dart board on the wooden wall

Happy New Year! Yes, it is that time again. Have you chosen your resolutions for 2014? Did you take a moment to reflect on 2013 and think, “Wow, I only worked out for a month” or maybe you gave yourself a pat on the back for keeping one of them until May?  I dislike being the bearer of real statistics, but less than 50% of the resolvers will be successful after six months and less than 10% at the end of 2014… “That’s not me,” you say, “I can easily achieve my goals”. Easier said than done.

Do you ever notice how busy a gym is in January? A 30-minute wait for a treadmill. Just wait until mid-February and there will be no wait! With that, I believe that typical resolutions are a terrible way to make change. Changing habits requires changing your lifestyle, which also requires commitment and without a truly attainable goal, how can we commit to really making a change?

Can I start working out? Sure, but why January? Should I get the gym membership so I am motivated by the fact that I am now paying monthly dues? Personally, I have realized that I need something to work out for, not just myself (it’s called self-realization, folks), so I am going to sign up for a second Tough Mudder this year with a team of friends. There it is… “The Motivation”… What’s yours?

Can I start saving money? Sure, but again, why in January? Are you all of a sudden going to stop eating out, shopping, etc.? That seems like quite a trip down boring lane. Instead, why not put forth a weekly budget? Budget, what’s that you ask? I’m not saying that you have to budget for everything, but give a small percentage or dollar amount per week of your net salary to savings. Already doing that? Then, challenge yourself further. My goal this year is to save 10% more than I saved last year. I can either do this by making more money (just ask your boss for a raise, right?), or saving in a few different places. I say it will be easier if I just cut out a few shopping or eating out events. My first step is to begin taking my lunch to work on days where I know I am busy and grabbing a quick bite to eat is an equally quick solution.  Not only will I be saving ~$10 twice a week, OR up to $1000 / year (wow, right?), but I am also driving a healthier lifestyle by eating a more health conscious lunch!

That brings us to eating healthy. Do you give up carbs? How about giving up fatty foods? Haven’t we learned yet that giving those things up doesn’t work? My personal goal for 2014 is to give up fried foods. Parameters need to be set; sautéed in oil is okay, pan-fried should be okay, but only if not breaded, and deep-fried is a big no-no! So good-bye chicken wings, restaurant tortilla chips and dare I say it, tater tots. My wife and I actually went to a Mexican restaurant last night and it was not easy staying away from the chips and salsa, but our resolution is still intact and we prevailed!
So, where do all of these ramblings take us? The point is we all make resolutions, but so few of us are able to keep them because we haven’t made them sustainable. Let’s start fresh, and keep a steady pace for 2014. I am going with the following as my 2014 resolutions:

  1. Finish my second Tough Mudder in 2014
  2. Save 10% more per month than in 2013
  3. Give up deep-fried foods for all of 2014
  4. Doesn’t that sound more attainable than:
  5. Work out OR Lose weight
  6. Shop less or Save more
  7. Eat healthier

Keep it simple folks and good luck with your 2014 resolutions!