Meta asked me to share a post on broken resolutions, because it’s something we can all relate to. I've had a few: do at least 15 minutes of yoga daily, eat more greens, get to bed earlier. But my main broken resolution is one I’ve been working on for three years now! Less screen time. I wrote a post about my attempt to limit it in 2012. At the time it felt like screen time was interfering with potential time spent with family/friends, reading books (the kind with paper pages) or just getting out of the house.
I think it’s been hard to meet this goal because almost everything I do (for work and play) involves a device. It’s not an excuse, really. But because of that I’ve realized the need to modify the goal, and hopefully that will make this year a success. I’ll get back to my strategies for that later.
The other part of this post I wanted to share was how I help my clients with their weight loss or nutrition goals. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tips that work better than others to keep them on track:
- Create no more than 1-2 resolutions because you need to put your full energy and focus into the goal. Try to choose a resolution you are dedicated and passionate to change, because you'll need a high level of motivation to keep going when one or two months pass and the passion cools. Make sure it’s you (and not your doctor, significant other, mother) who is fueling your resolution.
- Jillian Michaels asks, “What is your why? Outline and define it.” Dig deeper and ask why you want to make the change. If it’s personal and specific (“I want more energy with my kids,” “I want to sleep better at night”) instead of vague (“I’m supposed to do this”), you’re more likely to stick with it.
- Make the resolution measurable, realistic and with a time stamp. Instead of saying "I want to lose a lot of weight!" say "I plan to lose 15 pounds in 3 months because I know I can lose 1 pound a week.” Meta likes to call this idea of making small changes that can lead to good things the "Meta Effect."
- Write down the resolution and display it in a visible place, like on your refrigerator, screensaver, bathroom mirror, or car dashboard as a nagging reminder of your commitment. It’s about accountability. You could enlist the help of a trusted friend who checks in with you twice a month, or download an app (any surprise there are at least a dozen New Year’s Resolution apps to help you create, organize and track?). It all depends on how much you want this.
- Evaluate your progress once a week, ideally in a quiet moment like on a weekend day, when you can reflect on why you are or are not succeeding with the goal. If you're not making progress, reevaluate your strategy. Don’t feel badly to tweak the goal.
If you’ve tried all the above and still can’t stick with it, maybe you’re not ready for the change. I asked Fen Tung, my fitness contributor, what she does. I figured that with her driven personality, teaching eight exercise classes a week aside from working a full-time job at MIT, she must make and keep all her resolutions! She surprised me by saying that she stopped resolutions because she always broke them. “It almost made me fail more when I made ‘date goals’ with myself because I wouldn’t meet them, and I’d get really frustrated and depressed. I’d give up and say I’d start next week or next month, but then do nothing for months." Fen now believes that wellness should be a lifestyle with no beginning or end. She takes advantage of each new day to do something healthy. “I stopped making these weird rules about starting goals, but just tried my best each day and didn’t beat myself up.”
As for my screen time, I’m working on a few new things. I’ve realized the need to change my environment. If I want to cut down on screen time but my laptop, iPad, iPhone and HDTV are the first thing I see when I walk into a room, what do you think I’ll reach for? I plan to keep as many devices out of sight as possible so at least I won’t automatically reach for them. A big one is keeping the iPad out of the bedroom; once I start browsing it before bed, I don’t stop and lose out on sleep.
I’ve modified my resolution in that some screen time can be productive and uplifting. The past “failed” years haven’t been a complete waste as I’ve learned to identify necessary screen time vs. surfing that leaves me feeling drained and even depressed. I’m identifying and reaching for the moments when online resources teach or inspire. Interestingly, when this happens I can more easily go offline because I like to ponder those gems of inspiration.
I hope this post fuels ideas for your resolutions! Feel free to share your resolutions in the comments and how you plan to stay on track. For more inspiration, check out this funny video below by Meta about Broken Resolutions Blues, then head over to their Facebook page to share your broken resolutions along with how you plan to start fresh in 2015!
Disclosure: I've partnered with P&G on this sponsored post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more information at MetaWellness.com.
Today I posted on the Meta Wellness Facebook page about my broken resolution from last year to practice yoga at home at least 10-15 minutes a day (sadly I've been averaging once a week). They came back at me with a personalized video! How cool is that? 😃