Picture it: you’re two days into your 30-day vegan cleanse, and you accidentally order a latté with cow’s milk instead of almond milk. Or maybe you vowed to exercise every day in January before a cold sidelined you from your workout routine. Your new, improved lifestyle is ruined. Or is it?
Too many people set unreasonable expectations when setting their resolutions. As we’ve previously discussed, the best resolutions are SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound—but there’s another element you should also factor into your resolution planning: flexibility.
Let’s consider a few common scenarios that arise and how a flexible approach can help you find a workable solution.
Whether your instructor caught the flu and cancelled class or you just couldn’t make it to the gym because the weather was too bad, you’re going to miss workouts from time to time. If this becomes a recurring problem—maybe work or family obligations are interfering—it’s time to re-think your approach to where you work out. Instead of a gym, maybe you need a home gym.
Home gyms don’t have to be dedicated rooms or wings of a home; you can actually create your own with just a few tools. If you’re just getting started with home workouts, the TRX Home2 System is the best value for your money. You can use the included Suspension Trainer for your full body workout, and the free year of TRX App service that comes with the kit takes all of the guesswork out of your workouts. Fire up the app, and let TRX’s world class trainers talk you through the rest.
To be clear, you shouldn’t use flexibility as an excuse for failure. It’s important to be accountable to yourself, and to do your best to stick to your goals. But, when circumstances beyond your control arise—like illness or a family emergency—it doesn’t have to derail your resolution.
Slacking on Sleep
So you’ve kept up with your resolutions to exercise regularly and read one book each week, but you’re falling behind on that pledge to sleep at least seven hours each night. It sounds like you over-extended yourself on obligations.
Everyone has obligations that demand time, regardless of new year’s resolutions. No matter how kind she is, your boss’s top priority is that you’re completing your work, not that you left the office in time to train for a marathon. The same thing goes with kids: as adults, they might appreciate that you took a year to read the Russian classics, but—in their younger years—they’re more concerned with eating dinner and finishing their homework.
This is where you have an opportunity to weigh your resolutions against one another, and decide how you can modify your plans to accomplish your goal. For example, if nightly reading toward your book goal is keeping you away from your REM cycle, consider downgrading your reading resolution to “read two books each month,” to give yourself more time to sleep. Alternatively, you could eliminate something else—like television viewing or time spent on social media—and dedicate that newfound time to reading and sleeping.
If you can live and thrive on a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, legume-free diet, congratulations! You might be superhuman. Lots of folks, however, crave carbs and sugar. And for those folks, diving into a super-strict diet may be difficult.
Dieting—with the intention of keeping off the weight—is only effective if it’s part of a lifestyle change. In other words, there’s no actual end to a diet. When you start the year with a plan to cut out all carbs, but you also consider yourself a cupcake junkie, you’re setting yourself up for misery or failure. Instead of falling off the diet wagon, which is more likely to result in an unhealthy binge, schedule days for small treats in your food plan. And when it comes to a treat day, don’t think of it as “cheating” on your diet. Mindset matters, and “cheaters” are more likely to feel guilty, which could create a negative relationship with food.
Self-improvement of any kind is a process, which will include huge leaps forward along with a few setbacks. The key is to let both your wins and and losses shape your goals to create long-term lifestyle changes. Looking to establish long-term wellness goals? Flexibility could be the most important quality in your plan.