The Challenge of “Resolutions”

It’s January 4th. Today, I crossed out my New Year’s Resolution, which was to work out at the gym four times a week.

Why? (Don’t worry, I didn’t give up!) There is such a stigma with New Year’s Resolutions. Many people make them, but they don’t keep them. (Many people includes me, too!) Example, the gym New Year’s resolution crowd dwindles after Valentine’s Day. That’s not a year resolution — that is a month resolution. (More below the photo …)

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We tend to make the same resolutions year after year. In the past, I made the resolutions of eating healthier, working out more, or taking better care of myself. For the most part, I find myself stuck in the same spot I was five or more years ago.

Therefore, four days into resolutions, I’m shifting my focus from resolution to daily goal. Here are a few summaries of tips I received along the way.

1. Have someone else make your goals for you. Select someone close to you, like a best friend, family member, etc.

2. Limit your goals to three. Focusing on one goal is tough enough. If you limit the number, you can really focus in on your goal.

3. Create goals that will make you happy. After all, isn’t that the purpose in life?

4. Write one word or theme to serve as guideposts. This was an idea I read today from Rob Hatch. In his words:

“… they serve as reminders to stay grounded in my goals.  They can serve to inspire me as well as smack me in the face when I need them to.”

– Rob Hatch

Here are my three words for 2012:

Balance – A good friend of mine once told me how balance is so important in life. If you don’t balance work and play, and all that comes in between, then things seem to fall apart. Most of us have seen this happen. When we work too much, our mind and  body is overstressed. When we play too much, the “architecture” in our lives seem to crumble. For me, this is about maintaining the balance of work and play. Far too often, I work too much, and I need to learn when to play. For example, on days off, I find myself doing projects around the house, instead of just relaxing and reading a book. Bringing more balance to work and play will lead to a more fulfilling year.

Engage – This encompasses several ideas, but mainly focusing on the idea of engaging more with the people in my life to build stronger, deeper relationships. This means listening better, connecting more often and with more purpose. Often, I find myself juggling two things at a time, and this only leads to someone or something being neglected.

Self-Care – The term sounds so cheesy, and I guess it is. However, it’s too important to ignore. I learned about self-care from a good friend in college, Sean C., who taught me that taking care of myself is one of the most important things to do, especially during times of stress. Clearly, while he taught me this lesson, I don’t always act on the idea. When I am busy, taking care of myself (eating healthy, working out, relaxing), is the first thing that drops. I guess I have always thought that self-care seemed selfish in some way, but I am going to put this at a higher priority. As I am getting older, I’m learning that I have to take care of myself in order to live the life I truly want.

Let me know what you think about your New Year’s Resolutions or goals. While we are only four days into the New Year, what challenges do you find? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Author’s Note: The photo in this post was taken on our trip in Ireland this past summer.