How to Keep A New Year’s Resolution

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Confession time.

I’ve already broken some resolutions.  I know, I know. We’re not even a month into the new year and I’m already breaking my “good habits” resolutions.  It’s making me realize that changing a habit or routine, even starting one, is a lot more difficult than just putting it down on paper–or in my case, out in cyberspace (does anyone call it that anymore?).

Then, I got sick.  Seriously, someone told me that statistics are now showing that 80% of the people you hear coughing out in public have the flu.

map_flu_ltst_4namus_enus_600x405Look at that thing.  Nowhere is safe! Your Ami wisdom for the day: Stock up on the vitamin c and break out the hand sanitizer.

But, I’ve decided to look at my bed-ridden week of death as nature’s own little reset button. I will start next week like it’s the first of the year all over again. I’m going to get back to my resolutions, plan out some adventures, and just blatantly ignore the strike on my record.

That, my friends, is how you keep a New Year’s Resolution.  By pretending like you never broke it at all.

We’re human, see?  Without some sort of godly determination and willpower, the idea of not breaking ANY habit for an entire year is–well–it’s just unreasonable.  I guess technically speaking that means that I’m using my non-existent authority to give everyone permission to break their resolutions, but think of it this way:

Say you resolved to “Lose Weight” or “Workout More” or something similar. Now, in reality what you see is this GIGANTIC influx of people at the gym, the weight loss supplements fly off the shelves, there are social media weight loss challenges and fad diets become even more faddy.  Then, inevitably, about four or five weeks in, the gyms empty out and people stop weighing in. They toss around excuses like “I missed four days at the gym.”  or “I broke my diet already.”

“The resolution is broken.  Oh well, I’ll try again next year.”

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Guess what, guys?  There are still eleven more months for you to get back on that wagon.  Just because you can’t say that you made it through your year flawlessly doesn’t mean that you should go back to bad habits for another eleven months. I don’t know about you but I’d rather get to the gym even 50 times in a year and get through it imperfectly than to go 7 times and quit because I missed a week or two. It’s one of those rare situations where it’s quantity over quality.  Your body probably won’t care so much that you missed a week at the gym, but it’s sure as hell going to care if you sit on the couch for another eleven months waiting for next year to come around.

Find ways around your excuses. If you’re bored–try something new.  You’re not the only one who is bored to tears by the treadmill.  Try Zumba or go running outside for a change.  There are going to be days when all you want for breakfast is chocolate cake. Eat that piece of cake; who cares? Just pick back up on the healthy tomorrow. Again, one day of chocolate cake for breakfast is far better than 330, just because you got off track one day.  See what I mean?

Me, for example? I didn’t work out this week, or blog 3 times like I planned. And, I didn’t have a healthy eating resolution, but if it makes anyone feel better I also ate an entire chocolate bar and half a pint of ice cream yesterday just because I felt like crap and that’s all that made me feel better. I was just a big mess this week.  Things happen, things get in the way, but instead of quitting the blog all together and re-adopting my “fat pants”–I’m going write 3 times next week. And pick up where I left off on exercise once my head no longer feels like it’s going to explode.  It’s going to be like my off-week never existed and I will fill the rest of my year with accomplishment (hopefully?) because I’m okay with a victory even if it’s not quite flawless.

So for those of you who have broken your resolutions, get back on it.  For those who haven’t yet, but may have their own “off-day,” or even “off-week(s)” sometime this year, calm down.  You made those resolutions for you, keep going, no one’s judging you. Unless you entered an office pool or something…then they might be judging you, and taking your money, but still–don’t give up.

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The first bit, the actual making habits bit, is the tough part.  Cut yourself some slack, and then proceed to have a great 2013.

Question of the Day:  What’s your new year’s resolution?

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Well…The World Didn’t End, Bring on 2013

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Here we are 5 days into the new year and here I am without a complete resolution list! Shame on me.  This year hardly felt like it started with a clean slate. Heck, even my new year’s eve outing ended in a bit of chaos, including getting bitten by a dog and searching for a lost cat in the cold at 4 a.m., but I’d like to believe that that’s setting the tone for a year full of excitement (but not as intense as the ‘excitement’ that we all got a fist full of in 2012, please).

I did a lot of reflecting on my resolution list from last year. I thought about how it affected my year, the good and the bad things I got out of it, and most of all…how everything I learned should affect this year’s resolutions. This year already feels like its going to be one of spiritual growth.  People have heard me say “I need to do some soul-searching” a lot lately, but I don’t really know if I’m indulging that need or desire quite yet.  So this year I’m kind of categorizing my resolutions into the big buckets that are important to me this year:

  • Making habits of the things I love to do
  • Accomplishing the things I wanted to in 2012 that I didn’t
  • Keep on having new experience and big adventures
  • Take steps toward making my life dreams and goals a reality
  • Focus more on my health/wellness
  • Make a conscious effort to do that “soul-searching” I keep talking about
  • Do more good things for other people

So, with that in mind, I’m whittling my list down about and aspiring toward the completion of 60 resolutions this year.

The Shiny New 2013 Resolution List

Creating Habits:

Do something “just for me” once a week
Make a blog post 3 times a week
Exercise at least 3 times a week
Take a self-portrait once a month
Read a new book every month

2012 Resolutions Revisited:

Go on a road trip
Volunteer
Add an unnatural color to my hair
Create something I can wear
Write a short story
Participate in an activity that is only for women
Get a concealed handgun license
Take myself on a date
Submit a design to Threadless
Host a dinner party

New Experiences:

Go to Burning Man/Flipside
Go paintballing
Learn how to ride a motorcycle
Do something completely out of my comfort zone
Visit a new US State
Join a club or group
Learn to make something that I usually get pre-made/store-bought
Attempt a new form of art
Enter a competition
Do a DIY project
Stop in somewhere that I pass on the road just because it seems interesting
Create a secret recipe
Hack something into something cooler
Try acro yoga
Guerrilla anything (I’m thinking christmas decorations?)
Learn or create a new craft
Buy a groupon for something I’ve never done, and do it.
Take a cooking class
Learn to make sushi at home
Travel somewhere by train

Making my Dreams Come True:

Submit a short story to literary magazine
Get an article published by YCN
Get a consultation at Write by Night
Get certified to teach english as a second language
Pay off at least one credit card
Make an investment
Find a creative (and fulfilling) way to make extra money
Toss/donate/sell at LEAST 25 things that I do not need
Visit somewhere awe-inspiring
Learn more about astrology (you know, signs other than my own ;))

Self-Discovery:

Go camping alone
Make a change that I’ve always wanted but was afraid of what other people would think
Do the 21-day meditation challenge
Make one improvement that makes me more self-confident
Work on intuition/psychic development

Health and Wellness:

Try the Paleo diet
Get a check-up
Shop at the farmer’s market once a month
Attempt a tough mudder (or similar) challenge
Find something new and interesting to do for fitness

Good Things for Good People:

Do 10 random acts of kindness in one day
Help make someone else’s dream come true
Send an anonymous gift to someone for a holiday/birthday
Visit a friend in another state
Get involved with a charity or non-profit