STOP! Before You Commit to that New Thing…{Modern Thinking Versus Health Habits}

It’s January again and the time has arrived for the annual resolving to do better and more in our lives. But, what if we resolved to not resolve? What if we chose a year of simply being and doing as we always have done and been?

Modern Thinking Tells us to Spend Spend Spend

It’s certainly not exciting or glamorous to walk the same line we walked in the prior year, but that’s likely what we’ll be doing come March, regardless of our intentions. Plus, it gets us off the hook to run around frantically engaging in the consumer behavior that supports those resolutions on January 1st. Resolve to get healthy? Modern thinking will have you running out to join a gym, buying new clothes so that you feel accepted at said gym and spending that holiday gift money on a fitness tracker that will let all your friends know you’re working on your health. Of course there’s nothing at all wrong with resolving to be healthier, it’s just the social pressure in how to achieve “health”.

The cost of our modern thinking sets us up for failure in these situations.

Ask Yourself This

You see, just a year ago I did make resolutions and most of them got lost in the hustle bustle of life. The one thing that stayed with me was not a resolution, but a question that cropped up every time I thought to make a purchase, join a gym or indulge in the latest boot-camp, Pilates, yoga craze. (And I love those crazes.) The tone I worked hard to set for 2016 was one of simplicity and frugality, so the question that loomed each time I sought to make an an ongoing financial commitment was this: would the feeling I get from this purchase be accomplished by something I already own or have access to? For me, I compare purchases for new gyms or fitness with something I truly love and already engage in on a weekly basis: hiking.  The answer is almost always to stick to what I’ve been doing by taking a hike at a regional park two to three days a week.

Accountability: Find a Team

When motivation became tougher, I recruited a few mom friends for routine morning hikes after school drop-off so that I had no excuse. And the cost? Zilch. I might even argue that I was paid for increasing this habit by taking some tertiary friendships and solidifying them. Two of the friends and I were paid dividends in seeing our kids friendships strengthened as well, which culminated with a family Christmas Eve guided hike (by our newly trained naturalist friend) in a secret forest atop Sonoma Mountain. The feeling of contentment, awe and gratitude were high that Saturday morning.

It is along that thread that I want to stay. Yes, of course, I want to solidify a habit or two (I’m looking at you, my inconsistent writing practice) but I’ll stay with the question that helped me out so much last year and hopefully be a little kinder to myself during the process.

So, what resolutions can you turn into habits? Can you answer this question for your own life: can the feeling I’ll get from this purchase/commitment be accomplished by something I already own or have access to? Post your answer in the comments below, as I’d love to hear from you!

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