Forget Resolutions: Make a Habit to Simplify in 2013

This is an excerpt from my latest post for Home Your Way. You can read the entire post here.

In my late teens and 20s I was an athlete. I worked out a lot.

Eighteen workouts a week for 48-50 weeks of the year.

Most of the workouts were out on a lake rowing in a long skinny boat, but in the afternoons I would hit up the gym for weight training sessions.

I spent many years observing the annual cycle of gym goers.

December is a great time to be at the gym. It’s quiet. People are out celebrating and any thoughts of muscle burn or finally getting in shape get farther away with every indulgence in savory appetizers and late night out.

January is a terrible time to be at a gym. They’re packed. Classes are full. There are wait lists to get on treadmills.

Luckily by mid-February the New Year’s Resolution crowd has thinned out. By late spring most of them are gone.

Why do all those gym goers fail at their resolution to get in shape?

Because they made a vague resolution instead of setting a goal and creating habits to achieve the goal. They resolved to “get in shape” or maybe even “go to the gym three times a week” and eventually the snooze button won out over their will power. There was no goal like do 100 burpies without stopping or ten full push-ups or finish the endurance spin class without having to take a break, to keep them motivated and working hard.

Resolutions rarely work. Setting a goal however, one that creates a new habit in your life, does.

Resolutions vs. Habit Forming Goal

What’s the difference between a resolution and a goal?

Read the rest of this post at Home Your Way.

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  • I tried really hard this year to make my resolutions specific (although some are still quite vague!) I also tried to be realistic about what I actually can/will fit in. I’ve also realised that if I want to go swimming in the mornings before work, I need to not be tired. So I need to go to bed early. Obvious! So early bed (9.30pm) is in the resolutions…

    • I totally agree Nicola. Changes are not mutually exclusive from other parts of your life so a more wholistic view and associated changes are needed as well is in order to make a permanent change.

  • I also don’t do resolutions – well not really. Last year I decided to eliminate sugar from drinks – which coincidentally started on Jan became a habit and stuck.
    Buying less has also become a habit – I realised that this Friday, when I picked up something and then put it back down. It wasn’t a high cost item, and would have been useful. However I could manage without it, I could create something myself and improvise at no cost – I;m now fine tuned to resist the purcahse. Habits outweigh a NYR anyday!

  • Yes, you’ve probably pegged MOST winter gym goers, but there are several of us who join a gym for 3 months in the winter- Jan, Feb, and March are the coldest months… here, it is not possible to go for a run outside for a good part of winter, you’d slip on ice and break a leg, or get a stitch in your side from breathing in -20 degree air while wearing a parka and trying to hike in your snow boots and 13 pairs of socks up the street. I’m betting it’s not that bad where you live, but everyone thinks THEIR winter is HORRIBLE (even in California) and they’d rather spend money to work at a treadmill for a few months, but as soon as it’s nice enough they go back outside for a run…

    Anyway. Yeah, so you’re right, most people don’t keep New Years Resolutions. But some of those gym goers are there BECAUSE they’ve made a lifestyle commitment to be fit and a winter gym membership is how they do it.

  • Heard about you on youtube when you were being interviewed. I have just now got into minimalism and have been visiting other blogs and watching videos to learn more about this lifestyle. Thank you for being an inspiration.

    I have been making changes and clearing out clutter since new years day, but it wasn’t a resolution. I just started removing things from my life; clutter, soft drinks, coffee and best of all television.

    Also, if it’s ok to link, here is my intro to becoming a minimalist.

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