Like many people, I made New Years’ Resolutions in December to ensure I get started at 12:01 a.m. on January 1. As the Times Square Count-down began, I anticipated all the weight I was going to lose, all the money I was going to save, and all the extra years I was going to add onto my life by eating well.
When midnight hit on January 1, 2016, Willie and I said a prayer, then began to plan out the implementation of our first 2016 resolutions (what Willie calls "goals"); What were we having for breakfast? After rejecting all of the usual suspects - grits, eggs, sausage, hash brown potatoes - we realized that we had not purchased any "healthy options" in anticipation for the first day of our new eating lifestyle. Next, we thought that we could solve that problem by eating out - many restaurants offer low-cal, low-salt, bland (ur,uh, I mean healthy) menu options. However, that would force us to break our other resolution - to cut down on eating out to save money. As we headed to the local IHOP, we decided we would start again February 1.
There are a few things to remember when setting any goal:
Set The Goal Now. Prepare Now. Start Later. Most likely you are not ready to start your goal at the same time you are setting it. There is mental, physical, and/or financial preparation for every goal. You may need to stock your refrigerator with healthy items. You may need to open a new saving account or set up a new direct deposit with your employer. You may need to schedule a babysitter, buy a new cookbook, or maybe "get your head right" to get started. Whatever the goal is, make sure you have set the date IN THE FUTURE when you want to start and make all the preparation needed to be successful.
Tell Only A Few Close Friends. It's great to have a support system or a cheering section to keep you on track. However, pick them carefully! Once you tell your co-workers you're on a diet or you're going to workout after work, they will make it their life's mission to check to see if you are doing what you said you were going to do. As you sneak that miniature snickers into your mouth, they spot you and say, "Are you supposed to be eating that? I thought you were on a diet."
Keep Your Focus Positive. There is a difference between saying "I will eat more fresh fruits and vegetables" and "I won't eat anymore chocolate". Your mind registers both statements differently.
Don't Beat Yourself Up When You Slip-Up. It's going to happen; expect it. If you plan to start saving your money with your next paycheck and your tire gets a nail in it, it's not the end of the world! You can recover.... with your next check! You may have to juggle things around to make it happen, but you won't have to file bankruptcy if you start a week or 2 later than you planned. Which leads me to my last point,...
Make Arrangements For The Unexpected. Things will come up. Be flexible. If you're saving money and your parents are planning their 40th anniversary cruise to the Cayman Islands next year, you can add a line item to your budget to save towards the event. If you have to adjust your goal, it's ok.
You will always have March.....
Did you set goals for 2016? Tell us how you're doing!