New Years Resolutions are in part so difficult because we have some prescribed idea of what a resolution is supposed to look like. Lose weight. Eat better. These aren’t good resolutions and they will in almost every case fail. Any type of lifestyle change requires persistence and small, almost insignificant changes. I’ve already seen a large portion of the people who were running in the park on the 1st peter out. Wuh-wuh.
Here are some of my goals for early 2016:
Go running more often
By day ten I’ve run six miles. I’ll be working on 2mi runs for most of January and press it up a little further in February. I have an 8k in March.
The small thing I’ve been doing: I challenge myself to go run one mile per day. One mile is easy and gets me out of the house. I run more often than I used to because there’s no pressure to run a long distance. I also run a further distance than one mile almost every time because once you’re running it’s easy to keep running.
Score: I give myself a 6/10
Drink less and drink better
Instead of drinking several drinks my goal was to drink half as much and enjoy it more. This has worked better at home when I have my glass of wine with dinner than it has with going out. For me the biggest challenge is battling the inner voice that says “you’re having so much fun and it’s because of that delicious cocktail!” You’re having so much fun because you’re with fun people. If that’s not the case, maybe find friends who aren’t only fun when you’re drinking.
The small thing I’ve been doing: I measure my glass of wine in the evening and tell myself that this is all I’m going to give myself that night. A 3oz pour with dinner must be sipped and enjoyed.
Score: I give myself a 5/10
Follow my routine
This has been really hard. An app reminds me throughout the day to check in on various tasks. It’s a mix of work, hobbies, and obvious things: brush your teeth, drink some water, take vitamins, make your bed, inbox zero, go for a run, water plants, listen more than you talk, listen to podcasts, work on grants, read a scholarly article, do a photoshop tutorial, study french. A lot of these things get left behind whereas others I struggle to keep up with them every day.
The small thing I’ve been doing: I’ve managed to keep up with some of these better than others. I don’t let myself get discouraged. Instead of thinking “I haven’t read a scholarly article in a week” I think “But I’ve been studying my French every single day.” Give and take.
Score: I give myself a 6/10
Get ahead on new projects
Work problem: spending too much time responding to emails and not spending enough time working on projects that will advance you and your career. Sometimes things get busy. I have to remind myself to get at least one small thing done every day or I’ll never do it! I give myself a 2/10 on this one.
The small thing I’ve been doing: I’ve been keeping a note in my phone of all the things I want and need to do. I haven’t been doing them.
Score: I give myself a 1/10
How is your new year starting out? What are some baby steps you’re taking and how well are you sticking to them?