
Modern day resolutions can be defined as “a formal expression of intent” or “commitment to a personal goal.” Resolutions almost always focus on self-improvement by making changes in habits and lifestyles.
At the end of the Depression, about ¼ of American adults made New Year’s resolutions. By the start of the 21st century, about 40 per cent made resolutions. Only about 10 percent of those that make resolutions actually keep them.
I’m personally not a big fan of making New Year’s resolutions. Any of my “bad habits” that I should change, I am really not that interested in changing.
The problem with most people who make resolutions is that they set goals that are not sustainable. Let me give you an example. One of the goals that most people make is to exercise more. First of all, the goal needs to be tangible. What does exercise more look like? The more tangible the goal, the easier it is to attain. So say your goal is to exercise three times a week. What kind of exercise will you do? Often people will choose an exercise that they hear is great to lose weight (running?) or a place to exercise (because apparently the Club has good equipment). If you don’t like a particular form of exercise, DO NOT DO IT! If you are not a runner but perhaps you love to dance, then dance! Don’t join a club because your friend enjoys it. People are Club exercisers or they are not. Find out what you like to do, where you like to do it, and set a tangible, measurable, realistic goal.
Same thing for diet! As most of you know, I love wine, broccoli and ice cream. I probably consume too much of all three but if that’s my biggest food and drink issue, oh well!
Rather than taking away things from your diet, try to add. For example, try to add more veggies to your diet (or in my case, variety of vegetables). Try to drink more water (one glass every time I brush my teeth) and never be hungry (carry nuts with you at all times).
So my external goals are simple: eat more kale and swiss chard, drink more green tea and add those dead lifts to your weight lifting routine at least three times a week.
How’s that for setting goals? Internal goals to follow!
p.s. Resolutions are more sustainable if you share!