Never have I seen as many people at my gym as in the first week of this new year. Well, maybe I saw just as many people in the first week of last year. The gym was covered with people wanting to loose some Christmas cookies and the (almost) famous Dutch New Years Eve snack “oil balls”. But not even 3 weeks later and the gym is back to it’s usually medium busy self with only the regulars from December being there and doing their thing. Where are those people from the first week now and what are they doing? What’s the use of setting good intentions for a new year, we ask. And we have a much better idea. You can also take these (Christmas) steps 😉
Anneloes: every time a new year starts, people start talking about their good intentions. They say they will stop smoking or drinking. People decide the new year is a great time to start losing weight and eat less. Or they want to try to go to the gym more often. Not because they really love to go to the gym, but they think they have to lose weight or get slimmer for example. Good intentions mostly are about things you don’t want to do and are not really fun. Or they are about quitting things you love doing. What’s the fun in that, right?! To me it just doesn’t feel right. A month or 2 ago Janet decided to cut down her expenses. And guess what, she found a way to succeed! I’ve been meaning to spend less money too, but just haven’t yet. Maybe Janet can teach me ;-). However, maybe my focus should be on all the fun and great things I can do after spending less money on my groceries for example.
Janet: hahaha, I find that very funny: learning from what I do… I need to clean up my “mess” after I spent too much money on travel in 2017. I took a lot of trips, and I know why. Travelling did not go as I wanted in 2016 due to health problems. I could make up for that last year as my health had improved a lot. We did mostly short trips in 2017, but short trips tend to be more expensive than long ones as we spent more time in cities and eat out more often. So my goal is – not a good intention but an actual goal – to think before I spend and spend less on things I don’t need or are too expensive. Instead of lots of short trips this year I prefer at least one longer trip (meaning about 10 days, in the country – an actual Summer holiday). I’ve also cut down on my grocery money dramatically. I love good food but 70 euros for one person per week I think is just a bit too much. I am aiming for around 40 euros per week. I see it as a challenge 😉
Anneloes: waiting for a new year to start a change just doesn’t work for me. Starting right away, sometimes with some smaller steps before getting to the big goal. A goal sounds more positive to me, then having to quit something. A goal makes me think about my wishes. At some point in 2016 it became more important for me to strengthen my body and get in shape. So I started going to the gym more often, but only doing the excercises I really liked doing. And, trying something new: boxing. Guess what, I love boxing, what a surprise! The past year I’ve been working to get a little bit more in shape and feel stronger by doing things I love.
Janet: it’s also wishes that I’d like to turn into desired sustainable behaviour. A couple of months ago I thought it was time for more self love, self care and everything Brené Brown writes about: vulnerability and the courage of imperfection. When I read about a self care journal at ‘Ik ben Iris niet’-blog, I started this project right away. Why wait any longer? I have also been doing yoga for (20+) years and almost always at home. Because I have low energy levels and easily get painful joints it’s rather difficult for me to join a group. I did find a group that was a lot slower, but after 3 weeks I found it way too slow for me. Now I try to be even more consistent at home and I built up to trying lessons again as soon as I feel ready. I’m thinking about yin yoga this time as it seems to work for my energy levels. I love that I already started and it does not really matter which date I chose to take lessons.
Anneloes: waiting for a new year to start a change, means postponing. And we all know the saying: “Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow never comes”. And for me waiting makes it more difficult to start something new. Waiting gives me too much time to think about all the bad things or my fears or doubts. For me change is all about integrating something new into my life and after some time finding out that new thing has become ‘my new normal’. So no good intentions for me, just starting right away! And mostly fun things, life is already to often about obligations and the things we have to do.
What do you think about this? Did you set any good intentions? Are you still keeping them? Or do you just like us like to choose things you can start right away?