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The Truth About New Years’ Resolutions + What To Do Instead!

When I was fourteen, my teacher stood at the front of the classroom and asked us to come up with a few New Years’ resolutions for the upcoming year. She gave a few examples: be early or on time more often, help around the house, or do random acts of kindness for people.

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So I started thinking: what did I want to change about myself in the coming year? What incredible transformation would I make that I couldn’t have made before? After all, it’s almost 2005! It’s time for change!

I wrote a few ideas down on paper:

  • lose weight (yep, at 14!)– I could stand to lose some.
  • eat less ice cream– I was inhaling bowls of mint chocolate chip faster than the speed of light!
  • run more often– being one of the slower people on the field hockey team wasn’t the most fun thing….

I assumed that if I accomplished these resolutions, I could go back to sitting on the couch, eating Doritos and guzzling iced orange juice, and everything would be better! I’d have more friends! My grades would skyrocket! I’d never need to run again! 😉

Here’s the thing though: I made these and similar resolutions every year. Did I turn into a pro athlete overnight? No. Have I since lost the weight? Yep– through healthy eating and finding exercises I like to do, but it wasn’t through a New Years’ resolution. It was through a conscious decision to take small steps on a random day. Research shows that only 8 percent of people who make New Years’ resolutions actually achieve them, and 98 percent of people die without achieving their dreams. Crazy data, right? It’s time to make it happen.

So how did I make these “conscious decisions”?

I thought of one thing I could do every day to make a small change in how I lived. I started going to the gym occasionally, because I had time in the morning. I noticed that if I worked out that morning, I wouldn’t eat as much junk in the afternoon. I started incorporating more vegetables and fruit into what I was eating, because if I’m eating more produce and healthy food, that means there’s less space for unhealthy foods. I’m not saying that you need to be vegan or plant-based or vegetarian or whatever. Sure, that would be awesome, but not everyone can or wants to do that. I’m saying that if you want to enact change in yourself (in others, in the world, etc.), small changes can make a big difference!

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Looking toward the future… or, at least, the other side of the Great Dismal Swamp 😉

Despite my lamenting of resolutions, however, I have decided to make some small goals or steps for 2018 to help achieve some goals I’ve been working on:

  • eat fewer processed foods and more real, whole food— keep fruit on hand for snacks and eat more smoothies or oatmeal for breakfast. Otherwise, I’ll eat weird, processed bars that leave me feeling hungry all day, and that’s no good!
  • come up with a workout routine— I go to the gym almost every weekday, but I’m not great at creating a routine. I feel like I’m missing out on the weight section of the gym, but I’ve always been pretty intimidated by it. I started using the pull up trainer last year, so I want to continue to do that and move on to other machines, as well.
  • go to bed + wake up earlier (so that I can get things done and go to the gym earlier!)– I’m terrible at this, so I’ll be following a routine I found online to get to bed on time and not sit in front of my laptop forever.
  • hike more often on weekends— Dave and I used to go hiking all the time, but we’ve been so seemingly busy that we hadn’t had much time until the last few days off. It’s time we find more time for it. 🙂

Questions for you:

What small changes are you making this year?

Are you making any New Years’ resolutions?

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