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We make them, we break them, we discuss how to make better resolutions so we can be better at achieving them. And then we break them, again. Many well intentioned resolutions fail simply because they are too big and too vague. Resolving to lose weight is a great idea, but living that out can encompass exercise, diet, sleep patterns, and overall health. Simply resolving to “lose weight” fails to include specific details that one needs to daily carry that out. Without a plan, a resolution becomes daunting and unachievable. How can we be people who move and grow and achieve healthy lifestyles when all of that feels so hard to reach?
Let’s step back from the typical, over-reaching resolution and consider making a “micro-resolution”. A micro resolution is a small, short-term, specific goal: a commitment of a few weeks versus the traditional year-long resolution. It can be started at any time, not just at the beginning of the year. Commit to a realistic, manageable goal and see if you can keep up with the commitment for just a few weeks at a time. If you succeed, set another micro resolution. If you get off track, reevaluate your micro resolution and consider if it needs to be simplified. The purpose of micro resolutions is to break large goals into smaller, doable steps that fit with your current lifestyle and capability. If you asked me to run 10 miles tomorrow, I would probably laugh in your face. But if you instead asked me to walk around my block 2 times this week, I’d think about it and realize that although I might not want to walk around the block, I am capable of it.
Some examples of Resolutions vs. Micro Resolutions:
Resolution: “I will save more money this year” | Micro Resolution: “I will transfer a specific dollar amount into my savings account weekly for the next 4 weeks.”
Resolution: “I will eat healthier this year” | Micro Resolution: “I will drink a glass of water with dinner instead of juice/soda/alcohol for the next 7 days,” or “I will only eat fast food 1 time per week for the next 3 weeks,” or “I will cook dinner from fresh ingredients 2 times per week for the next 4 weeks”.
Resolution: “I will exercise more this year” | Micro Resolution: “I will walk around my block 3 times per week for the next 3 weeks”.
Resolution: “I will learn a new skill” | Micro Resolution: “Instead of 1 nightly tv episode per week, I will dust off the guitar in my closet and watch 1 guitar lesson per week on youtube, for the next 4 weeks”.
When setting a micro resolution, think about your big picture goals like saving money or achieving a healthier lifestyle. What is keeping you from those goals? Maybe you aren’t physically fit enough to run a marathon, you can’t afford to save thousands of dollars per year, or you just aren’t motivated enough to lose weight. This is the point where most people break their resolutions because it feels like they won’t ever become a reality. This is not the point to give up, but to reevaluate. Break those daunting goals into baby steps. A micro resolution is one small, but intentional, step toward a larger goal.
Don’t stress yourself out. Start where you are and be realistic about what you are capable of right now. Once you’ve made your micro resolution, write it down and post it somewhere visible as a reminder. Consider telling a friend or family member about your goal and asking if they will check in with you over the next few weeks to encourage and hold you accountable. Don’t forget to discuss health goals with your healthcare provider. Set yourself up for success by inviting others into your journey. You will start to see positive growth when you break the hard steps into achievable micro resolutions.
DISCLAIMER: This article contains information that is intended to help the readers be better informed regarding exercise and health care. It is presented as general advice on health care. Always consult your doctor for your individual needs. Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician. This article is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.