By Jamie Kirk
Well, the time has come to take an inventory of what worked for us, what didn’t, and literally what has to stop in 2018. Sometimes it is very difficult to look at our lives and determine if a goal or committed resolution worked or not because we often get so tied to the end result that we get downright disappointed when the results are not positive or what we planned.
For example, if you committed to going to the gym at least three times a week at the beginning of the year, and you stayed committed to that, but you only lost five pounds all year; that can be very discouraging. BUT…it doesn’t mean that it didn’t work. Think about how much weight you could have gained, had you not been committed to hitting the gym?
Another great example is switching to be vegan, or reducing your alcohol intake or perhaps NO GLUTEN. All of these things are potentially no good for us, but according to whom? Just because mainstream media says so? Because our neighbor has a child that is allergic to sialic acid? Because after you drink heavily, you sleep the entire next day? If you cut out or add something to your diet, it should make you feel better, healthier, and stronger. Not the opposite.
When we look in the rearview mirror of 2017, we have to be clear and honest about what we need to let go of, and what we need to carry over into 2018. The best way to handle this task is to set out with how you measure it. Asking these three questions should help:
- Did it work / Did it make you “feel” better?
Take a look at whatever it is and quickly assess how you feel when you recall it. Try this: “In 2017, I said I was going to do more cardio”. Immediately, think if doing more cardio made your knees hurt or according to the scale you lost minimal weight. And more importantly, did it make you breathe easier? Did you feel accomplished after 45 minutes on the spin bike? Bottom line is you need to carry it over into the New Year, but maybe differently. Stay committed to the goal of health and fitness, just be flexible in your approach. When you are taking better care of your health, you sometimes have to find non-traditional ways to reach and sustain this goal.
- Did it not work/ Do you have resentment now?
Observe how you feel about something you said you would do in 2017 and determine if you didn’t make any strides forward; it could be at home, at school, with your friends. Here’s a great data point to use: when you made this resolution did you make it for YOU or SOMEONE ELSE? Most likely, if you made a change in your life because of or in spite of someone else, it’s probably not working for you. The resolution you may have made was not driven by a change you wanted to make. Just because you didn’t want to make it, doesn’t mean it was bad, it just means you were fine with it. If it didn’t work for you in 2017, you might have to let it go. You may have made it 365 days (and being unhappy the entire way), but it doesn’t have to be 366 days. There is no need to carry over something you didn’t enjoy.
- Did it move you backwards or steal your peace?
Especially when you look at fitness goals or health goals, it is so easy to over-commit to unrealistic goals. If you went even part of the year doing something or eating something that did not honor you or move you forward, you shouldn’t take it into 2018, no matter how hard you want too. If you have come to realize that even though you want to be more active or take more yoga, but you can’t afford a gym membership or yoga fees, and you are stressed in your Shavasana pose, you may need to re-think this one. Nothing in 2018 should make us feel stressed out. If the goal you had set has not paid off financially, spiritually or made you feel healthier, leave it in 2017.
I think once we do the quick exercise of determining overall how we are closing out the year, we can assess what needs to remain in 2017, what needs to be tweaked for 2018, and what we need to continue doing as the new year approaches us. Yes, there is value and commendation for “sticking with something.” But there is also stress, a lack of peace and unhappiness to continue doing something that is not working. Staying committed to making healthy choices, making choices when we are not stressed, saving money, being kind, etc., are all good goals to take into 2018. But the focus for 2018 should be not looking at the easy stuff, but taking a good hard look at what is not working and make the necessary adjustments. If you get stuck, use the above criteria, and you will have a solid framework to defend taking or leaving resolutions into 2018.
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You don’t always have to change the goal; sometimes you have to change the approach.
Jamie Kirk works for a software company and is a certified spinning instructor. He also enjoys yoga, swimming, bicycling and running. He aspires to start a blog about what we put in our bodies not only fuels our body but our mind and spirit as well. Follow Jamie on IG @tysonsdad