Getting Started on Your New Years Resolutions
Who else loves a good New Years resolution?
Yes, no? No one? Only me then! Alright!
I know I’m in the minority when I say I absolutely and completely love New Years resolutions, because I’ve spent the last few years being that somewhat ingratiating friend who chirps up with ‘so any resolutions you’re planning on next year? somewhere around the middle of November.
I’m like the girls who put up Christmas trees on the first of November (no shade, I myself begin obsessing over Christmas oh sometime around the 3rd of September), except more annoying to the average soul, because whilst Christmas comes with cozy onesies, chocolate advent calendars, mince pies, movies, and gifts… the new year just brings shame, judgement, gym memberships and lettuce. Or celery.
Or shudder, dairy free milk.
I don’t think it needs to be that way though.
There’s a reason that I badger people till they stop meeting me for coffee, there’s a reason I want to gather up everyone’s new years resolutions like little baubles, there’s a reason I binge watch YouTube videos on new years resolutions a couple of months before the ball drops: and that reason is that the new year whist reminiscent of HIIT workouts and deprivation yes, is also full of something far, far better: promise.
Yes I get it, you can start over on any given day, you can get healthy whenever you’re tired of feeling tired, you can take those tiny steps towards your big dreams every single day- and there’s no reason to put any of that off until January.
But making changes are hard, and I do believe that, whilst its not always that simple, it is somewhat easier to find the impetus to begin to change your habits and your behavior, when the rest of the world is recognizing the new start alongside you, pomp, circumstance, parties, poppers, and all.
Habit change is of course a complex thing, its not a matter of motivation but perseverance, dedication and damage control, but the trigger, the start, can come from anywhere. And why isn’t the first of January a fabulous trigger?
Either way, it is for me, and sitting smack in the middle of November as I write this, I am getting seriously excited and geared up to work towards that transition, now.
Because I know that habit change wont miraculously occur the moment the clock strikes twelve, this year I’m trying a wholly different approach to New Years resolutions.
I’m starting them in the third week of November.
Yes, overenthusiastic much.
I’m hoping this will actually help me stick with my resolutions once January 1st rolls around, because science will have you believe it takes anywhere from 21 to 50 or more days to actually change or form a new habit.
I don’t know that it does, I don’t know if I can ever fully buy the idea that every human being approaches change or exhibits discipline in exactly the same way, but hey I’m not taking chances.
Starting now means I have a good five or so weeks, discounting the manic Christmas period, for the purposes of trail and error. I’ve tried a lot of habit change over the years and I’ve found that there is almost always a bumpy start, it almost always takes a few starts, and many tweaks to find your groove and find something you can actually stick with.
By test driving your New Years Resolutions, you actually open the door to figuring out what doesn’t work for you, by actually observing it in practice, and taking what you’ve learnt to make sure your resolutions do work for you, when you start them again in earnest.
Take for example the new years favourite, joining a gym. Or working out five times a week if you will.
Now I already have a gym I know and love here in Dubai, and a gym that will do in Iraq, but I didn’t stumble across my home gym in Dubai on a happy first encounter. It looks years of joining, hating, avoiding, feeling guilty at the cost, to finally find a gym that was close enough that I would actually go, and vibes with me in the right way that I feel like going. For me that was actually the pretty simple bog standard choice of Fitness First, the one closest to me on the Golden Mile. But this particular gym has a lot of young people whose criminal fitness levels inspire me to push myself further, great instructors in the group classes, a full schedule to pick from, and its really clean- always a plus or a turn off depending on the state, for me at least.
But I didn’t find that gym easily.
I’ve been a member of many gyms in the lead up to finding one that worked for me and that ensured I actually went to the gym frequently, both for the shared workout space and for the classes. Boy, if I had known I could find a gym I would truly, truly be happy with and excited to go to (I miss it when I’ve not been there often, and that is crazy to me!), I would be so much healthier and fitter right now, trust me!
The point I’m trying to make is, any resolution is bumpier than you think from the outset. You may feel or hope its going to be something as simple as making a decision and following through, but it seldom is. There’ll be issues and bumps along the way that you just can’t predict from the outside, and so giving your resolutions a ‘trial run’ free of pressure, makes it so much easier to find places/habits/tools you can realistically rely no come January 1st.
I don’t have the answers or the ideas yet because as this is being written in mid November I’m only just beginning to really think about new ways I might want to switch things up next year.
I’ve gone through the whole host of resolutions in the past (I do birthday resolutions every July so yeah, I mean, I’ve been there tried that!), and so I’m hoping that this year I can really give myself these weeks to mull, search, explore, and get inspired.
A great place to start with this is by searching for actual videos dedicated to new years resolutions ideas on YouTube. Videos by Lavendaire or Muchelle B always pack a punch, and there are countless other amazing YouTubers and bloggers out there who have in past years and will no doubt this year, be sharing idea after idea so you can pick what you fancy!
If you’re not feeling any of the suggestion others have come up with then try and kick start your own inspiration list by thinking about what an ideal day would look like for you, or even an ideal week or month. Are there habits or practices that would make you feel more inspired, excited, relaxed, or healthy, and if so how can you go about building them? Are there places you want to visit or skills you want to acquire? Things you’ve always wanted to do but forgotten about as life has got in the way?
I feel like with every passing year there are so many interests we develop and let fall by the wayside, so many things we become obsessed with and then forget about because we have no time to explore or pursue them. Dig those lost loves up and resolve to work on them next year and see if they really pan out into everything you thought they would!
Resolutions don't have to be big or beneficial- sometimes they can just be small practices that bring you a little happiness at the end of the day.
So what did you love doing as a teenager that you might have forgot about, and would you like to be doing more of it in 2019?
Finally, starting to think about resolutions early really just takes the mental pressure that makes you want to cringe and say ‘resolutions are so lame and don’t work anyway’, and actually wonder that if you took them seriously, they might work for you.
Decisions made under stress or duress never pan out well do they? But decisions made slowly whilst sipping over a nice Grande Toffee Nut Latte, now thats another story altogether!
So for what its worth, why not pull on your comfy socks, get out that cute overpriced notebook you bought in January and still haven’t used, and really give those annoying things a chance this year.