New Year’s Resolutions Reboot

I was at the gym this morning, as you do, and I realized that it wasn’t nearly as crowded as it has been in months past.
Of course. It’s spring. The resolution exercisers are gone.

Just me, myself, and I.

I appreciate the elbow room (and not having to fight 5 guys for the free weights and benches), but it seems like a shame that so many people in my building gave up on something that was important to them not that long ago.
A statistic I can’t substantiate but that seems to be everywhere is that 80% of resolutions end up going unfulfilled. Then everyone feels bad about themselves and makes the same–or an even bigger–resolution the next year and the cycle repeats itself.
I’m very “meh” about resolutions. Sometimes I make them, but more often lately I set a goal for the year, which is similar, but different in that there’s much less pressure. (Thankfully, because I’m doing terribly on this year’s goal.)
There are a lot of articles out there about how to set better resolutions, but not quite as many on how to pick back up again if you’ve lost your path along the way. For anyone who’s thinking that they want to make another effort at their resolutions for this year, here’s what I’ve gleaned.

  1. Reframe it as something in your control. “Work out more” is a lot easier to achieve than “lose 30 lbs.”
  2. Make sure it’s specific. “Go to the gym twice a week” gives you less wiggle room than “work out more.” (See what I did there, with Item One?)
  3. Go tiny. “Go to the gym twice a week and walk five minutes on the treadmill” is a thing you can do. And five minutes might turn into ten, twenty, or thirty, who knows? (This is a trick a writing friend told me for getting word count goals. If you write five words you make write more, but you can definitely write five.)
  4. Be nice to yourself. A lapse, as they say in addiction studying, is not a relapse. You can fail to do something for a little while, it doesn’t mean you’re failing at it forever.
  5. Was it a crappy goal? Who needs it. Apparently lots of people set goals they think they ought to have, rather than goals they actually want. Chuck the stupid thing and pick one that actually makes you happy next time!

If you’re one of the people who briefly appeared and then vanished from my gym, come back! I don’t want to fight you for the weights, but the world is a happier place when more people feel like they’re making progress on something they want so I’m willing to make that sacrifice. (I’m so benevolent.)

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions? How are you doing at keeping them? Do you have any advice for people who are trying to get back in the swing of things? Let me know!

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