The new year tends to be the most common time for us to make promises, set goals and carve out intentions for ourselves for the coming year. I think that it is a great way to start off your year and I understand why we do it. Yet, all too often, by February, many of us have all but thrown out our new year’s resolutions. I get it: it’s cold, it’s dark, we’re tired.
So here we are: the holidays have come and gone, we’re getting settled in the new year and it’s smack-dab in the middle of winter. For most of us, this is a time where we fight the urge to hibernate; a time when we are less social and less active. With that, come a lot of promises that we don’t keep, goals we don’t fulfill, and intentions we lose sight of.
I know that for me, this time of year is the hardest time for me to feel motivated to do anything other than what I have to do. Over the years, I have found that what keeps me going is the knowledge that consistency is, in my opinion, the single most important part of maintaining physical and mental health and wellness. Perhaps this is the perfect time to reflect on your goals and reevaluate. Try asking yourself:
- Why did I create this goal?
- At what point did I start to lose interest or momentum?
- Was I being overambitious then or am I just afraid to fail now?
- In what ways can I adjust my goals to make them more realistic or attainable to me?
- Are there actions I can take that are small enough that I don’t feel overwhelmed?
- Are my goals important enough for me to make a real change in my life?
- Can I make my future self a priority?
In a perfect world, I would go to the gym 5 times a week, and have a really solid workout every time; but, even if this doesn’t happen every week, I don’t berate myself for staying in or taking a rest day when the weather is unpleasant. Instead, I supplement my gym time with at-home workouts and take every opportunity I can, to ride my bike to work or go for a run or walk. Staying active doesn’t have one look. Staying active is simply taking opportunities to move your body when, if, and how you can. I make compromises with myself that fulfill my want to maintain an energetic lifestyle, while still caring for myself, by spending more time cozying up at home.
All throughout the year, I set personal goals for myself that I have loose deadlines for. This allows me the mental freedom to keep growing and evolving no matter what time of year it is. Additionally, I change my goals around to be more realistic with my current life. For instance, rather than trying to turn myself into someone who can wake up at 6am and go for a run everyday, I look at how to include activity and workouts into my current lifestyle.
I remember once, my friend was explaining to me how stocks work. I won’t get into that here, but I did learn a valuable lesson on “holding out”...if you keep your money in a stock when the stock is low, it will eventually go up. If you keep yourself accountable and stay consistent, even when you’re not getting the results you want right away: you will eventually achieve your goals and beyond!
Remember, the new year is an arbitrary marker, you have the power to reflect, reevaluate and reset any time you want. We can remind ourselves about why we start working on improvement in the first place, and make adjustments based on what we discovered when we put our plans into action.