At the beginning of each year, the talk starts to happen about new years resolutions. There is something about the start of each year that makes people want to make a firm decision to do or not to do something that they've been thinking about. Quite often these resolutions are related to diet or exercise, but can often include broader ideas such as trying something new, talking to strangers, getting a new job. Most of the time these resolutions are broken.
I used to make resolutions, and each year I would fail in my resolutions after 3-4 weeks. Each year as another unreasonable resolution, such as exercise every day, was broken, I would feel bad about myself. “Why”, I asked, “am I setting myself up to fail?”
That was ages ago that I made these resolutions and I asked that question. The answer I came up with back then was to stop making new year resolutions. Stop setting myself up for failure. Stop making myself feel bad. Start changing things when I thought about it. Start setting myself up for success. Start doing things that make me happy. Why did I have to wait until the start of each year to make changes? The answer was I didn't.
My fundamental personality is still the same as that person who used to make resolutions, but I’m a completely different person than I was then. That initial thought about why I was doing something that was making me feel bad made me question a lot of things in my life. Over the years, I’ve worked on becoming a happier person. I worked on setting myself up for successes and not failures. I still tried things and I still failed at them a lot of the time, but I enjoyed the process a lot more when it wasn't a resolution.
That brings me to this year, two thousand and eighteen.
New Years day found me making carrot muffins. I was watching the Great Canadian Baking Show, and as with watching the Great British Bake-Off, I became inspired to bake something. I had already done a whole bunch of baking over the last week as I was on holidays from work and my freezer is literally stuffed to the brim and unable to fit in anything else, so whatever I was going to make needed to be small and useful and able to convince Michael of the absolute need for it, despite our lack of freezer space.
After a week off from work, I thought that I could start my first week back to work right, and make myself some carrot muffins for breakfast. As the muffins were sitting on the cooling rack, I had a brilliant idea! I should make baked goods for breakfast to take to work all the time.
Most mornings I roll out of bed with enough time to get dressed before I have to leave home and get to work on time. I usually end up stopping somewhere on my way to work to buy a muffin or a bagel. The odd morning will see me get up with enough time to eat breakfast at home, but those are quite rare. Having something that would be a quick and easy grab from the freezer would give me an extra 10-15 minuets in the morning that I no longer needed to use stopping to buy breakfast.
Then my brilliant idea of baked goods for breakfast morphed into my other great nemesis. A bagged lunch for work. I’ve never been good at packing my lunch, and can remember a great many times as a child taking an apple and a box of chocolate milk for lunch instead of taking the time to actually make something.
So my next thought was if I did breakfast for an entire month, why not lunch for an entire month. From there it spiralled into trying out something new every month for an entire year.
So instead of making new years resolutions, I’ve decided to give myself monthly challenges. Each month will be a different challenge of something I’ve been telling myself that I would like to do. There will be no repercussions if I fail a month, but instead, I hope to create new habits that I will continue, at least the majority of the time, after the month is over. Now, without further ado:
Make Breakfast for Work
Prepare a bagged lunch for work the night before
Vegetarian for the Month
No Extra Spending
No Pressing the snooze button
Take a walk every day (aka 10,000 steps per day)
Drink Water Every Day
No Pop/Soda Month
Reduce Social Media time to 15 mins per day
No Desserts or Sweets
Take the stairs every time
With a time limit of the month, my hope is that each month I will succeed every day, without any cheats and that I will be setting myself up for success instead of failure. Plus, the added bonus is that each month I will be creating content for this site, because I will write how the month went. It’s a win win!