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How to Set Realistic New Year's Resolutions


January 6, 2017

It’s a week into 2017 and I imagine some people are already bummed because they failed at their New Year’s resolutions. This is a common theme with resolutions, and it leads to many people starting the new year on a low note. I used to have this problem as well for one reason: I set incredibly unrealistic resolutions for myself. The New Year’s Eve before I left for college, I made several resolutions for myself: Keep off the Freshman Fifteen, get a boyfriend and have a 4.0 in my first semester of college. Completely unrealistic. Several years and many other lofty resolutions have gone by since then, and I now have a new philosophy for resolutions: think small. When crafting their goals for the year, people are generally thinking too big and just setting themselves up for disappointment and disaster. Getting to the gym every day for 365 days is unrealistic, especially when you’ve never been to the gym one day prior to the new year. Visiting 10 countries and other unattainable travel goals are also pretty unrealistic when you have a job or an education to think about.

Now, I’m not saying losing weight or having wanderlust is a bad thing—it isn’t! However, considering these things, New Year’s resolutions put a lot of strain and stress on a person to stick to them and get them done in a year. A new year shouldn’t have to start for you to want to exercise more, and you should be allowed to have slip ups without feeling crushing failure for messing up your resolution. With smaller resolutions, the disappointment is smaller, but the payoff is big because you still get the feeling you’re accomplishing something. Here are three suggestions for some simple, easy resolutions for 2017.

Be Healthier in Tiny Ways
This can tie into any kind of weight loss journey you might be on but isn’t necessarily about weight loss at all. Full disclosure: this is my resolution for this year. I like it because it’s pretty vague but generally satisfying. You can improve your life and overall health and wellness in very small ways. Drinking water, using moisturizer, taking vitamins and putting your phone away after 10 p.m. and actually going to bed. All these things are realistic, achievable, cost-effective and can make your life just a little bit better every day. No restrictive cleansing or gym membership necessary.

There’s something cathartic about getting rid of stuff you don’t use anymore, and something even more cathartic about giving it to someone who will use it. Every year I go through my closet and get rid of clothes, shoes, bags, etc. I didn’t use that year and will never use again. Then I take it to Goodwill. It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s rewarding, and once it’s done, you’ve already completed that resolution. Instant gratification. This also goes for social media. Go through your followers and friends and remove users you don’t like, don’t know or don’t talk to anymore. You’ll be glad you did when your newsfeed and timeline are now clutter-free.

Be Aware of Your Funds
Saying to spend less money or save more money barely enters unrealistic territory to me, but it’s completely realistic to download a free money app (I recommend Mint) and keep track of where your money is going. Who knows, along the way you might realize you don’t need to spend $30 a month at Whataburger and will put that money towards a new couch. You can’t make any decisions without the proper information.

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