Five Resolutions Not to Make for 2019

It’s that time of year. Everyone is making resolutions. By Valentine’s Day, most of them will be broken.

It’s the same pattern, year in, year out. Here’s the secret: We don’t break our resolutions because we’re lazy or worthless. We break them because we’ve made bad resolutions. The intent behind them is noble: Eat better, exercise more, stop smoking, drink less, etc. But the resolutions themselves? They’re often impossible to live out.

So instead of giving you five resolutions to make (and probably break), we’re going to give you five resolutions not to make for 2019.

  1. Don’t resolve to lose 30 pounds. Maybe you need to lose 30 pounds, but that doesn’t make it a good resolution. Think about it: You want to resolve to do something. Resolving to lose 30 pounds is an outcome. You need realistic actions.

Instead, pick one (or more) of these:

  • Resolve to stop buying ice cream.
  • Resolve to pack a healthy lunch every Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Resolve to learn–and try–one new healthy recipe a month.
  • Resolve to eat three servings of fruit or vegetables every day.
  1. Don’t resolve to get buff.Getting buff is an outcome, not an action. Instead:
  • Resolve to go to the gym one more day a week.
  • Resolve to add one more class or set to your routine.
  1. Don’t resolve to walk or jog 5 or 10 miles a day.

At least, don’t do that if you’re barely making it around the block today. Instead, consider one of these:

  • Resolve to walk 20 minutes a day, four days a week.
  • Resolve to add 10 minutes to your current walking or jogging routine.
  • Resolve to add a few more laps around the track or minutes on the treadmill to your regular routine.
  1. Don’t resolve to stop smoking.

Yes, you need to stop smoking. But unless you plan to go cold turkey, resolve to take the baby steps needed. Consider one of more of the following:

  • Resolve to smoke one less cigarette each day.
  • Resolve not to smoke with your coffee in the morning.
  • Resolve to smoke only half a cigarette at a time.
  • Resolve to keep no cigarettes in your home.
  1. Don’t make year-long resolutions.

Now, year-long resolutions aren’t necessarily a bad thing–at least, not if you make smart resolutions, such as the ones we recommend above. But some people need variety. If that’s you, don’t make any resolution that’s for an entire year: Instead, recommends psychotherapist Amy Morin, the author of 3 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, resolve to do something different each month.

So, maybe in January, you resolve to give up alcohol during the week. Then, in February, you resolve to go to the gym before work twice a week. In March, you can resolve to pack your lunch for work instead of going out.

You get the idea. And you never know; some of the habits may last longer than a month! And keep this in mind: Even if you do make year-long resolutions, you can re-evaluate each month. You may decide to change things up. Just remember, if you drop one activity, add another.

Don’t set yourself up for failure

There’s a simple rationale to setting small, attainable goals: Failure breeds failure. When you fail to meet your goals, you’re less like to succeed on the second or third try. You may not even make that next attempt. “Every time we fail, we damage our own self-esteem,” Janet Polivy, a psychologist at the University of Toronto, tells VOX. “We make ourselves less able to bounce back the next time. One thing we see is that, when people fail, they don’t blame the diet. They blame themselves. And that makes it hard to start again.”

But there’s more than one way to set yourself up for failure. Buying that fitness tracker or yoga outfit or those fancy new running shoes in anticipation of a new fitness regimen is another. Anthony Ongaro, author of Break the Twitch, describes it as “the false first step: believing we’ve made a meaningful step toward a goal when all we’ve actually done is spent money or not done the thing we actually need to do. We’ve actually lost something (money and time) rather than attained something (meaningful progress).”

What’s insidious about this is that buying the gear gives you a dopamine rush similar to the one you’d get if you actually took action. You get a rush when you order the item and when you receive it. That satisfies, at least in part, the need to start working out, making you less likely to actually exercise.

His advice? Don’t distract yourself: “Do the difficult thing.”

Just remember: If you make it manageable, the difficult thing won’t be all that hard.

~ Health Scams Exposed


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