There’s something about the new year that inevitably challenges us to want to make changes in all realms of our lives; lose weight, save more, plan better, be a better mother, wife, sister, daughter. And then, invariably, when we feel as if we are not living up to the unreachable standards we’ve set up for ourselves, we use it as one more reason to beat ourselves up for not being ‘perfect’.
Other than the fact that research shows that by the end of the first quarter, most people have forgotten about the resolutions they made leave alone following them. The quest for perfection is futile because all it makes us reach for is an unattainable ideals. So, this year, I’m following some timely advice that I heard on goals and resolutions.
We think that not following up on our resolutions shows a lack of willpower. But apparently, according to the unconventional research I came across, it is more important to set ourselves up for success by designing our lives in certain ways that by relying exclusively on willpower.
For example, say you want to eat healthier but every morning finds you taking care of getting the kids ready for school and beating traffic so you always end up grabbing some fast food over lunch. Prepare your lunch the previous night and pack it, then store it in the fridge so it is ready to go in the morning. Include some pre-cut slices of fruit and a bottle of water with lemon and cucumber.
Similarly, if you want to go to the gym, always have a packed bag with a clean set of workout clothes that you can just grab in the morning. Mornings are the most frantic and most productive times so do not spend the first couple of hours in a frazzled state over what to pack for lunch and what to have for a snack.
One step at a time
It has shown to be more effective to follow some simple rules when making changes. Add one behavior at a time until it becomes a habit instead of trying to introduce too many new routines.
It is recommended that you remove up to three habits at a time when trying to eliminate bad practices.