Conquering The ‘R’ Word: How To Make Those Resolutions Last All Year Long
By Sola Onitiri
There’s nothing like the start of a new year. Although life is pretty much the same as we left it the year before, somehow at 12:01 AM life just takes on this new car smell. We feel that the possibilities are endless at the start of the new year and we’re ready to give it (whatever ‘it’ maybe) the good ole college try…again. Yes, I’m talking about the “R” word. But sadly, for a great deal of us, our good intentions are short-lived.
According to Business Insider, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. That number is startling but it also makes a lot of sense. Prior to a few years ago, the start of the new year was the only time where mindfulness and reflection was practiced. Now, tools to help us live more fruitful, goal achieving lives are readily available. That’s why, in addition to my two cents, I invited two experts to share advice on the top three resolutions made every year; Personal growth, fitness/health and career related goals. Here is some advice you may or may not want to take.
Name: Katina Mountanos
Location : Currently traveling around Southeast Asia :) But live in SF!
Occupation: Blogger + Entrepreneur
“The magic of setting (and achieving) goals comes with persistence.”
Q: What should everyone keep in mind when it comes to making personal growth related resolutions?
I'm a big fan of using the word "goals" instead of resolutions - especially around this time of year. It's helpful to think of the New Year as just another time for us to revisit our Big, Audacious Goals in all aspects of our lives. When it comes to personal development and growth, it's important to get specific. I recommend starting out by writing a general but audacious goal (like, "Be more mindful") and then give yourself specific examples of how you'll do that (for example: "Attend yoga class 3x per week, meditate for 5 minutes every morning, have a technology-free lunch at least once a week).
Q: Why do you think it’s so difficult to stick to them?
A lot of us are really hard on ourselves when it comes to goal-setting. If we don't achieve this big, scary goal by a certain date, we feel like we're doomed. But, the magic of setting (and achieving) goals comes with persistence. We have to look those goals in the eye every day (literally!) and continue to show up - even when it stops being fun or new or exciting. And then - being easy on ourselves when our timelines don't align with real life. Sometimes other, maybe even better, opportunities come in the way of achieving those goals and being open to that is really important. For example, I set a goal 3 years ago to write a book by the end of 2016. It's been on my list of Big, Audacious Goals for 3 years! That's when I started On Adulting, and blogging has been serving that purpose for me right now. That doesn't mean I won't write it one day, but I've adjusted my timeline for the better
“We have to look those goals in the eye every day (literally!) and continue to show up - even when it stops being fun or new or exciting.”
Q: What are some rookie mistakes people make when making new year’s resolutions, or goals?
I think the biggest rookie mistake people make when setting their Big, Audacious Goals is not being specific enough. It's really hard for anyone to work towards "being more mindful" if you don't create a plan for how to get there. Break down each big goal into tiny baby steps - ones that are achievable for you right now. Then, you can always revisit those mini-goals and up your game once you feel the time is right. Remember - goals shouldn't be something you write on New Year's Day and stuff them in a drawer for the rest of the year. They should be visible and able to fit into your everyday right now.
Q What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions or some from last years you’re pretty proud of?
I love this question! I actually revisit my goals each month, but I place a special emphasis on setting new ones two times each year: New Year's Day and my birthday (they're almost exactly six months apart!). For me, one of my biggest goals was to be more intentional - with my choices when it came to work, relationships, activities, travel, movement, food and sustainability. I wanted to say yes often, but feel okay saying no, too (this one was hard for me!). I really worked on taking a few moments before committing to something, whether it was going on a hike with friends or working with a new client to ask: Do you really want this or are you just energized by the ask? It helped to "perfect the pause" as I called it - and hey, it's a continuous evolution!
Katina is the founder of On Adulting, a space for millennial women to find their passion, purpose + power. Her work has been featured in outlets such as Teen Vogue, HuffPost, Mindbodygreen, Elite Daily + others - and reaches thousands of millennials across her social media platforms. Starting in January 2019, Katina will be offering one-on-one coaching and launching her first digital course in Spring 2019. Follow along on Instagram at @onadulting or The Space, a private Facebook group for the O.A. tribe!
FITNESS + HEALTH
Q: What should everyone keep in mind when it comes to making resolutions?
It's very easy for people to think too big when it comes to making resolutions. Think smaller, more manageable goals that can be achieved over a month or two, and then build from there. (i.e. I want to stop drinking for a month so I can cut weight). If you've been drinking pretty regularly, it's very difficult to completely switch gears and stop drinking altogether. Instead, start by reducing how many drinks you have per day (from say 3 to 1). Do that for a month, and then the following month drop it down to just drinking twice a week at 1 drink, etc. until you've completely switched off the habit. It takes time, but patience is key, many people are too impatient for results. Unfortunately that is also the culture in the U.S. - wanting immediate results. Goals are achieved by forming habits which take upwards of 60 days to ingrain (not 21 as pop culture tells us). Be patient, form small habits that will add up to help you reach your end goal.
Q: Why do you think it’s so difficult to stick to them?
It's usually one of two things - either the goal is to broad and unspecific so it can't be tracked (pro tip: write out your goals in detail, and come up with a plan to stick to them!), and/or the goal is too big and becomes overwhelming. The best solution is to break your goal down into more manageable pieces and micro-focus. Start by writing down what your overarching end goal is, then backtrack and write down the steps on how you're going to get there. Make it as specific and quantitative as you can. Those individual pieces are your micro-goals, and can usually be achieved in a smaller time frame and therefore more motivating.
Q: How can people make their fitness goals last all year?
Fitness goals are extremely popular New Year's resolutions, especially when it comes to the infamous weight loss goal. First step, get rid of the scale. Americans are obsessed with the little number on the screen - it means nothing. There are so many operating variables that go into that number. You could be 150lbs of lean muscle, or 150lbs of body fat, but which looks and feels better? If the number on the scale goes up, but you're working out 5-6 days a week, chances are your overall weight increased because you gained lean muscle and not body fat.
Muscle is denser than body fat, so it weighs more. If you're one of those people that needs to see numbers (and they are important to be able to track your results don't get me wrong) there are ways to be able to measure and breakdown your overall weight to see that you are in fact gaining muscle and losing body fat. Phone apps are one way to do that (FitScanner), digital scales with sensors to measure body fat, or just going to the doctor's office. Some gyms will also have a 3D body scanner for their members to use. For those people that prefer not to see numbers, you'll feel very differently as you progress and that can be enough of an indicator to know you're seeing results - your energy levels increase, appetite increases, you're fitting into clothing differently, and just feeling stronger overall.
“First step, get rid of the scale.”
To be successful with your fitness goals, start by working on your consistency with the gym (4+ days/week) and work on prioritizing fitness in your life. Many people want to see results but aren't willing to put in the work to achieve them. It's easy to let other things in life take your focus - work, family, friends all important of course - but also think about how you can't have any of those wonderful things without your health. Invest in yourself so you can invest in others (and be able to save on medical bills!!). "Time" or lack thereof, is the single biggest excuse I hear, and frankly total b.s. - there is always time as long as you make the time. Putting things into perspective, if you're going to the gym 4 times/week, that's on average just 4 hours out of your week - plenty of time. Again, make your gym time a priority (if you're not a morning person, it might be time to become one)
Q: Any more tips we should know before we start out 2019 #fitnessgoals?
Couple more tips:
Manageable goals apply here as well. Surround yourself with people who support you and can help you hold yourself accountable (coaches, family, friends, gym buddies). Put the work in outside the gym as well - especially when it comes to nutrition (just because you might be working out 5 days a week doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want). Reward yourself with a cheat-meal-day once a week, but be good the rest of the time - you'll see results a lot faster, and have much more energy throughout your week because you're fueling your body the right way.
High protein (60%)
complex carbs (more veggies and less refined carbs like pasta and bread) (20%)
good fats (unsaturated; i.e. fish, certain oils, avocado, nuts) (20%)
low sugars (fruits are fine and highly encouraged, just eat them in the morning so your body has enough time to process them throughout the day)
Alex is a personal trainer and coach for CityFitness Thrive. Thrive Functional Training is engineered to your specific body, goals, and needs, combining some of the most advanced, performance-driven fitness programs with a friendly and passionate team of expert trainers.
Thrive is only available in Philadelphia at the City Fitness family of health clubs.
Name - Sola Onitiri
Location - NJ/PHL/NYC
Occupation - Freelance Content Creator and Photographer
“Value your work this year. If you don’t no one else will either.”
Q: What should everyone keep in mind when it comes to making career related resolutions?
Everyone should keep in mind that bringing your career to the next level or a different direction is going to be scary - especially if you’re a millennial. We are a generation gripped with fear of failure. With mounting student loans, exorbitant living expenses and the sacrifices some of our families have made to get us through schooling, we feel that there’s a lot on the line. And for many of us, autonomy within our career seems impossible. But if we push past the initial fear, and stick to our resolutions, something incredible will be on the other side.
Q: What are some rookie mistakes people make when making New Year’s resolutions, or goals?
Low key reading my past self here, but I think the number one rookie mistake when it comes to resolutions is trying to fit a year’s worth of growth in the span of one to two months. Mathematically, that makes zero sense. Chances are, your resolutions that didn’t get off the ground were either too big to be attainable in any span of time, never-mind two months or it’s lasting power was short lived.
When it comes to making career related resolutions look to set goals that will last throughout your whole career. For example, finding a mentor or mentor-ship program is a move that will not only improve your career in 2019, but for years to come. The process of finding a good mentor in your field might be a tedious process that takes months of attending networking events but give it time, it’s worth it.
Another good goal for freelancers and entrepreneurs is increasing your service prices. As a freelancer myself, this is one of my goals. This is a process that takes more than just adjusting your Square account. Take time to research new clients, adjust your services, spruce up your portfolio. Once again, this is a process that might take a few months. Plus sticking with it and not falling back on the old ways you used to do business might take a few months more, however learn to value your work this year. If you don’t, no one else will either.
“Don’t adjust the goal, adjust the way of getting to the goal”
Q: How can people make their career goals last all year?
Stop, drop, and roll out your plan (I know it’s corny but you’ll thank me later). Reflection is integral to goal setting. They go hand in hand so make sure you are constantly checking in on yourself and your progress. Oh, and be honest. If you know you’re prone to take it easy on Fridays, but by some weird twist of self-inflicted fate, you’ve scheduled a heap of work on Fridays - stop, drop, and roll out a new plan to help you get to your goals. Remember, don’t adjust the goal, adjust the way of getting to the goal through reflection. It will limit stress and allow you to keep on the straight a narrow.