Checking in with your New Year’s Resolutions? Fuse ambassador Avery Gordon takes us through her process of making (and keeping) resolutions.
Ah, 2012. For me, a year of new beginnings, strengthened friendships, positivity, and possibly the end of the world. After taking two weeks off at the end of 2011 to relax with family and lay on the beach all week in the Bahamas, you would think I would have spent much of that time reflecting on New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. As hard as I try to channel all of my energy gained from my year end vacation toward fixing any negativity in my life, I always find that I somehow break my resolutions before I really even start.
I spent my New Year’s Eve with good friends, and as soon as the clock struck midnight, one of them yelled to me over the music, “I don’t even have a New Year’s resolution this year!” Okay, Debbie Downer. So I guess it is safe to assume that you also broke the news about Santa Claus to your younger siblings as soon as you found out? She told me she found it pointless if she was just going to break it anyways. Why set yourself up for the disappointment? But even though I can understand the reasoning behind it, I still couldn’t bring myself to get on her level. To me, there is still some kind of magic in resolutions. It’s just like how I still find that magic in my family’s annual Easter egg hunt years after finding out there is no elusive, giant bunny scattering them around my yard (I’ve also recently discovered that people my age stopped these hunts around age 8…but I have younger siblings, okay?).
My friend’s pessimism got me thinking in a different way about my resolution. I realized that I am sick of breaking my goals and that I need to take a new approach this year. I think the fundamental problem with most resolutions is the broad, sweeping nature of them. If you’re going to make a commitment to change, it’s going to be hard to accomplish with the hugely expansive promises most of us make. Saying to yourself that you will never eat another carb again is probably not going to work. As soon as you have an extra glass of wine, that slice of pizza your roommate left in the fridge is going to start looking pretty good. Eat a bite, and we break the promise we made to ourselves. It is disappointing and it is easy to give up. This year, I decided that I need to make a few small resolutions that will help me reach my goals. If you’ve taken any of Mariska’s classes, you know that you can work out your butt all you want, but you’ll never get the lift unless you work out the little muscles around it (the gluteus minumus and the gluteus medius). So, here goes my 2012 resolutions:
- “Never Confuse Movement with Action.” A favorite quote of mine by Mr. Hemingway himself. Even though I have used this phrase in the past, its meaning just recently dawned on me. Last year, I resolved to lose 10 pounds. A couple months into 2011, my mother asked me how my progress was coming. I told her it was going well, and that I had been signing up for classes at the gym and joined an online dieting program. Guess what? I wasn’t getting anywhere. Even though I was taking steps to get to my goal, I wasn’t reaching it. Signing up for things was the movement that I thought would get me there, but I wasn’t taking the action. I would often get too busy at work, or feel too tired and skip the classes. As far as the online dieting program went, I don’t think I’ve signed on to that site since January of last year, and I’m pretty sure I’m still paying for it. This year, I decided to act on getting my goals accomplished – to go to workout class, to actually do kind things for others, and to not just sit around believing I was getting there by just thinking about it.
- Reward myself for good behavior. I feel like I may not always look at some of the things I indulge in as rewards. This year, I am going to. The first step is going to be identifying these rewards. Instead of looking at a pedicure or a nice dinner as weekly activities, I’m going to use them to my advantage. If I can look at these indulgences as rewards instead of as givens, then I can incorporate them into my life in a way that will have a positive effect on my behavior. I used to go to the movies as a time filler. Now, I will go to the movies if I have reached a good productivity level that week. Eating well and exercising = movie outing. Psych majors, think of Pavlov’s dog.
- Save $150 every month. We have probably all tried the “save money” resolution. Maybe you’ve succeeded – I haven’t. Now that I have officially saved a net total of $51.46 in 2011, it’s time to try something different. Instead of the broad ‘save money’ plan I’ve had in the past, I’m going to set a short time frame and a specific amount. Easy.
Long term goals have never been easy for me to accomplish. A lot of little things often pop up in life that will change my course. Hopefully, accomplishing smaller, short term goals will allow my long term goals to develop and strengthen over time this year. Step one this week will be to get to three Fuse classes, and then get to the nail salon for a pedicure after I’ve completed those classes. Seems pretty doable to me.