Happy New Year! And happy new you? Many Americans use the changing calendar year as motivation to launch big-time changes of their own. While Wanda and Wayne share the belief that you can seize opportunities to make positive change in your life every day of the year, they also support anyone trying to better themselves as the new year kicks off. That fresh year ahead creates such an attractive starting line toward a road of possibilities.
But -- there’s always a but, right? But: While change can be incredibly rewarding, change is also hard, riddled with potential for self-defeating pressure, and it doesn’t come overnight. The best route to success is taking it nice and easy, and being kind to yourself during the journey.
With the countdown to 2019 underway, Wanda and Wayne weigh in on some popular modern-day New Year’s resolutions and best bets for making change that will stick in the days and even years ahead.
Get in shape/exercise more/lose weight
Annually, America’s most common resolution, according to Psychology Today: Achieving health and fitness goals can certainly change our lives and make us feel better about ourselves. But failing can make us feel worse than we did in December.
Changing how we physically fuel and use our bodies can be incredibly challenging and humbling. Heck, sometimes it’s hard to even express these goals to those closest to us because we will invite scrutiny that leaves us feeling vulnerable. Well, do your best to set all that aside, and embrace the resolution, because some research suggests that just by putting your goals out there, you’re more likely to achieve them. Hooray!
Now, getting in shape is hard, exercise is boring, and losing weight is impossible, right? No! Here are some tried-and-true tips: Make workouts convenient by finding a time and place that works for you. Meaning, if you’re not a morning person, don’t pretend you’re about to start waking up at 5 a.m. for spin class. And don’t sign up for a gym that’s clear across town. Create accountability by committing; I’ve found putting my gym time on my work calendar makes me more likely to do it. Or sign up for a class series with a friend. Find something fun! Not everyone is a runner; long walks, Zumba class or a fat-tire bike could be your thing. Finally, be patient and realistic. Long-term results may feel slow coming, but will result from meaningful and sensible lifestyle changes.
Save more money
In this tumultuous time of trade wars, wealth disparity, rising health care costs and crashing 401(k)s, this resolution is more popular, and for many important, than ever.
Money isn’t everything, but it sure does help. As much as a commitment to fitness can lead to a healthier, happier life, a commitment to financial fitness can lead to less stressful, happier life. Like all life changes, start small, be thorough, and stay committed. Want more bulk in your bank? There are opportunities all around you. Do you really need a $5 latte every morning? Do you really need 200 TV channels? Does your living space really need to be 72 degrees all winter?
And here’s a golden opportunity to kill two resolutions with one stone: focusing on a healthier lifestyle often translates into money savings. I know that when I’m zoned in on my fitness, my credit card bills get slimmer, too – fewer visits to local watering holes and restaurants, more time spent on my skate skis and in my kitchen cooking healthy meals.
Get a better job
Bettering ourselves can often mean mentally committing to a professional change. But how to make it happen?
We spend so much of our adult life at work that it’s no wonder we reassess this area as we audit our happiness and success. Is it time for you to make a change? And how do you do it? There are lots of ways to dip your toe into different professional pools to see whether you might be better suited elsewhere. Try volunteering, or take a class through UAA or online. If you know someone who’s successful in a field that interests you, take them to coffee and ask for mentoring and advice.
Also, look for open positions that interest you, and apply, apply, apply. Job interviews are like first dates – an awkward but also potentially exciting time to sell ourselves. It’s an uncomfortable space for most of us, and practice makes us better at it, if not perfect.
Like any change, switching jobs or careers will eventually require you to give up the known for the unknown, to possibly take a pay cut, or a step down the ladder. But if it’s truly what you want, a step backward can actually be a step in the right direction in the long run.
Fix your love life/fix your social life
While this resolution is usually made by unhappy singles in lonely times, it can be a thoughtful and impactful commitment for anyone.
I just read a cute column about a married Chicago couple with two young kids and two demanding jobs who resolved to have a date night without kids once a week in 2018. No chance they could pull that off, right? Spoiler alert: As of last week, 51 weeks, 51 date nights, relationship stronger than ever.
And their resolution resolve inspired others to try just a little harder to make time for their partner. Just another reminder that there are always opportunities to strengthen relationships with loved ones, friends and all the people in our lives.
Have a happy and healthy 2019, everyone!