Realistic Resolutions

We’re now well into this new year and have had a couple of weeks with our resolutions. Did you find the gym exceptionally busy that first weekend of the New Year? Yeah, our favorite treadmill was occupied, and it was a race to sign up for any class at 7am so we were forced to wake up for the 6am (which is a tough ask on the best days!). But we know that in time people will drop off and our beloved 7am HIIT class will no longer be like buying Radiohead tickets the minute they go on sale. 

But, while that’s a great thing for us, that’s not a great thing for the people who abandon their health and wellness goals. Resolutions of all kinds are often broken because people set lofty goals and then put themselves under immense pressure to accomplish them without creating a path. It sounds simple enough but the best way to create a resolution is to think big and start small. You should absolutely set high goals and make a plan of small steps to get there. 

So, let’s talk about a few different resolutions that can help better ourselves and our environment, and realistic approaches to keeping them going – and growing – in this new year.

Fitness first. People go all in at the outset of the year and hit the gym hard. Doing anything that you haven’t done much of lately will inevitably lead to burnout and your great expectations for the body you had when you were twenty-two will disappear along with your gym attendance. Thinking big: I want to run the New York Marathon. Starting small: I am going to run on the treadmill for 15 minutes twice a week for four weeks. Next steps: Increasing by 5-minute increments or adding a third or fourth running day.

Earth-friendly every day. We know the planet needs our help – the oceans are dying, the climate is changing, and microplastics are in our water supply. One good start to helping the planet is saying “no” to single-use plastic. Where do we use the most plastic? Water bottles, grocery bags, utensils, straws, and beverages. Thinking big: I am going to eliminate single-use plastic from my life. Starting small: Using a glass or metal water bottle and bringing our own reusable grocery bags. Next steps: Carrying a reusable cutlery kit, straw, and beverage cup.

$avings. There are endless adages about money. And saving it is important – for emergencies, for a rainy day, and importantly, for retirement. How many times have you heard that social security will run out before you retire? In France, the country is on strike because the government wants to change the retirement age. Nothing is a sure thing. Thinking big: I want to save X% of what I earn annually and want to grow my retirement savings. Starting small: Be sure to take advantage of any 401k match programs your company offers (if you’re freelance, start an IRA!) and get a financial tracking app (like Mint or Personal Capital) to see where you’re spending unnecessarily. Next steps: Start siphoning a percentage of your income into a separate savings account, then create two savings – one for emergencies and the other for something you really want (like that trip to Machu Picchu!).

Remember the Chinese proverb – “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You can accomplish what you set out to just remember to start small and think BIG.