Resolutions I Should Make but I Won’t

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

New Year's Eve

I hope everyone had a fun and safe holiday.

Ready to take on new adventures in 2016?

After thinking about goals for the new year, a lot of other “resolutions” started popping into my head. Things that sounded good and I should resolve to do in 2016. But I won’t.

I’ll explain.

Many resolutions are related to physical health and fitness. There is always a huge spike in new gym memberships at the start of a new year. People decide this is the year they will get in shape or lose weight or eat healthier.

All good things, if you can actually stay committed.

The resolutions my brain kept coming up with were similar. “You really should be stretching more.” “You really should start doing some kind of exercise outside of dance lessons.” “You need to be drinking more water and eating healthier.”

All great ideas, all true statements.

Creating and sticking with a daily stretching routine would definitely improve my flexibility and help my dancing. And I’d wager my joints would feel better on cold and rainy days.

I felt like I was getting enough physical activity between walks with my dogs and dance lessons. But then I had to cut back on lessons. Exercise has positive effects on your mental state as well as physical, so having a workout routine to do at home that doesn’t cost me anything extra would probably be a good thing.

There is abundant evidence of the positive effects of staying hydrated and eating healthy. I’m sure that along with a more consistent home workout, I would experience a boost in my overall energy level, which I sorely need.

So why am I not adding these things to my list of resolutions/goals for 2016?

Mainly because I know I would last about two weeks before I started slacking off.

Maybe it’s a poor excuse, but I’m just being honest with myself. If I set a goal to stretch every day for 10 minutes, for example, I would start out determined to do it. And I would. For a little while. Sooner or later, I would have a day that was really busy or extra difficult, and all I would want to do is go to bed early. I would feel ok skipping my stretching just for that day. Then I would have another bad day and want to skip again. But I would feel guilty for slacking off on my goal. I would get frustrated and soon my goal would start to feel like an obligation. I would lose motivation and eventually give up entirely.

Goals help provide accountability, but a problem arises when a goal starts to feel like something you have to do instead of something you want to do.

I think that is why so many people give up on their resolutions before the end of January. You resolve to do things you think you should do. They turn into one more obligation in your already responsibility-filled life.

Who wants that?

So even though I know I would benefit from drinking more water, eating more salads, or adding stretching to my daily routine, I won’t make them resolutions or even goals because I know I’ll be setting myself up for failure. I put myself under enough pressure as it is, so why add more?

I’m not dismissing thoughts like these completely. Instead I’m going to leave them as nice ideas in my head. Gentle reminders for when I’m about to make my fourth cup of black tea at work or I’m sitting on the couch after a really long day.

My strategy is similar to how I fit in ballroom practice without feeling obligated to go to the studio a certain number of times per week and then guilty and self-critical when I don’t make it. Little bits add up, and I always do better forming new habits when I don’t feel forced.

While I do want to improve my self care in 2016, I’m taking the indirect approach. No resolutions, no obligations, just good ideas to keep in mind!

Have you made any goals or resolutions for the new year? Share in the comments below!

 

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