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Why you should start your New Year's Resolution in December


Are you starting to contemplate what you are going to give up/start/stop/try/attempt/accomplish in 2023? Have you started telling your friends that you are going to quit drinking or pick up pickle ball or read one book a week?

That’s great! There are those out there who are skeptical of New Year's Resolutions, but not me. I believe anything that gets you outside your comfort zone and trying something to better yourself is worth a shot. Who am I to say, you won’t stick with it, or you are not being realistic? Go for it!

Here’s one thing I would recommend: Don’t wait for January 1. Start in December.

I know what you’re thinking, “But that’s insane! I’ll be traveling and going to parties and distracted by a million different things. It’ll be better if I wait till January when things settle down.”

No, it will be easier to start in January, but I would argue it will be better to start now because things are so crazy.

It sounds ideal to start after January 1. You get back to work, the kids get back to school, and everyone is back on a routine. You no longer have the distractions of the holidays, and you can focus on the new you.

You start off strong, but before you know it, Valentine’s Day rolls around or school break or that winter vacation in Bermuda. Any number of life events will pop up and BAM! You’ve fallen off the wagon. Your commitment to your goal is being challenged and what seemed perfectly reasonable on January 1 is now at best aspirational and at worst a fantasy.

Discouraged, you accept it was never going to work and you give up. Or you stick it on the shelf to try again next year. And by then you’ve forgotten why it didn’t work the year before.

(This stream of consciousness is 100 percent autobiographical.)

The problem isn’t necessarily that people don’t have the willpower or the stamina to change. It’s that they don’t always take into consideration what will happen when obstacles and distractions are introduced. We set goals that can’t withstand very normal but unplanned life events.

I think News Year's Resolutions get a bad rap because the timing makes it is so easy to set yourself up for failure. What would be different about your New Year’s aspirations if you designed them for when you DON’T have time? What expectations would you set for yourself if you started when your life is chaotic and your schedule is thrown off?

I’ve asked myself these questions and here are a couple guidelines I’ve come up with:

  • Set a small goal and keep it simple.

  • Incorporate resilience and plan for “cheat days”

  • Get social support and accountability

Next year, I’m going to attempt (again) to do yoga on a weekly basis. I’ve started and stopped this goal several times with varying levels of success, but this is what I plan to start this December using the guidelines.

Set a small goal and keep it simple.

  • Do yoga for a minimum of 20 minutes at least once a week.

Incorporate resilience and plan for “cheat days”

  • It can be a class, a virtual class or just a made-up routine on my own. It can be done at any time of day.

Get social support and accountability

  • I’ll add this task to my Habit app, so I can track it.

  • My friend Ema has already sent me some of her favorite YouTube yoga classes. If you have a favorite online yoga routine, let me know!

Need help planning out your resolution? Schedule a free 15-minute consultation by emailing me at janet@janetforest.com


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