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If you’re a frequent gym-goer, you undoubtedly have seen a ridiculous spike in gym attendance this week. You’ve fought for space at the squat rack, you’ve battled for an elliptical, you murdered someone just to get some space in your normally half-full Barre class. And it’s all due to this thing we refer to as “New Year’s Resolutions.”
New Year’s Resolutions date back to the Babylonians and Ancient Romans, (according to Wikipedia, THE premier free encyclopedia), and it’s so pervasive among cultures across the world to this day. If you’re one to make a New Years Resolution, that’s obviously your prerogative, and I applaud your decision to better yourself, whether your resolution is to get in better shape, save more money, find love, drink less, smoke more, brunch harder, whatever.
But, I’m basically here to say: stop it. Do not make resolutions.
Do you know what “resolution” means?
1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
A firm decision to do or not do something…I don’t know about you, but that’s intimidating AF, and nobody, not even myself, tells me what I can and can’t do. Life isn’t a series of firm decisions that box you into a certain way of being. It’s way more fluid than that.
Resolutions seem to me like they’re decisions you’re making because it’s what you think you should be doing, but like, if you think you should be doing it why haven’t you been doing it already? Why arbitrarily wait for a new year to begin to try and improve yourself? What have you been waiting for up to this point?
Instead of resolutions, I propose you make goals instead. And yes, while a goal on the surface seems exactly like a resolution, you’re wrong. I’m smart, you’re dumb; I’m big, you’re little; I’m right, you’re wrong, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
You want to know the definition of “goal?” It’s “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” I dare you to find any firm decisions in that. Any strict black and white parameters for things you can and can’t do. With a goal, it’s okay to take two steps back after your first step forward and not be discouraged. It’s a fluid, ever-changing process to achieving your goals, and you don’t have to feel like you’ve let yourself down if you slip up. Rather than say, a resolution, which is far too firm a concept for our dynamic lives.
When I was a stud high school wrestler, my coach used to tell us to make three goals: one that was easily attainable, one that was a reach but something that you could definitely achieve with hard work (think like 50/50 odds), and then one that was a shoot for the moon. And this is the model I propose should replace New Years Resolutions.
So, instead of “I want to save a lot of money this year,” your goals in this three-goal model could look like: I will save 10% my paycheck, 25%, and 50%. Obviously, 50% saving of paycheck is a wicked lofty goal. But if you don’t hit that metric, maybe you definitely hit your first target though, 10%, and that’s definitely something to be proud of.
The same logic can apply to fitness goals, as well. With the three-goal model, you leave yourself room to slip up, to make mistakes, to get a little messy. If your lofty shoot for the moon goal is to get six-pack abs, and you’re starting 30 pounds overweight, you HAVE to know it’s going to be an uphill battle. I’m not saying you can’t do it, but the three-goal model allows you to also set a realistic goal below the six-pack goal. You know, so when you get drunk and eat a whole pizza, you don’t get discouraged because your lesser goals – maybe it’s to lose ten pounds – are still well within your reach.
So, this January, don’t make yourself do anything simply because you think you have to. Don’t make any firm decisions, because it can prevent you from living your best life. Instead, set goals with varying levels of attainability. I think you’ll find it much better. .