The beginning of a new year is a momentous event, filled with possibilities. For many of us, a new year is a new chance to review our accomplishments and make plans for the future. In 2016, 32% of Britons made a New Year’s resolution from saving more money to deciding to join a gym. Unfortunately, the details and execution of resolutions often go wrong. This may account for the fact that 66% of Britons who weren’t able to keep their resolutions failed after only a month. Here are some bad New Year’s Resolutions and ways to make your resolutions successful.
Spending Less Money
Saving more money for your future and retirement is always an excellent idea. The problem is working out details. Often resolutions are to “stop wasting so much money” or to “start saving more” but these lack the details to put a change in motion. Without a clear plan either you’ll find yourself feeling guilty over every pint at the pub or will quickly ignore the resolution completely.
Solution: Come up with a clear, reasonable plan. Figure out how much you can reasonably save each month or out of every pay cheque. If possible, have that money automatically transferred to a savings account each month or contributed to a retirement savings account. Don’t forget to set aside money for emergencies. Expect there to automobile problems and other unexpected expenses.
It isn’t enough to decide to save more. Figure out how to make that happen. You are better off planning on concrete changes like how many specialty coffees or evenings at the pub you can afford each week. Find an area where you can consistently save money rather than feeling guilty each time you try to enjoy yourself. You are more likely to be able to stick with your resolution if you set a reasonable monthly goal.
If you find yourself enjoying too many nights at the pub, this could be the year to cut back. Think about if you are really enjoying quality time with your friends or just killing time. If you want to spend time with your friends, think of other activities you could enjoy together that don’t involve drinking. If you only spend time with these people because you’re bored, out of habit, or because you want an excuse to drink, they really aren’t your friends. Time to find new activities.
Solution: Set a clear goal. Limit the number of nights each month or the number of pints in an evening. If you are sitting at the pub only to avoid being alone, find a new hobby. Start going to a gym and meet people there. Find a sport, club, or activity you enjoy and spend time there. Volunteer to walk dogs at a shelter, sign up for classes, or begin writing your novel. If drinking still seems important to you on a regular basis, you may have a problem with drink. See how your alcohol consumption compares or take a self-assessment test.
A Fit New You
Becoming fit is always a popular resolution. Usually, resolutions fall into one of two categories. Either people want to lose weight or exercise more. For a weight loss resolution, typically the focus becomes going without. Losing weight and eating less becomes the rather vague goal. Let’s be honest, you can’t actively no doing something. This type of resolution leaves you feeling guilty and helpless as you bide your time not doing an activity. Exercise resolutions either tend to be vague or overly ambitious. If you are a couch potato on December 31st you will not wake up on January 1st likely to work out for an hour every single day. Either you’ll injure yourself or get discouraged and give up.
Brits waste £338 million per month in unused gym memberships. Often people sign up for a year-long membership before they’ve had time to determine what type of equipment, classes, and gym location will work best for them.
Solution 1: Rather than focus on weighing or eating less, make your resolution about what you will do. Commit to adding at least a certain number of servings of vegetables at least 5 days per week. Pick a few substitutions for your favorite fattening food. Make a plan for adding healthy food and exercise to your routine. These are more effective strategies for becoming healthier and losing weight than diets and guilt.
Solution 2: Rather than a resolution to increase your exercise, set a concrete goal. Pick a 5K race in the spring to train for, make a plan to work up to lifting a particular weight, being able to do a certain number of sit-ups, or commit to attending a workout class. These give you concrete steps to take and a sense of reward each time you meet a goal. Signing up for a 5K or charity walk will give you a deadline and the fun of participating will be its own reward.
Rather than signing up for a gym membership that may not work out, check out a flexible gym membership or gym passes that let you try different gyms. It may take experimentation to find a gym that fits well with your style, is close to your work or home, and provides the equipment and classes you find you enjoy. Get a friend to workout with you or make friends there.