I started biting my nails in sixth grade. I saw my sister biting her nails at the dinner table and I was mesmerized by how it must be what all of the cool teens did. Naturally, I wanted to be a cool teen someday, and so I began to bite nails. She has since kicked the habit, but I have been unable to stop my gnawing. My typical New Year’s resolution is to stop biting my nails. As you probably assumed, my nail beds still suffer from my incessant chewing. I tried everything from slapping myself with a rubber band when I bit my nails, to coating my nails in that special polish that makes your mouth bitter for hours. Nothing worked.
New Years resolutions have never been my strong suit. Like many in the blogosphere, I decided to start off my newest blog by discussing my goals for 2012. However, I’ve yet to accomplish or complete any the goals that I set out for myself.
But this year, I have high hopes. What I realized is that my goals were always too vague and grandiose. Instead of focusing on “I want to lose weight” or “I want to stop biting my nails,” I decided to focus on small ways to improve my daily life.
That’s what resolutions are all about, right? Self-improvement. But the only way that you can improve is to change bad lifestyle habits. And the only way to change habits is by taking it one small step at a time. Otherwise, the goals will become too overwhelming, and it is too hard to measure progress. By improving my daily life, I hope to improve my overall life.
Aside from everyone’s goal of surviving the impending apocalypse/end of the world in 2012, this is what I resolved to do and why:
1. 20 crunches and 5 push-ups everyday, no excuses.
Yes, the numbers are low. Most people I told this resolution to laughed at me and asked, “Why only 20? Why not do 100 a day?”. The answer is simple: I know I will do it. It’s easy to say that I could do 100 crunches a day. But sometimes, life gets in the way. Recently, I went on vacation and I was busy all day. I barely had time to fit in a phone call home, let alone do my crunches. If I had a daunting number, I would have pushed it aside and thought “it’s alright if I just skip one day”.
However, one day leads to two days, which leads to two months, which leads to my usual disappointment in my lack of goal completion. As I explained earlier, if you want to change your lifestyle habits, it needs to be in small steps. So, laugh all you want at my small numbers. But when I can outrun the zombies and explosions at the end of the world, we’ll see who is laughing then.
2. Make meals for myself
Like most non-celebrity humans, I would like to be healthier and richer. My plan is to slim the bod and fatten the wallet by making meals for myself. For the past few months, I got into the habit of eating out a lot because I was either too lazy or too busy to make food for myself. I’m not alone: on average, Americans spend 5.6% of their income on eating out.
But I don’t want to do this goal just because it is healthier and cheaper. The real reason I want to make meals for myself is because I love to cook. Another realization I had about resolutions is that if you do something that you love, it will be easier to continue with it.
Instead of focusing on a goal for the wrong reasons (i.e. I want to make meals because its healthier), centralize on a way to make the goal a positive thing (i.e. I want to make meals because I love to cook). When you shift away from something you have to do into something you want to do, it will be easier to accomplish.
3. Write down one positive thing and one thing that I am grateful for
This is the resolution that I am the most proud of, except I can’t take all of the credit for it. I was with some friends at dinner, and we each went around and said our resolutions.While most of ours were along the lines of my two previous resolutions, one of my friends caught me off guard by simply saying “I want to have a more positive outlook on life”. I was really impressed by her as she explained that simply changing the way you think, changes the way you live.
It’s a wonderful and true point — our mentality has a lot to do with how we live our life. If you want a happier life, all it takes is changing the way you view the world.
To make sure that I follow through with this, I decided that each day I will write down one positive thing that happened to me, and one thing that I am grateful for. There are so many things to be thankful for, so I think this will be the most rewarding goal to look back on as I enter 2013. If the world doesn’t end, of course…
What are your New Years Resolutions?