I’m the kind of person who doesn’t make resolutions (New Year’s or otherwise), because I know I won’t keep them. The most I’ve managed in the past was “no sugar for a week”, and even then I’d cheat with the occasional piece of dark chocolate. I’m just not into deprivation. But now that I have a kid, I find I have to make some tough choices. I’ve had to figure out just how much sleep I need to be (semi) effective at work, switch my exercise time to 6 am (a time I wasn’t really sure existed pre-kid), and accept that cereal is going to be on the dinner rotation.
I’m always looking for more balance in my life. Setting goals like “exercise more” or “eat less take-out” never work though. They’re too vague, too sweeping, and have no fixed expiry date. So how are we, as working mommies, supposed to set realistic goals to make incremental changes in our busy lives?
I can’t tell you what’s going to work for you, but I can tell you what’s working for me. For now. Because we all know that everything changes, all the time.
I set a couple of goals each month to stick to. Some are fitness goals, some are personal goals, some are family goals. All are goals I can meet. The time limit is so short that if I’m struggling, I remind myself it’s only a couple of weeks, then I can re-evaluate and set a new batch of goals. The idea is that some will stick and become healthy living habits. Some might not work out at all. By setting more than one, I’m pretty sure that I’ll achieve at least one, and be more forgiving if another one doesn’t work out.
I started in September with these goals:
- Drink a green smoothie every day.
- No treats at the office unless I exercised that morning.
- Leave my phone off at work.
I failed on the last one, but achieved the first two. The green smoothies gave me so much energy (not to mention deliciousness) that the second goal wasn’t hard at all (and I have a serious sweet tooth). In fact, the green smoothie goal worked out so well I just kept on with it, no resolution needed. The treat goal, well, let’s just say that three people started keeping Halloween candy bowls on their desk for the entire month of October and leave it at that.
Here are my goals for January:
- Exercise ten minutes every day (at least!).
- Write for one hour, five days a week.
- Order take-out on Fridays only.
There are lots of other things I want (and hope) to do, like getting enough sleep and staying close with friends. But there’s eleven more months in the year to focus on those. The funny thing about resolutions is, once you start achieving them, you’ll achieve more. Failing at a resolution is a downward spiral, at least in my experience. Well, I had that ice cream yesterday, so there goes my no sugar week. Set a few goals to meet in a short timeframe. Forgive yourself if you don’t meet one or two, but encourage yourself to keep the others up. Build on your success, adding a few new goals every month, and eventually you might find the bigger transformation we hope for every New Year.
What are some of your healthy living goals? Pick three and get started!
Need some motivation on the short term? Join our January #BB30in30 Challenge and kick off 2015 with a bang!
Andrea Bradley is a lawyer by day and occasional BB trainer (plus a longterm BB client). Certified with the Canadian Association of Fitness Professionals in 2006, she has taught a wide range of class formats in addition to BB, including total body conditioning, step, cardio kickboxing, stability ball, bootcamp, dance conditioning, & power yoga. When she’s not busy writing or working out, Andrea can be found snuggling her toddler, Aldric.