Most resolutions for the new year last for a few days, maybe a few weeks, at the most a month or two. Just long enough for you to get excited, gain momentum, start making progress, and then revert back to your old habits. Only to begin again next year.
So, let’s make a deal to make some serious progress this year. We can begin by making five promises to ourselves:
- Promise yourself that you will not “go on a diet.” Although it may be tempting to go on yet another diet or exercise plan, join a gym, hire a personal trainer, etc. these goals are often short-lived. This is especially true if you’re only following the diet because of the TV commercials or because your bestie lost a ton of weight following the same program. Instead, add things to your life that you actually enjoy and that you can commit to. For example, if you want to start exercising, choose something that you enjoy doing. If you enjoy taking a Zumba class, then promise yourself that you’ll commit to taking more Zumba classes this year. However, if you hate running, don’t go out and buy a pair of Nike Free Runs, download the Nike Run app, and then force yourself to run every morning. You will only stick to an exercise regimen that you enjoy doing. The same is true for healthy eating. Don’t vow to cut out food groups, go vegan, or try a ketogenic diet, if you know it’s not something you really want to do or something that you will stick with long-term. Sure, lots of people may be losing weight on this “diet,” but if you hate eating this way, you won’t stick with it and you’ll gain back all of the weight you lost. Instead, when choosing a new eating plan, ask yourself, “Could I do this for the rest of my life?” If the answer is yes, then go for it. If the answer is no, keep looking. You could also choose to add a few healthy habits to your life, such as drinking more water, choosing one day a week to go meatless, or eating more fruits and veggies. These are all doable action items that will get you closer to losing the weight you desire.
- Promise yourself that you will go on a vacation this year (and plan it out). Everyone deserves some time away, especially us hard-working women! So, with the entire year in front of you, take some time to plan a vacation now. Decide when you want to go and where you want to go. Then, research how much it will cost, including airfare, hotel, and leisure activities (don’t forget shopping money). Then, determine how much you will need to save each month by dividing the total cost by the number of months before your big vacation. For example, let’s say you want to go to the Dominican Republic in October. When you research and estimate the cost, you find that you’ll need to save around $2,5000 for your trip. Since October is 8 months away, divide the cost by 8 and you should come up with $313 month. Look at your monthly budget and see where you can cut back in order to save this amount each month (goodbye gym membership I don’t use, Netflix and chill, and that Massage Envy membership…hello working out at home, pirated websites, and massages from the hubby). This will allow you to put your vacation funds in your budget and will make that dream vacation a reality, as opposed to something you’d “like to do this year.”
- Make a monthly budget and stick to it. While we’re on the subject of money, now would be a good time to begin managing your finances. Take an hour (or two) to write down your monthly bills and expenses. Then, subtract this from your monthly income. Next, determine how much money you want to set aside for savings, charitable contributions, etc. Finally, with what’s left over, determine how much money you’ll have on hand for each week (I like to give myself at least $100 for incidentals like getting my hair done, a new pair of shoes, an oil change, or something my son may need). So, let’s say you make $3000 a month and your monthly bills and expenses total $2200 leaving you with $800 for the month. It would be good idea to donate at least $50 to charity or your religious organization, and put $250 in your savings account. That leaves you with $500 for the month. Take out $100 for those incidental expenses, and you’re left with $400. When you divide that by 4-5 weeks, you’re left with a weekly spending budget of between $80-$100. Hold yourself to this budget by not allowing yourself to spend more than the weekly budget you’ve set. You could do this by taking out that exact amount of money from the ATM at the beginning of the week. You could also buy a money card from Walmart and transfer that amount of money to the card at the beginning of each week (I like American Express Bluebird because they don’t charge fees). This will keep you from going over budget and running out of money before the end of the month and having to dip into your savings.
- Spend less time wasting time. While watching TV, Netflix and chill, checking out the latest celebrity gossip, or scrolling through the Gram can be a great way to relax, doing this for too long can take away time from more productive things. So, promise yourself that you’ll limit your chill time to no more than 2-3 hours a day (at the most!). That includes watching television, surfing social media, playing Candy Crush, etc. There’s this great FREE app called OurPact that allows parents to block the internet and apps, schedule device time, track device time, and block distractions during certain times. If you need to, download it in order to keep yourself in check.
- Just say no. You have 366 days this year. A lot of those days will be dedicated to work, family responsibilities, and other obligations that you must meet. But, it’s important that you “just say no” to things that you can’t do and sometimes to things that you don’t want to do. If you always say yes to every party, engagement, date, or request for help from everyone, before long, you’ll find yourself worn out and stressed to the max. When there’s something that you can’t do, or just don’t feel like doing, don’t feel bad about saying no. Practice it a few times and you’ll find that the world doesn’t end just because you said no. We promise.