Should You Make December Resolutions?

Tired of making New Year’s resolutions? How about setting December goals instead?

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I understand Cinderella’s pain: When the clock strikes midnight each New Year’s Eve, I go from strutting my stuff like Beyoncé to real-life crying Michael Jordan in a matter of seconds. Why? Because at 12:01, the new year officially begins, and so do all the resolutions I vowed to make in 2018. There’s a lot of pressure to keep New Year’s resolutions. It can be really overwhelming, especially when you feel like you’re competing with friends, family, and co-workers to see who can keep their resolution the longest. That’s why instead of resolutions, I prefer to simply make achievable goals. Same thing right? “Well, a rose is a rose is a rose,” says Joanna Nunez, author and licensed clinical social worker and licensed clinical addictions specialist with a private practice near Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. “But there is actually a difference in terminology here. A goal is a desired result that a person wishes to achieve. It can be short term or long term. A good goal is measurable and achievable. A resolution is supposed to be long term, and something you keep, not complete.” Whatever you decide to call it, instead of caving to the pressure to make a resolution on New Year’s Eve, why not set those goals in December and get a head start on the new year? Crazy, I know. Hear me out. Earlier this year, I resolved to run my first half marathon. I vowed to start my training Jan. 1. But after some deliberation, I decided to start training in December, getting a jump-start on achieving my half marathon goal. So far, it’s been great. For one thing, all the treadmills at the gym are totally empty during the holidays! But more importantly, I haven’t put any pressure on myself. If I miss a run day, it’s no big deal. During Thanksgiving, I happily stuffed myself with all the pie without stressing over whether I was going to make a six-mile run happen (I did not). If you already know your goals for 2018, why not go ahead and start working toward them? Creating a vision board is a good way to get a head start on your December resolutions. Vision boards are collages of images designed to motivate you to reach specific goals. You can create a vision board on Pinterest, or you can go middle-school project and pull out magazines and poster board. Either way, include images that inspire you each time you look at your vision board. Have no idea what you want to achieve in 2018? That’s just fine too. Nunez says that planning ahead gives you time to set or change multiple goals. “Planning now gives you time to edit [your goals]. …You’ve decided to give up sugar, caffeine, cigarettes, and start running 5 miles a day. …That part I said before about goals being measurable and achievable was important. If you wake up on Jan. 1 and decide this is your plan, you will probably crash and burn pretty quickly.” Instead, Nunez suggests prioritizing your goals and starting with the one that is most important to you. Then work on ways to incorporate the other goals you would like to achieve in the future. Setting resolutions in December gives you time to practice, Nunez tells HealthyWay: “Say you decided to start with a running goal. If you’re not a runner, or not a regular runner, starting out at 5 miles a day would be frustrating, painful, and potentially dangerous. It would be great to start with small runs now, giving you time to build up endurance, make it a habit, make sure you like running, and make sure your body can physically tolerate running. This would give you time to reconfigure your resolution if for some reason running isn’t right for you.” So whether you call it a goal or a resolution, when everyone else is schlepping to the gym on New Year’s Day, you can cozy in at home because you’ve been working toward your goals since Thanksgiving!

Katie Martin
Katie Raye Martin is a freelance writer, navy wife, new mom, and chocoholic. In addition to HealthyWay, she has contributed to NextGenMilSpouse, a blog for the millennial military spouse, and Pregnant Chicken, a pregnancy blog. Since welcoming her first son a few months ago, Katie has become a pregnancy expert and cloth diapering connoisseur. When she’s not writing (or changing diapers) Katie is training for her first half-marathon.

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