Forget Resolutions: Make a Habit to Simplify in 2013

The following post is from Rachel of The Minimalist Mom:

swimming pool
source: BozDoz

In my late teens and 20s I was an athlete. I worked out a lot.

Eighteen workouts a week for 48-50 weeks of the year.

Most of the workouts were out on a lake rowing in a long skinny boat, but in the afternoons I would hit up the gym for weight training sessions.

I spent many years observing the annual cycle of gym goers.

December is a great time to be at the gym. It’s quiet. People are out celebrating and any thoughts of muscle burn or finally getting in shape get farther away with every indulgence in savory appetizers and late night out.

January is a terrible time to be at a gym. They’re packed. Classes are full. There are wait lists to get on treadmills.

Luckily by mid-February the New Year’s Resolution crowd has thinned out. By late spring most of them are gone.

Why do all those gym goers fail at their resolution to get in shape?

Because they made a vague resolution instead of setting a goal and creating habits to achieve the goal. They resolved to “get in shape” or maybe even “go to the gym three times a week” and eventually the snooze button won out over their will power. There was no goal like do 100 burpies without stopping or ten full push-ups or finish the endurance spin class without having to take a break, to keep them motivated and working hard.

Resolutions rarely work. Setting a goal however, one that creates a new habit in your life, does.

Resolutions vs. Habit Forming Goal

What’s the difference between a resolution and a goal? See the comparisons below.

  • Get in shape vs. Complete a couch to 5k program.
  • Eat healthier vs. Eat five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day.
  • Spend less vs. Keep casual spending like coffee or lunches out to $60 a month.
  • De-clutter your home vs. Donate, recycle or sell 2013 things in 2013.
  • Simplify your family schedule vs. Sit down to family dinner four nights a week. Anything that interferes with this – evening classes, committees – will be dropped from the schedule.
  • Save more vs. Cancel your cable package, set a weekly mileage limit for driving to save fuel, commit to selling $500 worth of things around your home that you’re no longer using or find an extra income source to make $2000 in 2013.

If you want to simplify in 2013 make a habit changing goal rather than a resolution.

Want some inspiration? These three women have been living with less for several years. Their methods and reasoning may be different but the result is the same: habits that have helped them simplify, own less and do more.

Katy Buys (Almost) Nothing New

Courtney Limits Her Wardrobe to 33 Items

Andrea Commits to a Two Month Shopping Embargo Every Year

What goals have you made for 2013 and what habits will you need to develop to achieve them?

Rachel Jonat is a world medalist rower turned marketing professional turned SAHM/writer. At The Minimalist Mom, Rachel writes about living a rich life with less stuff. Currently living on a windswept island in the middle of the Irish Sea, Rachel owns two pairs of jeans, loves taking the bus and is attempting to become a tea drinker.