Celebrations, Not Resolutions
Let’s Get Off the Punishment Train
Someone once said that ‘exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate. This is good advice — and it applies to more than exercise. For one thing, you’re more likely to make room for a party than for a punishment session. For another, adding in consistent (healthy) celebrations can give you the mental fortitude to make positive changes.
I’ve found this to be the case in my life. I love running. I don’t like strength training. Since I wish to get faster at running, I strength train a few times a week. I enjoy getting stronger — but I still wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love running. Running has, in fact, opened up a whole constellation of positive habits. When I run regularly, I eat better, because good fuel leads to happy workouts. I drink less alcohol because running the day after a few drinks is no fun. I also tend to sleep better, because a two hour run is exhausting. In a fun way.
Most of my good habits, in fact, grew out of fun. This is why I don’t really ‘do’ traditional New Year’s resolutions unless I can game the system. (Gaming the system is fun.) As an example, in 2015 I resolved to run a race, and I signed up for a 5k that took place on January 1. It was called, appropriately enough, the Resolution Run. And I completed it.
Instead of a resolution, each year I commit to something positive and hedonistic. Last year I committed to eating better cookies. I also decided to sign up for a 2 week daily making jump start. Both of these were super fun. I can now whip up killer peanut butter cookies in less than 15 minutes. This is a life skill as far as I’m concerned. The daily making challenge rebooted my appreciation of my own creativity.
This was the year I published my book, started a blog, and began posting how-to articles. Am I giving all the credit for these accomplishments to cookies, running, and a daily making practice? No. But my new go-to activities made me happy, and that helped me power through the tough bits.
Maybe a positive, hedonistic goal will help you, too. I encourage you to add a little intentional joy to your life. You may be amazed at what happens when you do.