If you spend your mornings at work like most Americans, last week you were definitely reading the news and came across multiple stories that claim January 12th is the official day most people quit their resolutions. Yikes– considering there is a lot of research around 30 days being the amount of time it takes to create a habit.
And I can guarantee you without any sort of real professional training in the matter, that this is because resolution setting = biting off more than we can chew. Once upon a time this was me. I would set unrealistic goals and then feel terrible and give up when I didn’t achieve them. It’s easy to be lofty, hard to execute and feels like such a horrible loss giving up seems like the only answer.
I am telling you now, that there is an easier way. Whether you’d like to workout more, eat better, find a new job, start a hobby, or get back to dating, there is an easier way than jumping into the deep end from a high dive when you didn’t even know water existed.
Please note how I did not say a “BETTER LIFE”. Mindset is important here because the word better can be so subjective and can mean different things to so many people. Instead of thinking of yourself as a terrible person with an awful life that needs improving, think of goal setting (or resolutions or intentions, whatever you want to call them… in fact you can listen to Frank and I argue about this on our most recent podcast episode) as finding your way to the life you’d like to have. That’s why it is also important to set goals that will MAKE YOU HAPPIER not BETTER. Better is for chumps.
Here’s a personal story (isn’t this what you come for?): I started working out with the “better mindset” roughly 10 years ago. I would kill myself at the gym, always going all out on Sundays with 2 hour super sessions. I’d be depleted, sore, and feel terrible the next day because I wasn’t taking care of my body in other ways. I was often sick 4-5 times a year and had lots of injuries. But I kept PUSHING because fitness “stars” on IG were telling me to PUSH HARDER and BE BETTER. I pushed myself right into sustained injuries that took months and in some cases years to truly heal. I quit and started many times, thinking “this is it.”
Guess what that never did for me? Make me happy. At some point I shifted my mind set to CONSISTENCY. I found workouts I like, not hate. (A good friend of mine, Roberta, recently explained to me that she stopped going to a certain workout class because so much of her day is spent doing things she hates already [but has to do] why add another one? And it is so true.)
I started working out more regularly but “lighter”. 20 minutes here or there, doing more yoga, taking rest days when I felt tired (LOL how novel right?) And the craziest thing happened.
I worked out more. I was happier. I haven’t been sick in over a year. And I am in the best physical shape of my life doing LESS. WOAH!
I wrote a post similar to this about how “the jug fills drop by drop” and it still applies. Not just to fitness, but to everything. I’ve produced more written content in the past two years because I said fuck it to the algorithms and publications and just started writing what I wanted, working on what I wanted, and on days when I didn’t write I tried to not feel guilty (I am still working on this to be honest).
So here’s the thing. If you gave up on your resolution on January 12th, the great news is you can start again today. There are no rules to this and you don’t have to wait to January 1 to change your life in any shape or form. Just start. Do one small thing each day for 7 days. Whether that’s just 10 sit ups, or 1 line of poetry, or change 1 bullet point on your resume each day… just start. Because in a week, that 1 line of poetry is suddenly 7.
Shocking, I know.
And yes, I’ve had some ringer hangovers and I feel like a terrible person who is worthless for an entire day. We all know that guilt. But again, here’s the awesome thing. Tomorrow’s a new day. Tomorrow we can start again. And hey, if your head stops throbbing at 5pm, and you’ve had nothing but cold pizza all day, throw some kale on top.
Every little thing counts my friends.