For many, January first will be day number one of (insert fad diet/exercise program here). They will follow the instructions provided to them from said plan by completing X amount of minutes doing a list of specific exercises or purchase all the “right” foods on the “good” food list at the grocery store. And for most of these people, the first day won’t be bad at all. In fact, it will be a refreshing way to break free from the norm. Come week number 2 things might become a little more difficult. But even though the new routine won’t be as easy to follow they will still push through like a salmon swimming upstream. Then the one-month mark hits and they have somehow slipped back into the old habits and routines they swore they had no problem changing. What happened? Most likely the cookie cutter exercise or diet plan they decided to follow did not cater to their personal strengths and weaknesses.
Before you make a decision on what system to follow in order to accomplish your goal, you need to have a little heart to heart with yourself. What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses (yes, we all have weaknesses). If you know that you have never been a morning person and can never seem to get out of the house in the morning in time to get to work then it is probably safe to say that deciding to sign up for those 6 am indoor cycling classes is not the best idea if you want to maintain your resolution. It is also a good bet that if you constantly have to entertain business associates at dinners and cocktail hours multiple days during the week, depending on the Paleo diet to cure any health issues may not be as easy as you think.
Deciding if a new system is appropriate for you really requires you to be honest with yourself. If all your friends decide they are going to start cross fit classes 4 times a week and you are just completing 6 weeks of rotator cuff physical therapy, it is probably a good idea to let them know you will NOT be joining them. Yeah, it stinks that you won’t spend that time with them, but it would stink even more if you gave your physical therapist any more of your money when you reinjure your shoulder.
So before you dive into your new system or routine to accomplish your New Years resolution, here are some soul-searching questions to ask yourself to help make realistic choices:
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do your most difficult tasks when you are at your best.
Do you have multiple personal responsibilities? (i.e. children, charity work, church groups, parent clubs, night school, time demanding pets, care-taking for an older relative or parent,…) The more personal responsibilities you have the smaller and less dramatic the new system should be.
Do you normally jump head first into a challenging project or usually feel anxious and unsure when tackling something new?
Do you have a support system in place? Are you your own cheerleader and are good about holding yourself accountable or do you need the help of friends or professionals to keep you on track?
By the way, there are no good or bad, right or wrong answers to these. You are a unique individual and there is no judgments placed on any of your qualities. The more honest you are with who you are and how you operate the more likely you will succeed in keeping your new years resolution far past the one month mark.