Crack open the champers and celebrate because it’s nearly time to usher in the new year! But as we say hello to 2014, it’s also time to summon up our willpower and try to kick those unsavoury habits. Unfortunately, things are rarely that simple. Eevee Editor, Siobhan Carney discusses the 3 most common new year goals , and explains why resolutions aren’t for the faint of heart…
New Year’s Eve. Somewhere around the time I finish the last mince pie, stub out a cigarette and down the last dregs of wine I – like 99% of the rest of the population – decide to embark on a journey of self- improvement. Maybe it’s the knowledge that I’ve consumed enough festive cuisine to feed a small third world country, or perhaps it’s the realisation that I’ve drunk enough wine to start my own vineyard…either way it amounts to the same thing: New Year’s Resolutions.
Misguided? Maybe. Naïve? Probably. Doomed to failure? Definitely.
The problem with resolutions is that – most of the time – they’re completely unrealistic. Like a marriage to Katie Price, the chances of long term success are slim. Take alcohol for example. It’s natural to drink a lot over the festive period (after all, Christmas is the one time of year when it’s perfectly acceptable to drink before 11 am and NOT be considered an alcoholic). however, come the 1st of January, we’re all suddenly overcome with the desire to kick bad habits and live a healthier lifestyle. Everyone’s at it. You can barely scroll through your Facebook newsfeed without being bombarded by hopeful announcements from friends. Statuses such as, “2011 is gonna b a great year.” All of which might almost be inspiring if you didn’t already know that they’d said the exact same thing about 2012 and 2011…AND 2010. But what kind of resolutions are the most common?
If you’ve decided to try one of the classics, but you’re worried about staying strong, here are a few tips to help…
1. The ‘I will give up…’ resolution
This is the most common of all goals and also the most difficult to stick to.
Whether it’s smoking, drinking, chocolate or coffee; making a success of this type of resolution often requires a huge amount of willpower. Take me for example. Despite having a multitude of selling points, I am not what you’d call a ‘morning person.’ Truth be told, I probably can’t even precisely be classified as ‘mid-morning person’. Like most writers, late nights, endless deadlines and early mornings mean that, in order to avoid slipping into a coma before lunchtime, I have to rely on the magic of caffeine. Unfortunately, I’m not alone. God only know what kind of unsavory habits YOU’VE picked up as a result of your lifestyle or career choices. This is not to suggest that the desire for publication will turn you into a chimney smoking, alcohol swilling, caffeine craving, chocoholic…well, at least you‘d hope not! However, the stresses and pressures of everyday life can often leave your willpower in tatters.
Solution? Set one specific goal and focus all your energy on that.
So, if you really do happen to be a chimney smoking, alcohol swilling, caffeine craving, chocoholic you might want to pick one habit and try kicking that. Of course, if you can be described in the above terms you might also want to think about some kind of counselling…just a suggestion.
2. The ‘self-improvement’ resolution
If you’ve ever had the misfortune to wander down the self-help isle of a book store, you’ll be more than familiar with this resolution. January is the ONLY time of year when it’s possible to truly believe you’ll learn Spanish/join that dance class, etc. Self-improvement goals are easier to stick to than “I will give up…” resolutions – though not necessarily any more successful in the long term. The trick with the self-improvement resolution is not to take it so seriously. After all, if 2014 doesn’t see you managing to learn to hang glide, would it really be the end of the world?
3. The ‘detox/exercise/diet’ resolution
I’ve a confession to make…I deeply envy the people that can summon the willpower to attend the gym on a regular basis. You know, the kind of person who regularly goes and “works out”. Not only am I intimidated by all that shiny chrome machinery, but I also have yet to perfect a formula for looking good whilst working out. As any woman will tell you, nothing is as soul destroying as using the running machine next to someone who is barely out of breath and jogging effortlessly – someone who (and this is like, THE LAW OF GYMS EVERYWHERE) will also have an annoyingly perfect figure and the legs of a baby Thompsons gazelle.
In fact, the only thing likely to make you feel more depressed is watching that scene from Million Dollar Baby where Clint Eastwood smothers Hilary Swank with a pillow, whilst simultaneously listening to Keane warble on about somewhere only they know.
Dieting isn’t any easier.
The freezing cold of January doesn’t generally lend itself to an intense craving for salads.
Solution? Be clear about what you want to accomplish and then be honest about what is achievable. If your previous exercise regime consisted of you walking to McDonald’s, it’s probably unreasonable to expect a few weeks-worth of dedicated exercise to see you looking like a Hollyoaks cast member -well, not unless that cast member happens to be Myra McQueen!
Happy New Year!