New Year’s Resolutions are shiny and fun and the first few weeks of January they feel necessary and cool. All the cool kids are pledging to make 2018 the best year ever! It should be a great year and I want you to have the best year ever, but NEWSFLASH having the best year ever involves doing work and making changes NOW.
I think the best way to achieve big, long-term goals is by breaking them down into small manageable short-term goals. This is a great way to see actual progress and feel successful now.
If you think about and can clearly visualize what your end of the year goal looks like that is great, but a year is a long time. This year I am having a baby, my husband is starting down the path of getting another degree, and we have lots of plans for home renovations, etc. … I can’t exactly describe what will be happening in January of 2019. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t put meaningful progress into improving my life now. I know that in the next four weeks we need to wrap up the nursery projects, and we have mapped out what classes my husband will be taking for the next few semesters. We work through big goals in small pieces to make them actually manageable.
Ok so how does this fit with food? A lot of people make food/ health/ fitness/ weight loss New Year’s resolutions. That is great! It means you want to live a healthier life. But, unless you are able to set and stick with goals on the shorter term than the long term resolutions probably won’t pan out. One area that I think a lot of people struggle with is self-control. “I was planning to not eat sweets this year, but then my co-worker had a birthday party…” It seems common to try and blame our lack of self-control on external circumstances.
One exercise that I use to combat this is very short term goals, as short as one day.
The Jelly Bean Jar
A few years ago there was a jelly bean dispenser that lived on the desk across from mine. Every time I walked past I would eat a few. It seemed as if they just flew into my hand and then my mouth, eating them had become involuntary. One day I decided that I had had enough. I decided for one day I would make a conscious choice not to eat any jelly beans. It wasn’t that difficult, but it did take focused mental energy to choose not to eat them every time I walked past. And at the end of the day I felt successful. I felt that I could make changes in my life and especially in my diet and that I was in charge of what I ate.
This year can be great, and today can be great too. What do you need to decide to do today to move forward and make progress toward your larger goals?