Don’t sweat it: Rethink your New Year’s resolution instead

    2019 is in full swing and everyone is talking about the breakthrough resolutions they made for themselves. They proudly declare how they are “giving up” chocolate, or how they are going to go to the gym 5 days a week. Don’t get me wrong, I think self-improvement is great, but I’ve seen a lot of people reset in the New Year, only to “fail” at achieving their goals in a few weeks (or days).

    Why do people set resolutions and then almost always fail?

    My resolution for many years of my life was to sit up straight. Growing up as the tallest girl in my class since I was 12, I have always had bad posture. I was constantly slouching to stand out less and fit in more, and it became a bad habit that stuck with me all my life.

    Sitting up straight seems simple enough to tackle, but year after year I failed at making this resolution stick.  Every time I was committed to doing this, I would sit up straight for maybe a week or two, and then the “resolution” would go out the window and I would forget about it entirely.

    That’s where intention comes in

    To get the resolution to stick, I have to ask myself why. Why do I care about sitting up straight? Is it because it looks better in pictures? No. Is it because I want to be as tall as possible? Most definitely not.

    It’s because I care about doing everything in my power to influence how people see me. Slouching creates a visual impression for people that has its own list of interpretations. I can’t control these interpretations, but I do know that these interpretations most definitely don’t include “she is confident/knows what she’s doing/is on top of it/is effective/is a good leader.” These are things that I know I am, but slouching distracts people from seeing. That’s my “why.” And that’s what gets a resolution to stick.

    Try a different approach

    Instead of creating a resolution for the new year to sit up straighter, I created an intention for the new year. My intention for the new year is to actively control my presence. This means playing an active role in what face I put forward, which happens to include sitting up straight.

    Sitting up straight with intention

    You don’t have to say goodbye to chocolate

    So, if you love chocolate and decide to give it up, ask yourself why. If it’s because you want to be “happy and healthy” and yet chocolate brings you joy, maybe there’s a way to achieve happiness and health without giving up chocolate completely. Either way, ask yourself why.

    My favorite Peanut Butter Chocolate Freezer Fudge

    3 days a week is probably enough

    If you decided to workout 5x/week, ask yourself why. If it’s to get into a consistent workout routine that makes you feel stronger and live longer, maybe the 5x/week is irrelevant. Maybe the 5x number won’t motivate you in three weeks, but knowing that you are working toward feeling stronger and improving your health will.

    Flywheel
    My favorite workout

    So go ahead and think about why. Just because January 1st has passed doesn’t mean it’s too late to set your intention for the year. Anything that’s sustainable, even if it’s a small change, will move you forward in the long run.

    Morgan Barry
    Morgan runs the blog and Instagram HonestlyWell, a health and wellness blog where she shares nourishing, real food recipes and hopes to empower people to live their best, happiest lives. She is passionate about all things mental health, wellness, food, and fitness. Morgan works full-time in marketing technology, but spends her free time fueling these passions.