Well For Culture: The Key to New Year’s Resolutions

Chelsey Luger provides a list of five ways to stick to your New Year's resolutions.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth is it is very unlikely that you’ll stick to your New Year’s resolution. In fact, it’s very unlikely that your commitment to quit eating Hot Cheetos for breakfast every day will even last through the end of the month.

According to research, more than one third of those who make resolutions give up before January is even over, and more than half will quit by summertime. Those who actually make it to the end of the year? Mythical creatures.

But don’t let my words discourage you. In fact, don’t let anything stop you. Cynical as I may sound [given the empirical evidence that I simply can’t ignore], I still want you to try. Which leads me to my first suggestion. Go ahead and ...

1. MAKE THAT RESOLUTION. Because even though it’s more than likely that you’ll forget about your newfound commitments eventually, you’re much more likely to stick to something challenging if you commit to it in the first place. Everybody knows Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote: “You miss 100-percent of the shots you don’t take.” There you go.

I’ll let you in on a secret: I started this whole piece with a bleak, failure-oriented statistic because I wanted to give you a reason to defy me. The best thing that you can do right now is to say to me (in your head), “This lady doesn’t know me. I’m going to be different. I’m going to be the exception to the rule, and I’m going to stick to my guns.” Which brings me to my next tip ...

2. CONFIDENCE IS KEY. A positive attitude will take you a long way. Know that you actually can do pretty much anything you put your mind to. And in the midst of it, if you happen to slip up once or twice, it’s best not to beat yourself up over it. Self-loathing and self-doubt will harm you more than you realize. So, start by totally believing in yourself despite what any doubters would say, and voila, you’re off to the best possible start. Use every ounce of your rebellious energy toward a good cause. Prove me wrong. Show that it’s possible. Make it happen.

And while you’re making it happen for yourself, don’t forget about those around you, either. While obviously any New Year’s commitment should be primarily about you (because you’re the one making the commitment, and you’re the ONLY person you can rely on to actually stick to this commitment), you have to think about those around you, too. Which leads us to the next point …

3. GET OTHER PEOPLE INVOLVED. You will be way more likely to stick to a wellness routine if you talk about it, express out loud your desire to improve, and motivate others to join you for the ride. I recommend that if, for example, your resolution is to start going to the gym, find a workout buddy or a trainer to share your goals with. This makes it more fun and can also add some friendly competition in the mix. And the best part is, it could be good for others too. You will feel awesome about getting yourself into better shape, but you will feel absolutely elated if you realize that you’re helping one of your loved ones do the same.

Getting others involved in your personal goals is a sure way to make this whole process more fun and more likely to stick. But there’s a flip side to that. If you want to make a really true, honest, fair effort at self-improvement, you have to be prepared to UN-involve yourself with certain people or places or things, if you know what I mean. Which leads us to our next topic ...

4. BE PREPARED TO SACRIFICE. Nothing good comes easy. This is especially true in the way of kicking unhealthy habits. Here’s a great example: if you’re trying to get sober, guess what? You absolutely need to stop hanging out in bars or other unsavory haunts, and you should really limit the amount of time you spend with people who like to drink a lot. (Easier said than done, I know). Here’s another example: if you want to stop eating preservative-filled junk food, you have to stop filling your cupboards with the bad stuff. The trick to this is all in finding replacements: Apples instead of Dorito’s, buffalo meat instead of pork, eggs instead of cereal, water instead of soda … And so on.

Sounds hard, I know, but here’s the good news. It’s only hard for a little while. Because - this is a promise - the energy that you put out will undoubtedly come back to you. That means that if you start putting out the vibes of a sober, healthy, active, spiritual person, like clockwork, those are the types of friends and family members will suddenly appear more often in your life. It takes a little bit of time but trust me, it will happen, and THAT is when you will see real and lasting change. Which brings me to the absolutely final point…

5. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS DON’T ACTUALLY MATTER. They don’t! I mean, they’re great and all, but like many other things in life, it’s just a quirky tradition that was established by who-knows-who a millennia ago and we tend to get a little too worked up about it. The really important thing to remember is that you understand that you are a powerful, self-motivating individual who has the capability to start or stop anything at any point in your life. New Year’s will come and go. If you can use it for a moment to think seriously about goals and dreams for the future, do it. But also remember that self-improvement is something you can do anytime, and your efforts will always be commendable as long as your heart is in the right place.

Chelsey Luger. Photo courtesy Eller Bonifacio.

Chelsey Luger is Anishinaabe and Lakota from North Dakota. She hopes to be a strong link in a long chain of ancestors and descendants by spreading ideas for health and wellness. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Ideas for articles? Email her: wellforculture@gmail.com.