The new year is upon us. Time to reflect on the year that is over and consider what you want to accomplish in the year ahead. Otherwise known as New Year’s Resolutions. I have mixed feelings about NYRs. On one hand, NYRs are all about changing or establishing new habits, which is a good thing. But, NYRs have never worked for me and rarely work for most people. The enthusiasm and motivation on January 1st (or this year I think you get a free pass until January 4th, since the new year begins on a Friday, start on Monday) for change, wears off. By the end of January, many NYRs have already gone by the wayside.
There are probably many reasons for NYRs to fail. Two reasons, in particular, come to my mind. One, you shoot for the moon, when down the street would do. People aim too high, it’s too much, so they end up doing nothing. I think small incremental change succeeds more often.
Two, your resolution is too vague with no plan for success. I will lose weight, or eat better, or get in shape in 2016. Resolutions without a particular goal are destined to fail. I will lose 5 pounds by February 15th is still hard, and you may fail but having a tangible, realistic goal can help you put the necessary habits in place that will hopefully get you to your goal.
I am happy with my diet and exercise habits. There is certainly a lot of temptation around the holidays, and I have eaten more than my usual dose of sugar in the form of Christmas candy and cookies. But, now that the new year is here, I will go back to my usual way of eating which has minimal sugar.
My husband gave me a month of cross-fit for Christmas. I have been curious about cross-fit for a while. It certainly has devoted followers and gets results. I prefer to do my exercise outside whenever possible. Obviously, that can be a challenge with the weather in Maine in the winter, but the things I like to do, swimming, biking and running can all be outside, some more easily than others. It is my understanding that even though the cross fit games are televised outside, most of the time it is inside. I want to try it, who knows, maybe I will become one of the devoted followers, but I plan to use it for strength training 2 or 3 times/week and continue swimming, biking and running. I’ll let you know how that goes.
The habit that I am struggling with most and would most like to change is my time management. I want to be a more productive writer. I know what I need to do, but like many habits, it is the follow through, actually doing it, that is the challenge. I know that writing is easier when you do it every day. I also know that I am the most productive in the morning. When the afternoon rolls around, I am distracted by too many other things. On the days that I have quiet time in the morning, I usually get the most done, which makes me happy and sets me up for success during the rest of the day.
So what’s the problem? Why don’t I just do that every day? It requires me to get up earlier than I want to. I am a night owl, and I don’t always sleep well. My perfect schedule is sleeping from midnight to 8 am. For this productivity plan to work, I think I need to be up around 6:30, which I know is not that early. But it is 90 minutes earlier than my natural schedule, and so far, I have not been able to make it happen on a consistent basis.
My plan going forward in this new year is to commit to a wake-up time of between 6:30 and 7 am for 30 days. After 30 days I can assess whether it is working for me, and if not I’ll try a different plan. A bonus of getting up at 6:30 will be to share a few minutes over coffee with my husband before he leaves for work. I read somewhere that one of the attributes shared by happy couples is going to bed and waking up at the same time. Having a few minutes with my husband to start the day will also make me happy and get my day off to a good start.
Seems like a no-brainer as I write about it now, but getting myself out of bed is not going to be easy even if it will undoubtedly make me happier. I wrote about happiness and habits before. And, one of the things I discussed in that post was knowing yourself. By attempting to adjust my wake up time, I may be destined to fail, since I know I am not an early riser. However, I think it is worth a try, and that is the reason I gave myself a time limit. If I fail, I fail, at least, I tried.
What do you hope to accomplish in 2016? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?