Is it just me, or does it seem so natural to replace that 7 with an 8? Maybe I just prefer even numbers, but it really feels like 2018 is the year.
This year, I've resolved to
- Be the most positive person in the room.
- Run more.
- Eat less processed foods (especially sugar).
- Release two e-books.
- Work, train, and think with confidence.
- Train with workouts that scare/challenge me.
- Run a marathon.
- Complete a duathlon.
- Complete a triathlon.
- Stretch every night before bed.
- Be more responsible with money.
I'm sure these all sound similar, if not identical, to your own resolutions for this and all previous new year's. So how do we make 2018 the year that they stick?
POSITIVE THINKING & CONFIDENCE
When it comes to being happier, less stressed and more confident in 2018, it's all about mindset.
I myself am the queen of playing the victim in my own head by looking at things as if they are happening to me instead of happening around me. For example, if I only have one hour to workout during a busy day and the gym happens to be super crowded when I walk in, I will get annoyed and have a terrible workout because I interpret it as a negative situation that I am forced to endure. If I am running late to a client because of heavy traffic, I will see it as bad luck and wonder "why does this always happen to me?" as if no one else is also stuck in traffic.
But what if I looked at these situations as events that were happening around me? What if I get to a crowded gym at my only available hour of the day and see it as an opportunity to change up my workout routine by using equipment I might usually overlook? What if I saw the traffic as time to sit and organize my thoughts for the upcoming Fit By Gab meeting? Sure, it doesn't change anything that's happening, but it spares me the unnecessary mental stress and headache. By removing myself from the situation and continuing without dwelling on the negative, I can get done what I need to get done regardless of the circumstance.
Whether you look at situations as happening to you or around you, they still end exactly the same way, so spare yourself the emotional trauma and start acting like an impartial observer.
When it comes to confidence, try this: make a list of 10 people who admire you. They don't have to be people that you also admire, they don't need to be colleagues or friends or family members or your own age or people who carry an elite status... just people who look up to you or think you've done something of value.
This might seem daunting at first, but you'll find that it actually comes pretty easily once you get started. Once you've got them, list why they admire you. Were you extra kind to them during a tough time? Did you help them out of a sticky situation? Did you give them really good advice? Do you make them laugh? Did you do something that they think is admirable or challenging? Do they aspire to be like you? Have you taught them something of value? Whatever the reason or reasons that they admire you, list them.
Once you've got that list, read it a few times. It might be tempting to qualify them ("she admires me because I lost weight, but I only did that because my doctor told me I had to," "he only thinks I'm smart because I got good grades, but I'm not naturally smart... I had to work really hard for them," "they admire me because I'm funny, but they'll laugh at anything"), but try your best not to.
Now, write a separate list of all the reasons that you are admired as "I am" statements.
I am kind and empathetic.
I am helpful and loyal.
I give thoughtful and helpful advice.
I am funny and make people laugh.
I accomplish things that are uncomfortable and challenging.
I posses qualities that others aspire to have.
I am patient and teach people important lessons that I have learned.
Then, for good measure, add some things you admire about yourself. Again, it's hard not to roll your eyes and skip this part, but really stop and think about things you're proud of.
Take this list and put it somewhere you will see it every day - your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, the front door... somewhere you can read it at least once a day.
Soon, your positive thinking will merge with your confidence list and you will find yourself thinking more positively about your life and yourself.
HEALTH & FITNESS
If you're really going to prioritize your health & fitness in 2018, you've got to make a plan that you're actually able to stick to for more than a few weeks.
How many years have you resolved to work out every day after work, only to inevitably have a few hard, late nights at the office completely set you off track and abandon your goal? Don't worry, we've all been there. It's human nature to have big aspirations and then completely give up after we fall off the wagon.
This year, start smaller. Set a reasonable goal that you can definitely accomplish, no matter how insignificant it seems.
In order to do this, start with something you enjoy. Maybe the gym isn't your scene, but you really enjoy walking the dog in the morning before work so you can listen to your favorite podcast and have some personal time before your day gets hectic. Instead of resolving to "suck it up" and go to the gym 5 nights a week, try resolving to wake up 30 minutes earlier to have an extra half an hour to walk the dog. It's a small, manageable change that will get you moving more, and it isn't setting you up for failure. If you oversleep one day, you won't feel as though you ruined your whole New-Year's-life-overhaul and quit altogether... you'll just wake up and walk again the next day. Once getting up 30 minutes earlier to go on longer walks with the dog is easy, you can try getting up 45 minutes earlier to walk even further, or try adding a little jogging into your morning routine.
Start out with something that is small and sustainable and then add to it as the months go by. Starting small is much better than starting big when starting big leads to quitting big.
If you have a event you'd like to complete in 2018, sign up now. Don't worry about how or when or why, just sign up and light the fire under your butt. You won't run a marathon if you don't have a marathon to run. You won't train for a Spartan Race if there's no Spartan Race in your future. To quote the great Tina Fey, "say yes now and figure it out later."
When it comes to eating better, it's time you start really being mindful. When you're looking for food in the afternoon, are you hungry or just bored? Do you really need a piece of chocolate after dinner, or could you satisfy your sweet tooth with a piece of gum instead?
Remember that what you eat today, you crave tomorrow and make healthier choices a habit. Every time you slip and have "just one bite," you're setting up the chemicals in your brain to want more and more. Break the cycle once and for all by really asking yourself why you want it and what else you could have instead.
WORK & PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
2018 is the year you're going to cross your professional goals off the bucket list! How? Better time management.
I know I'm not the only one who starts out with good intentions and then falls into a rabbit hole of Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. It feels like a drug - I'll write a few workouts or do a few paragraphs of a blog post, and then reward myself with a few scrolls of my social media, only to find myself on the other side of 2 wasted hours.
If we took all of the time that we spent mindlessly exercising our thumbs on our iPhones, we'd be able to do all of the things we want to do and still have time for drinks afterwards.
I'm not saying that a little social media time isn't necessary for our social and cultural sanity, but we definitely don't need to spend hours looking at our ex's cousin's baby shower photos or finding out what kind of taco we are.
This year, you're going to use your to-do list to your advantage and cross things off one by one until all of your professional milestones are met. How? With alarms.
You can do anything for one hour. Put your phone on the other side of your desk where you won't be tempted to touch it when things get tricky, set an alarm for 60 minutes and just work. When that hour is up, you will either A) be in the middle of a good thought and continue working, B) take a short break and then start back up, or C) take a short break and then move onto something else.
These short breaks can consist of anything you like - television, social media, WebMD (though I don't recommend it), Xbox... just make sure that you get back to work after 15 minutes.
It might be hard at first. You might mess up the first few times and fall back down the rabbit hole, but just like with anything else, as soon as you start to become more productive and your overwhelming to-do list gets shorter and shorter, the reward of being productive will become much greater than the reward of cute puppy photos and funny InstaStories, so you'll be less tempted by them.
Write a list of all the work/professional goals you want to accomplish in 2018 and make a plan of how to complete them. Put those smaller tasks on your to-do list and work on them one hour at a time. The closer you get, the less your old 11th grade English teacher's vacation photos will interest you.
Think of every unnecessary purchase you made in 2017. Go ahead, I'll wait...
Just like with eating, 2018 is going to be the year that you become more mindful with money. Before you buy anything, you're going to stop and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Will this help me reach any of my personal/professional goals?
2. Will this be of any importance to me in 2019?
3. Is there a way that I could buy/do this for less?
4. Is there something else that I need/want more than this that I'd prefer this money go towards?
5. Do I have space for this item in my home?
6. Will buying this make me feel guilt/shame?
7. Will I need to justify this purchase to my significant other/parents/friends?
8. Would I be happier putting this money towards a tropical vacation?
For example, let's say you get an e-mail that a band you and your best friend enjoy are going to be in your area and you're considering buying tickets. The e-mail says that pre-sale tickets are $300 each and will sell out fast. (NOTE: I would spend just about anything to see my favorite band play, so for the sake of the example, let's say this band is one you like, but you're not considering getting their lyrics tattooed on your body.)
1. These tickets won't help you accomplish any of your goals.
2. By 2019, you probably won't still be riding the post-concert high (or even still be listening to their music).
3. You might be able to buy the tickets for less during the regular sale, or on Craigslist as the concert date gets closer.
4. Your blender that you use every day to make your morning smoothie hasn't been working the same lately, so you could probably spend that $300 on a great new one that you'd use every day.
6. There's a good chance you'll feel guilty once you see your bank account after the purchase goes through.
7. When your significant other finds out how much you spent on the tickets, you will probably feel pressured to explain yourself.
8. A 3-hour concert has NOTHING on a 7-day beach getaway.
I understand that this isn't a perfect science, but it's a good way to gauge whether or not you really need something.
I am a serial impulse-shopper, so I use this to determine whether or not I'll have buyer's remorse the next day. I really like the comparison to the tropical vacation, because we really take for granted how much money we throw away that could have already gotten us to Fiji and back, ESPECIALLY on food and coffee. Save that money and get yourself a dream getaway!
2018 can most definitely be your year if you are able to take a step back, be more mindful and think before you act. Having a plan for things is the difference between being who you want to be and being who you've always been. Resolve to be the best version of yourself by following this roadmap and you'll be amazed at how far you can go!