The beginning of a new year usually means you’ve vowed to make a few changes in your life moving forward. In 2015, losing weight was the number one resolution, but on average, most people don’t manage to stick to their resolution (no matter what it is) longer than about a month. So what’s the point?
The biggest mistake people make with resolutions is thinking that they can make drastic changes all at once and sustain the results long term. Unfortunately, not many people have that kind of self control and they end up falling off the wagon and going back to their unhealthy habits. Quick, drastic results might be satisfying in the moment, but they rarely last. If you’re patient and consistent, you’ll eventually meet your goals and you’ll be a lot more likely to maintain those results in the long run. This year, ditch the resolution and make a lifestyle change instead.
Healthy living is about balance
You could go on a super strict diet and commit to exercising 6 days a week. You could even stick to that plan for a few months and see amazing results. But if you’re depriving yourself, you’re eventually going to crack and go back to old habits. Instead of eliminating the foods you love (like ice cream, for example) completely, just eat them in moderation. Having a treat once a week isn’t going to derail your plan.
The 80/20 rule is an example of a strategy that is sustainable— you live a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time, and get to indulge 20% of the time. That way, you’re committed to your health, but you also get to have a life. After all, no one can be expected to turn down wine and appetizers with the girls in favour of water and steamed vegetables every single time.
Your finances won’t be fixed in a day
Another goal that requires long term focus and discipline is getting your finances in order. Simply spending less may be a necessary first step, but there’s a lot more to becoming financially savvy than that. Making adjustments in your habits in order to save more and spend less isn’t always easy. You’ll have to shop sales more often and go out to eat a lot less. But saving money and reaching milestones like paying off debt and building up a down payment for a home are worth the sacrifices.
Try using a budgeting app like Mint and talk to a financial advisor. They can help you figure out what methods of saving are right for your lifestyle and help you set goals that are reachable, so that you’re a lot more likely to stick with your new money-smart lifestyle.
Nothing worthwhile comes easy
Being healthy in mind, body and spirit isn’t an automatic thing. You have to put in the effort to figure out what makes you happy, and have the willpower to do what it takes even though it’s not easy. If you want to be in better shape, you have to make changes that will last, not ones that you’ll abandon a few months down the road. If you want to improve your finances, you need a short term as well as a long term plan. Changing your habits isn’t always easy, but it is possible if it’s what you really want.
Focus on one thing at a time
Most of us have at least a few areas of our life we’d like to overhaul. But doing it all at once can be overwhelming. So choose a priority and focus on it. Whether it’s improving your credit score, adding more exercise to your life, or securing a job you love, make a plan and stick to it. Once you start making progress and you’re comfortable in your new day to day routine, you can turn your focus to the next thing. Slowly but surely, you’ll build the life you want. It might be a cliché, but it’s true: it’s not the destination that’s important – it’s the journey.
How are you making a lifestyle change in 2017?