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Plan for Success: Seeing Through Your 2019 New Year's Resolutions

The end of the year offers a moment of respite between the chaos of the holidays and a return to the daily grind. Use this opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and to use the lessons from last year to create a new plan of attack for the year to come. Here's a few pointers for achieving your best in 2019!

Do What You Love

The #NewYearNewYou movement often starts with the unbearable fact that the things you don't want to do are the things you should do, like eating healthier or watching less TV. In reality, the people who start their New Year's Resolutions with things they hate don't make it to February. Instead of trying to convince yourself to look forward to being miserable in January, try turning the things you enjoy into something productive.

If you love reading but struggle to finish the books you start, join a book club. If you want to make more home-cooked dinners, make it easier on yourself by recruiting other members of the family to help with shopping or prep.

If you're sure you want to be better in 2019 but you're not sure what to focus on, pick a favorite pastime or growth activity--like learning to play an instrument, taking up painting or poetry, learning a new language--that would be fun and productive. Just be reasonable.

Get Out of a Debt a Little Bit

In the last 30 years, there's been little change in the top 5 New Year's Resolutions. This says a lot about how much we all have in common. There are plenty of articles about what steps to take if you want to "tame the bulge," spend more quality time with loved ones, quit smoking, drink less alcohol, or get out of debt. The truth is, losing weight and spending time with family are more work than you think. That doesn't make them unfit or unreachable goals. By all accounts, fitness and family are of the utmost importance to a healthy life. But maybe the reason there's more column inches written about "how" to achieve resolutions than the resolutions themselves is that the goals everybody wants to achieve are really, really hard.

That's not to say you shouldn't give up before you start. It's only to say that you should start small.

Rather than losing 30 pounds for the year, lose 3 pounds for the month. Rather than paying off the $10,000 car loan, start off with the $300 Wal-Mart credit card. This not only gives you a small victory to motivate you in taking on a larger amount, but it cuts down your monthly payments, which you can then roll over into another account.

It's the don't-bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew approach to New Year's Resolutions. Take a moderate approach to getting what you want in time, not all at once. Because nobody buys a gym membership and squats 500 pounds on the first day, just as nobody graduates college and becomes CEO after the first job interview.

Be SMART About Your Goals

S.M.A.R.T. goals are a perfect guide for New Year's Resolutions.

  • Specific - "How" over "What." Think "count and cut calories" versus the generic "losing 30 pounds"
  • Measurable - How much, how long, how many?
  • Attainable - You know you better than anyone (with the possible exception of your spouse). Pick a goal you know you can achieve. It's better to win small than fail big.
  • Realistic - If you have $28,000 in car loans (which is average), but your household salary is $58,000 (also average), it's not reasonable to try to pay off the car by year's end. Instead, shoot for an extra principal payment every third month, or start your debt reduction with a smaller loan amount entirely, like the $300 credit card.
  • Timely - You can have 2019 goals, but to get there, use monthly milestones. In business, semi-annual bonuses are better than annual ones because the timeline is shorter, a small stumble won't throw you off the entire goal, and in general people just can't plan that far ahead.

The Lumberjack Trick

Once you've decided on a goal, the real work begins. If you're looking for a way to follow through on your New Year's Resolutions, try the Lumberjack Trick.

To lumberjacks, the story goes, chopping wood is pure enjoyment: the fresh air, the sound of splitting wood, the precision and skill, the full-body workout. It is his reason to get up in the morning and his satisfaction after a day's work.

The moral of the story is to find the one thing you like and do it religiously. If it's riding a bike, ride a bike. If it's squats or bench press or a brisk walk after dinner, do it. Forget the fitness experts who say that you need a day's rest between workouts. While it's true that you can increase the risk of injury by overworking the same muscles day in and day out, we don't hold everyone to this rule. Runners run every day. Basketball players play basketball every day. You can too.

If it's power cleans that gets you up at the crack of dawn to hit the gym before work, by all means do power cleans. If you enjoy it, you get to see the benefits every day, making it less likely that you'll quit.

If losing weight and/or exercising more is your New Year's Resolution, now's the time to sign up for our Buckeye Rewards System, which will feature a coupon for Super Fitness in January. This club offers everything from circuit training to free weights, free personal training, senior citizen programs, and a ladies only club.

If saving money by bundling your phone, cable and Internet is a goal for 2019, check out our packages or give us a call at (419) 724-7980 (NW Ohio/SE Michigan) or (419) 627-0800 (Erie County) for more information.

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