Thursday, January 10, 2013

Resolutions Schmesolutions!

I make weird rules for myself all the time. One week, I'm not allowed to eat chocolate. Another week I can't drink beer. Sometimes I delete the Facebook app from my phone. These are rules that I place upon myself randomly to try to become "a better person". I'm pretty disciplined so often I can make it the week without whatever vice and move on. I mean... it IS only a week. What if I tried to force some habit for a whole YEAR? No, I don't think I'd be very good at that. I mean, who can say what your life will be like in 6 months? You might really need that chocolate after a long day of work. That is why I don't do New Year's Resolutions. The future is just too uncertain to place that much stress on myself! Or maybe I'm just scared...

My resolution would def be to be able to bench press at LEAST 2 cats. Psh.. chump!

So, like any other socially engaged person, I hit up Facebook to see how my friends feel about making resolutions.

I asked my friends their thoughts on New Year's Resolutions. 3 friends gave me their resolution that they've made, and 1 listed his anti-resolution opinion. I was actually quite impressed at all responses. One of my friends, Marcus, had a refreshing goal of living happily with less. He didn't leave it there, he listed specific items he planned to purge from his life (some he already had!). Getting rid of things like the television, video games, and other electronics was his first step to meeting his goal. My beautiful mother had a similar resolution of purging unused items. She listed specifically that closets and drawers will be cleaned out and reorganized. Finally, derby league-mate Tracy listed her simple resolution of reviving a weekly cocktail hour with a friend despite their busy schedules.

I liked these resolutions because they were so specific. They seem driven. I wondered if being more specific effected the success of a resolution. Or if even the simple task of telling another person (or many people if online) would effect the success.

It appears that both of those actions, creating a specific goal and telling friends, increase the chances of accomplishing your goals! This article by John Tierney said that in 2002 a study was done at the University of Scranton following resolutioners. "By the end of January, 36 percent of them had broken their resolutions. After that, the failures happened more slowly. Half were still keeping their resolutions in March, and by July the success rate was still 44 percent — less than half, admittedly, but still impressive compared with a control group of people who had the same goals (like losing weight) but didn’t make formal resolutions. Only 4 percent of the control group made progress," wrote John.

Another friend, a derby referee actually (so... frenemy? ha!), said that he isn't into the yearly resolution. Jeff said, "I believe you have to evaluate where you are in reaching those goals and make changes by the minute not by the year." There is definitely merit to this idea. Thinking this way may also prevent rash decisions and money-spending. Instead of rushing out to get a year-long gym membership, you may consider getting a month-long trial. This could help you evaluate how often you truly have time to go (in comparison to how often you went in a dream you had the other night where you lost 500 pounds). Once you've established that, you can tailor your goal from "working out" to "working out twice a week, for 45 mins". That day by day evaluation can help you set more specific goals, thus increasing your chances of accomplishing them!

I think you can successfully merge the idea of resolution and monthly evaluation (which you should be doing with any type of goal anyway. I still don't like the idea of setting myself up for failure with a New Year's Resolution, but love the thought that it CAN be done successfully if you know your limits and push them a little.

So, how do YOU feel about resolutions? Do you say "bug off!" to the tradition or set one every year? Feel free to comment or tweet (@chiquitabandita) with your thoughts. I'm so curious!

1 comment:

  1. I think this the year I officially (if inadvertently) decided NOT to start the year putting so much stress on myself, so I didn't come up with any resolutions of any kind. I did find that I was generally very pleasant to be around for the past ten days (ask my family, ha!), and my husband and I actually made some really great strides in getting our house cleaner and more organized. It's like the burden of living up to a "Resolution" was lifted, so we had that energy to make smaller changes on our own terms. At least, that's what I'm telling myself. Whatever you want to call it, it's working for me!