Albert Einstein famously said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Put me down as a believer. So, this year, I want you to join me and makeover your resolutions. Instead of repeating last year’s resolutions to lose 10 pounds, eat better, save more money, etc., try one of the two approaches I’m going to suggest.
- Approach #1 is to pick a single step or a mini-habit that will help you reach your goal, then make that your resolution. For example, instead of repeating your “Lose 10 pounds” goal, pick one thing that will most help you do it: Work with a trainer or nutritionist for 6 months. Start meal prepping. Work on your sleep hygiene. If you make working with a trainer your goal, you will get many benefits (expertise, support, accountability) from it, and you will be more likely to lose the weight.
- Approach #2 is to come at your resolution from a totally different angle. It’s exactly what I’m doing with Resolution #1.
Resolution #1: Have more fun
When we were kids, having fun was our number one priority. Then we turned into serious adults with to-do lists and a bunch of self-improvement goals. With having more fun as your resolution, this year, you can approach a goal like self-care from a totally new angle.
According to science, having fun makes us smarter, kinder, improve our relationships, make us feel more youthful, and reduces stress. It’s not just your health, but your career, relationships, and your looks that can all improve if you focus on having more fun. Approaching self-care from this angle may just be the switch-up you need to inspire you to stick to it. Plus, personal development is easier when you add fun to it.
Use specific and actionable steps like these to help you keep your resolution and add more fun to your life. I recommend that you do at least 2-3 of these activities, and of course, please add your own steps/mini-goals to this list.
- Join a dance class
- Plan a trip of a lifetime for the fall
- Do a weekend staycation once a month for all 12 months of 2020
- Do finger painting or any type of art one weekend morning
- Create a vision board
- Subscribe to a Joke a Day
- Add bright colors and vibrant decor to your workspace
- Add fun playlists to your Spotify account
- Kill the news. Yes, even if (make that especially if) the US goes to war with Iran.
- Join an acting Improv class
Resolution #2: Work on relationships
Two of the most popular goals we make every year are to make more money and improve our looks. Most of us want to make more money to boost our sense of security. Others want to look better in other people’s eyes. And we always want to look good in our jeans because as a confidence-booster, it works! Ironically, it’s having solid relationships that give us the deepest sense of security and the highest levels of confidence and self-worth. Having people we can lean on during difficult times, belonging to a community, and having healthy family dynamics free us up to work on all those other goals.
Consider emotional eating for example. Did you know that one of the main reasons we overeat is because we feel disconnected? The confidence and sense of security we develop when we have healthy relationships, help us to be more consistent with other goals. With fewer insecurities and with less of a need to prove yourself, you skip the mental baggage that often keeps us from doing our goals and resolutions consistently, like going to the gym.
- Here are some specific and actionable goals and activities to improve your relationships:
- Daily/weekly date with your SO, sibling, children or someone important to you.
- Monthly dinner parties—make it a potluck or rotate who cooks
- See a therapist about anger management
- Attend monthly networking events at XYZ group
- Take a class or start doing a sport with someone who you want to build a relationship with
- Learn your and your SO’s love language
- Make time for intimacy with your partner (which can lead to more sex and produce happy hormones)
Resolution #3: Make meal prep a thing
Take a moment and think about what’s kept you from following through on your commitment to eating healthier in the past. If you’re like most people, it will be food convenience. By making meal prep a thing, you can make eating healthier a convenient and easier option. It will change your life because by fixing the underlying problem, you’re not fighting with your willpower and all that other nonsense dieters struggle with.
To help you follow through and make meal prepping easier, follow these tips.
- Get the right containers
- Meal prep with a friend or family member if you hate cooking
- Follow a meal-prep pro on social media
- Go with beginner-friendly meal prep meals
- Pick the right day of the week when you know you have the time to cook
- Play music or find other ways to make it into an enjoyable routine
- Sign up with a produce delivery service if it will help and if you have the funds
Resolution #4: Read more
It’s a fact, successful people read! So, if you want to be successful, you need to read more. But just saying you’ll read more won’t spin the pages. Set smaller goals and actionable steps to increase the likelihood that you’ll read more:
- Join a book club
- Subscribe to an audiobook service like audible
- Go to the library/neighborhood coffee shop after work
- Add reading to your bedtime routine or find other ways to add it to your daily routine
- Read on the treadmill or find other ways to multi-task your reading
- Take public transportation to make time for reading
- Make friends with some smart people
- Only read books you enjoy
Resolution #5: Save X amount per month
Having extra money can open doors and give you the security to pursue larger life-changing goals like starting a family, buy a home, and make investments. Because saving is one of those habits that requires self-discipline, by doing it, you’ll build your self-discipline muscles. That self-discipline you develop from sticking to a savings plan can help you in other areas, like dieting.
Once again, just saying you’re going to save more or work on your finances is not actionable or specific enough, although setting a fixed amount helps. In addition to setting a fixed amount, use these suggestions to help you stick to this resolution.
- Automate your savings plan by setting up your payroll deposit to put that amount directly into your savings account.
- Figure out a way to generate a second income, even of $200 more a month.
- Downsize /simplify your life.
- Meet with a financial planner/ investment advisor so you have a plan for your savings. With a plan, you’ll be more committed because you know what you’re saving up.
- Follow a financial advisor or podcast.
Christine is a Life Strategist and Emotional Health Coach living in Los Angeles. She's big on meditation and believes in systems and routines, and in personalizing everything you do to help you get where you want to be.