Each New Year seems to offer complimentary motivation for change. The trick is making the most of this ‘free energy’ by forging positive behaviours before it wanes.
Think of your NY resolution as the cake and goal setting the ingredients – winging it might turn out alright on occasion, but having the right ingredients increases your chances exponentially.
Here are some goal-setting ideas for when it comes to tackling the two most common resolutions:
Health and wellbeing
It’s really that easy. There are proven benefits to standing over sitting. According to medical researchers, out of every half hour, we should sit for 20 minutes, stand for eight minutes, and move around for two minutes.
Choose healthy people
Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin, authors of The Longevity Project, which showcased a study that focused on why some people lived so much longer than others, found that the healthiest people were those who lived “meaningful, committed lives: They worked hard, achieved much for their families, nurtured close relationships and were very persistent, responsible and conscientious”.
Whether by ending toxic relationships or joining targeted social groups, surround yourself with people living a positively healthy lifestyle.
Over the holidays I read an excellent article detailing a mother’s plight to be more patient with her children and the process she uses involving hair ties. It’s a genius universal concept and it can be easily applied to one’s health and wellbeing.
At the beginning of every day, put five hair ties on one wrist (NB: It’s important to take them off again overnight). If during the day you do something that you shouldn’t have, in this case indulge in an unhealthy snack, you are to move one hair tie to the opposite wrist. In order to move that hair tie back to the original wrist, you must complete five positive acts to counteract the one negative act. The aim is to end your day with all hair ties on the original wrist.
Weight loss and health apps
There are so many apps designed to help you achieve your personal health and fitness goals, by generating frequent health, nutrition and exercise tips, letting you set weight targets, logging how many calories you’ve consumed – and burnt off – that day, and how long it will take you to reach your goal weight based on your daily performances.
Money and career
Week-for-dollar saving scheme
If on the first week of the year you put $1 into a savings account, then $2 on the second week, $3 on the third week, $4 on the fourth week etc. etc., by Week 52 you’d have saved more than $1378.
Grounded by the notion that you become what you believe, many successful people acknowledge the importance of visualisation in achievement.
Perhaps most famously, in the early 1990s, struggling actor Jim Carrey wrote himself a cheque for $10 million, supposedly for “acting services rendered”, and carried it around in his wallet. In 1994 he landed a $10-million role in Dumb and Dumber.
It is believed we should spend 15 minutes visualising every day. You can also try vision boards, leaving post-it notes around the house with your goals (“Millionaire”, “Promotion”) written on them, and pinning to your wall and falling asleep staring at your desired salary, the amount you wish to save or the name of the company you want to work for.
There are now apps that use data science and machine learning to analyse your personal finances and help you make smarter decisions with your money, like Clarity Money, which made it onto Apple’s New Apps We Love 2017 list.
As with anything relating to your finances, you can never be too careful, so be sure to read the reviews and fine print before choosing the one that’s right for you.
Don’t go without, get creative
Sometimes going without can have disastrous consequences, like falling prey to binging. With a little creativity and a slight tweak of your perspective, you may be able to have your cake and eat it too.
If you’re a social butterfly, restrict your fluttering to happy hour only, or invite friends over to share a bottle of wine instead of dining out.
Get out and about by foot and not car, or by ride sharing where you require a vehicle.
Choose locally your non-negotiable delicacies, keep an eye out for coupons and other discount schemes, shop for one-two days at a time to reduce overspending and food waste, pick a night to dedicate to lunch and snack-food prep, and instead of dining out, create a ‘restaurant night’ at home by trying a new recipe or even a fashioning a new dining setting.
By Lydia Truesdale