Keeping Healthy New Year’s Resolutions: Five Tips!
image found here, where you can actually purchase them.
By Crabby McSlacker
Okay, first some reassurance: that’s a visual pun up there, not a how-to photo. I’m not suggesting you sever any fingertips in order to make your New Year’s resolutions easier to keep. Although come to think of it, I’d reach for far fewer Sees candies if I…
No. I’m kidding. Let me go on record as Not in Favor of Digital Amputation as a Weight Loss Aid. In these increasingly imbecilic times, one can’t take anything for granted.
Anyway, the usual caveats:
So, are we ready?
1. Pick something totally Bad-Ass for a goal.Does it have to be rational or sane? No it does not. It should be motivating, and exciting enough to makes you froth at the mouth just to think about it. Or, if frothing seems a little too gross, it should at least make you swallow once, discreetly but with enthusiasm. In terms of goal visualization: make it FUN.
2. But settle for sub-goals that are pathetically easy and achievable.
I’d recommend a “process” goal over a “results” goal. Doing something slightly better than you used to, repeatedly and consistently, is always worthy pursuit, even if concrete results are invisible and hypothetical for a tediously long time.
“At least five days a week I will get off my butt and walk for 5 minutes or more, even if the weather’s shitty and it’s just around and around the damn house.” That kind of goal may not sound very glamorous, but if you’re starting off sedentary, it’s a great place to begin. When daily walking turns into a habit and you begin to build consistency and experience success, you’ve got a great foundation for future badassery.
3. Plot, plan, and scheme like a sinister serial killer.
If you’re like me, your motivation may fluctuate dramatically. Sometimes, it’s “I am SO fired up. I am a strong, self-disciplined, fearsome beast, a warrior, watch me triumph over all obstacles in my path!”
Other times, it’s “fuck this, it’s hard. I’m out.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, periods of impressively high motivation tend to occur when the sacrifices are all hypothetical. When actual temptation arises, or hard tasks are imminent, somehow fearsome warrior lady disappears and the “fuck it all” wimp is the one left confronting the challenge.
The trick is, obviously, to use your strong, motivated, inner warrior self to take that jacked up motivation, and exercise that clever and dedicated brain it has. The goal: figure out how to make it harder for your lame loser quitter self to misbehave when it’s time to actually get shit done.
There are tons of ways you can plan ahead to reduce the need for willpower, you’ve seen them before, but do you do them? Do you set out your workout clothes ahead of time, make active plans that involve other people, set up systems or buy apps to facilitate accountability, park away from your destination, stock your fridge with healthy pre-made snacks, stop buying junky crap at the store, or at least make it difficult to get to?
(After all, a serial killer doesn’t just leave corpses and murder weapons lying all around his house, that would lead to trouble! So if you can’t throw out that big tin of delicious buttery cookies left over from the holidays, at least hide the little fuckers in the attic or in the back of a cluttered closet or in the deep freeze or out in the trunk or your car. And if they go bad before you go bad, WIN!)
4. Lie to yourself constantly.
It works for politicians, it will work for you.
We humans are not all that brilliant. Even the most clever of us are perfectly capable of letting ourselves believe things we wish to believe even if facts and logic tell us otherwise.
The human capacity for delusion trips us up a lot, I’m sure you can fill in your own examples. But why not harness it for good instead of evil?
Tell yourself whatever lies will motivate you at the moment to keep trying and moving forward. “Yes, I’ve tried to quit smoking before and I’ve never been successful, but this time will be easier. I’ll have much more willpower.” “Yes I’m middle aged now but if I just buckle down and train harder for a few weeks I’m sure I can run just as fast as I did at 20.” “It will be fun to go for a long walk in the rain, I won’t melt!”
And when reality punches you in the face, so what? It was for a good cause. “OK, so I don’t have more willpower than before, but I made it 4 days without smoking, and I only had two cigarettes when I caved, and tomorrow is a new day.” “So yeah, turns out I run much slower than I used to and I’m not getting much faster yet, but I’m running!” “Being out in the rain sucked, it was miserable! But I got outside and exercised and damn do I feel all smug about it now.”
5. Celebrate every little success like you just single-handedly saved the entire world from fiery destruction.
If you are human, you are not going to achieve all of your goals all the time. But if you’re a reasonably determined human, and aren’t totally insane about what you’re trying to achieve, you will likely achieve some of your goals some of the time.
It’s your choice: berate yourself for your failures, or celebrate your successes. Which approach do you think is more motivating over the long haul?
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t acknowledge failure, but do it intellectually, for future planning purposes. Troubleshoot, but don’t invest any emotional energy in it. Get over yourself, you don’t get to be perfect, and moping about it is a waste of time. Save your precious feelings for the victories. Pump up the happiness, satisfaction and sense of accomplishment with extra attention, savor it. Train your brain to notice and remember the positive, not just the negative, and weirdly enough, the world will magically start deliver more positive stuff. It’s a little freaky how that works.
Are any of you on a quest to make positive changes in 2017? Or does the whole annual resolution thing seem a little ludicrous? How was your New Year’s Eve?
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