A brand new year is right around the corner, so if you’ve been infected with that “new year, new me” mentality, you might have a slew of ideas running around in your head. What will you finally get around to making happen this year?
If you’re anything like me or the rest of the world, chances are, you’ve embarked on the same journey time and time again in celebration of the clock striking midnight.
First, I want you to think about the resolutions you’ve made in the past, and especially the ones that never came to fruition. Next, I want you to recognize that making a resolution isn’t an event that should be limited to one day per year!
Rationally speaking, you probably already know this, but write it down if you have to.
Now, I want to tell you that setting a goal for the ‘dawning of a new era’ is a great idea if you set it right. Often, new year’s resolutions are weight-centric, fitness-focused, and rather vague when it comes down to it.
It’s easy to say, “I want to lose 20 pounds” or snag a gym membership on the first of the month, but where’s the passion? It’s just not there! Besides, a mere resolve only gets us so far; it’s the plan that counts. Read more about process vs. outcome-based goals.
Between helping you plan and setting resolutions outside of the box, we have some ideas for you to carry on into the new year as we turn over a new leaf. Perhaps, we’ll even do it together.
Make sleep your number one
We’re big fans of sleep around here. Have you checked out our free 7-Day Sleep Challenge? If not, the new year is just the time to get on board. According to this study, the average adult is only getting around six hours of sleep per night!
You don’t need much more than that, though; the study also confirms that getting more or less than 7-8 hours of sleep contributes to your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. So, it’s time to aim for the sweet spot.
Getting a good night’s rest is pretty much the first step to making the rest of your resolutions happen. It contributes to physical and mental health, and it provides us with the clear head we need to make other good decisions!
If you’re gearing towards getting healthy in the new year, believe us when we say THIS is the first step.
Get to giving
Generosity is a proven way to increase both mental and physical wellbeing. First, it helps us to shift our focus to others, thus becoming less invested in our own problems and often menial frustrations.
Second, it seamlessly immerses us into a community, which gives us a sense of working towards something bigger alongside other like-minded people. It also helps us to live in the moment and be more mindful of the people who surround us.
Finally, volunteering can actually fight depression and increase lifespan.
You can exercise charitable acts through small gestures of kindness here and there. Moreover, you can set a goal to volunteer as it fits into your schedule whether that’s once per week or once per month.
You could go above and beyond and get involved in a community organization that you feel passionate about. If you’re more of a ‘behind the scenes’ personality, you can simply set up direct deposit to donate to a cause you feel strongly about.
There are so many ways to practice generosity, and it’s a resolution worth making. Who knows? It could even help you pick up a new hobby.
Step up your social game
Adulthood often brings on new struggles in terms of us carving out time to see our friends. Jobs, marriage, kids and everything else that life tosses our way means being social dwindles to less and less of a regular occasion over time.
One of the reasons that volunteering is so valuable in terms of mental and emotional health IS the social aspect, though.
To elaborate on the goal of giving, you could start by organizing and hosting a dinner party or potluck with friends and family, weekly or monthly. You could also ask a friend to join you in a class or a new hobby.
Make it something with potential to be consistent, and don’t let your relationships fall to the wayside this year! Strengthening your current social circle is also a great way to expand it which can be a nice addition to your social resolves.
Opt outside more often
Many of us inherently spend a lot of time inside, but by doing so, we’re robbing ourselves of potential fitness opportunities, seeing new places and good ol’ vitamin D.
While it can be tough to get motivated to step out into the world in the depths of winter, it’s still a good time to resolve to spend a little more time outdoors in the new year.
Whether this means setting a simple goal of walking to run errands or to commute more often, or researching some local parks and trails to cross of your to-do list, it’s a highly beneficial goal to have.
Organizing time to gain perspective, play more and tap into your inner child, and practice functional fitness (i.e. walking or hiking) is an exercise for both the mind and body.
As a bonus, being in green space can reduce stress and boost energy levels.
Cross a destination off your bucket list
Travel is important to a lot of people, and naturally, it comes at a cost. Where have you been dying to go, but haven’t carved out the time or money to venture to yet?
Make it happen! For one, planning a trip gives us something to work on getting organized and saving money for (two other resolutions on this list). It could also contribute to you opting outside or stepping out of your comfort zone.
Talk about killing two or more birds with one stone.
If you plan ahead and research wisely, you can likely find discounted airfare and get away on a dime. While holidaying may seem like a frivolous expense, it’s a great way to reset mentally when you need it the most, and enjoy rare and uninterrupted time with the person/people you love the most.
We’re giving you the go-ahead here to treat yourself this coming year!
Technology is rather ubiquitous in most people’s daily lives whether it’s work, play or a mixture of both. It’s more difficult than ever to tune out for any substantial period of time whether it’s a few minutes or an entire weekend.
While it may be nearly impossible for you to really do a digital detox, there are ways to reduce the amount of time we spend in front of the screen.
If you’re an avid television watcher, you could resolve to switch your cable to subscription services only. If you’re glued to your phone for most of the day, you can try an app like Moment which will track your screen time.
With that, you have a concrete number to work on reducing. You can also choose to set small goals such as not using your phone past a certain time, reducing screen time right out of bed (i.e. setting a 30-minute rule), or designating 1-2 phone-free weekends per month until you can work up to every weekend.
Have ‘money-fasting’ days
If you’re like many people, starting – and more importantly, sticking to – a budget is probably at the top of your list. What better time to start than the new year?
It’s easy to begin with, but it can feel nearly impossible to keep up with. This is especially true if you’re trying to pay down some old debts, or realizing you might be living a little (or a lot) outside of your means.
First, just being aware of your spending habits and creating an accountability system is a fantastic beginning. If you’re having trouble cutting back on frivolous expenses or stacking some savings, consider carving out one day per week that you spend no money at all.
It might be a small act in the long-term, but it can be really helpful to those who put their expenses in order and see how big their daily budget really is! Pack your coffee and your lunch, and opt for a night in.
Just sticking with this plan will help you be more mindful on your spending days, and hopefully bleed over into some other good habits (i.e. eating out less). If you’re really ambitious, you could do a spending fast for a week or a month – it’s possible!
Don’t just join a gym – go in with a goal
The gym is a place where we can reach serious potential, but it doesn’t come by simply signing up to the gym. In fact, it doesn’t always come even when we’re walking through the doors every day.
There are a few factors that go into this, but one of the most pervasive and destructive in terms of a fitness-related resolution is the lack of direction.
Look at all of the machines, classes, weights and other people putting in work. It’s simple to become overwhelmed or intimidated to the point of setting up some serious limits for ourselves, even if it is subconscious.
Ask yourself what you want your body to be capable of, and do some research. Ask some fitness professionals at the gym, or splurge on some training to build your confidence and your skill set. Do you want to get stronger? Do you want to be a runner?
Do you simply need a place to de-stress after a long day? All of these broad goals can be broken apart into smaller pieces and milestones to work towards. Make sure you’re getting what you want from the gym, and it will no longer feel like a chore, and you’ll actually look forward to going.
Start a bullet journal
Another common goal when the new year sets in is simply to get more organised. If you’re struggling with organisation already, simply saying you’re going to get it together once and for all is setting yourself up for a whole lot of frustrating.
A bullet journal has a simple format that is highly customizable and accessible. Besides – it’s fun! You’ll break down your life into monthly, weekly and daily calendars which will help you to visualize what needs to be done, and how much of it you’re getting done.
It’s a formula that can be tailored to anyone’s needs whether you’re a student, you work from home, or you just feel like you could use some more time in the day (couldn’t we all?).
Alternatively, you could use a pre-formatted ‘bullet journal’ like the Passion Planner if you think you might procrastinate on getting creative. Get your bullet journal inspiration here for how to get started and ideas.
Don’t diet – change your lifestyle
It almost seems futile to discuss why diets don’t work when they’re the centerpiece of your resolution, but let’s break it down a little bit. For one, the term “diet” often has a temporary undertone, so we’re only focused on eating a certain way – and generally a way we aren’t so enthusiastic about – for a designated period of time.
Here at Happy Body Formula, we don’t do diets. We also focus on sustainable change.
If you’re looking for a head start, consider our free 7-Day Eat Better Challenge or the full 9-week Happy Body Formula program (make sure to take advantage of our Early Bird sale).
Our live program begins in January, so you can join in with a group of people ready to tackle a resolution that actually sticks, with the intrinsic support of your coach and your community. Knowledge is power, and that’s what we arm you with!
Changing your diet isn’t about following the rules, and it certainly isn’t all about weight loss (although it is a nice side effect for many). Focusing on the lifestyle changes that accompany diet including weekly meal preparation, learning to read labels, and discovering the foods your body reacts to well are tools you can feasibly use forever – not just until you lose those 20 kilos.
It’s all about mindset
It’s less about what your resolution is, and more about how you approach it. Let’s say you’re trying to dismantle a bad habit. Let’s talk about biting your nails or smoking, as concrete examples.
Both of these habits are driven by specific triggers or precedents. Instead of deciding you’re just going to QUIT, think about what makes you want to do these things in the first place.
This is where your process-based goals tie into the outcome. The ideal outcome is to abstain from these habits entirely, but where is the problem derived from?
Many smokers or nail-biters find themselves relying on these vices during times of stress. We have mental cues that are so subconscious once we have an “outlet.” If you’re trying to quit, start with becoming aware of the lead-up; if you smoke after a meal, start replacing that with something healthy instead.
If you bite your nails when you’re driving in traffic, come up with a new (and safe) activity to keep your hands and/or mouth occupied.
Balancing the short-term and the long-term
It’s fantastic to think in the big picture! We can be proactive when we do this. We can also clearly envision our goals.
It’s inspiring and motivating to think of where you might be in three, six, or twelve months, and it can often drive our desire to be consistent with what we’re doing in the day-to-day to get there.
It’s important to remember that setting goals is a highly individual process, though. Think about some of the resolutions you’ve made in years past, and try to recall whether maybe the long-term outlook was too focused in the future.
Once again, getting to that six-month progress mark requires daily work, so you have to break that resolution into daily habits, weekly habits, monthly habits and so on.
Discipline vs. motivation
Simply put, the reason why new year’s resolutions end up left for dust is because we lose motivation. It’s a fleeting feeling when it comes down to it, and for us to expect it to last just because the calendar year has changed is naïve.
Meet discipline – motivation’s cousin. When we put the tools in place to practice discipline in our daily lives, we can continue moving forward even when we simply don’t feel like it.
Unfortunately, those days, weeks and months are inevitable. If you’re setting up for a successful resolution year, you have to make the processes that will ultimately lead you to your outcome non-negotiables. Eating healthy? Do the prep work. Trying to save money?
Refrain almost all impulse buys. Trying to get fit? Make your gym time “me time,” and don’t skip out unless you need a rest day. Discipline lasts while motivation will wax and wane.
What’s YOUR resolution for the new year? We want to hear it! In case you needed to hear it, the team at HBF believes in you!
Music, mountains, dogs, travel, food and friends.