Dear Aunt Aggie,
By the end of 2015, I was tired. School was overwhelming. I didn’t eat well, my room was messy and I wasn’t admiring my my love handles. As a result, I was pretty ambitious this year about getting myself, both physically and emotionally, back into shape. Getting good grades, working out daily, eating well and reading more were just some of my resolutions for 2016. So far, I have done a good job about keeping these resolutions straight.
But here’s the catch: I do this every single year. Every single year, January is a month full of health and prosperity, February is a mix of the good and bad, but, by March, it’s back to the “old-me.” How do I keep going strong with my resolutions?
Oh, the beloved resolutions. The rec center is a bit busier this time of year, grocery stores sell more fruits and vegetables and you pick up copies of the news rather than tabloids. Despite this, you are not alone in feeling cynical about your progress this year. It is easy to feel like making resolutions are worthless.
Here are a few ways I’ve learned to keep my resolutions in check:
1. Keep a schedule
Plan your life, folks. Plan when you are going to work out each day of the week, when you are going to read, when you are going to do homework and when you are going to have free time. Obviously, things will come up. Life will get hectic. But having an organized schedule, especially at the start of the semester, will allow these resolutions to get engrained into your life.
2. Make concrete steps towards concrete goals
Don’t give yourself broad ideas of what you what to accomplish. The desire to “get fit,” for example, is not enough. Tell yourself you want to be able to run a mile in a certain amount of minutes or do a certain number of pushups. At the same time, develop a step-by-step plan to achieve this. Don’t tell yourself you are going to work out everyday. Figure out what you are going to do at the gym before you get there.
3. Tell your friends
While you don’t overemphasize your accomplishments, tell a few of your close friends about your plans. Having people to keep you accountable in life is an important of keeping to your resolutions.
4. Give yourself grace
Life happens. Sometimes tests, sickness, family emergencies and other factors will get in the way. Sometimes you just won’t have the drive to accomplish your goals. It is in these times that you have to recognize that you are just one person. Sometimes you fail. Life isn’t not about your mistakes but rather how you adapt to your mistakes. Keep going, adjust your goals as you need to and focus on enjoying life and being kind.
If you have any questions you need to get off your chest, email firstname.lastname@example.org.