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Here's the cheat code to making new year's resolutions that you can actually fulfil

Are you thinking of making some new year's resolutions for 2023? Don't bother. However, if you insist, here's a cheat code for setting effective goals

Make new year's resolutions that you can actually accomplish.
Make new year's resolutions that you can actually accomplish. (Istockphoto)

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Ah, it’s that time of the year! When you wake up one day and find that just a few days of December are left, and that very soon it will be a whole new year! You look back at the year gone by, wincing at the thought of all the things you wanted to do but didn’t. And so, you sit down to make resolutions for the new year. This time, you promise yourself, you will do each and every thing on that list!

Look, I get it, we’ve all been there. I have been as guilty as anyone of setting myself ambitious targets for the new year, and then feel guilty for not being able to fulfil them. It took me a while to figure out why this was happening. First of all, I was setting myself goals that made no sense. If I had hardly worked out for a year, there was no point in setting myself a goal of becoming a champion triathlete, was there?

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I exaggerate, but you know what I mean. So, I tried something different. I stopped making a big deal of the fact that the end of December means a new year is beginning. It was much better for my mental health to look at it as merely the end of a month and the beginning of the next. This immediately allowed me to set shorter term goals which I could actually have a chance of fulfilling.

However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t set myself longer term goals. For example, at the end of 2019, I set myself a goal of remembering to stretch every day and drink enough water through the day. I can’t tell you just how much that helped. At the end of last year, I had stopped working out for a few months. So, I set myself a goal of slowly working my way back to the level of conditioning I had been at when I had stopped. This really helped, since it forced me to move everyday while taking away the pressure to perform. As a result, I probably stopped myself from getting injured in the process.

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You get the drift, right? If you want some proper expert tips, do look up Lounge fitness writer and weight loss trainer Jen Thomas’s fantastic story from last weekend: Your Best Resolution For 2023? Don’t Make One. In it, she argues that “modern calls for resolutions are as vapid as they are fleeting. It's not that resolutions are inherently bad; it's that they rarely achieve your desired outcome, which is to live a happier, more fulfilled life.” As you can tell, I completely agree with her.

But this year, I will set myself a new year’s resolution. I will look at the 2023 calendar, and mark the days I will be on vacation. I’ll tell you at the end of the year how that worked out!

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