do resolutions work

A new year has begun. Many folks make resolutions each New Year’s Eve. Lose Weight. Spend more time with the family. Read more. Eat less. It seems like the perfect plan – a new you in the new year and all that, but do resolutions work?

Like so many questions, the answer seems to be, “it depends,” but many times, they won’t work. Resolutions don’t work for me; I know that. I take them too seriously. The first time I “screw up,” I spiral into guilt and shame. That’s not a healthy way to get anything done. I know I’m not the only one. I see guilty posts on Facebook about missing a trip to the gym or eating a doughnut. Why do we do that to ourselves? Isn’t life hard enough without the extra pressure? Especially when the pressure is coming from an internal source. You’re literally the only one watching, so why beat yourself up if things don’t go exactly as you envisioned?

Since resolutions and I don’t get along, I prefer to set a few goals. Some long term and some short, to keep me focused and moving forward. This year, I’m still working on some longer term goals (eliminating all debt, doing some home renovations, etc) so I set several short term goals for the month of January.

January Goals

First, I’m going to attempt a no-spend January. My goal is to avoid spending money on any unplanned items or events. Obviously, I will still pay my bills and feed my family, but I will not be buying anything extra, for myself especially. With kids, unexpected expenses pop up. Anything from doctor visits to newly required school supplies are fair game and those are excluded from my moratorium.

Next, I aim to earn an extra $200 apart from my regular job. As, I mentioned earlier, we are working to pay off all our debt. We have very little in the way of credit card debt, but we aim to have student loans, our mortgage, and our car paid off in the next few years. The more extra money we can earn, the faster all of that happens. So, this year, I’m setting concrete goals for my extra cash.

My third goal is to move more. I need to lose weight and improve my physical condition. With a history of pre-eclampsia and a family history of high cholesterol, it’s important that I “get in shape” for my health and the health of my family. I lost a significant amount of weight a couple of years ago, but have gained a bit of it back. I lost it on a pretty restrictive diet and I’m bad with those. Rather than go that route this time, I’m going to start exercising four times a week. There will be no gym memberships or workout DVDs and subscriptions. None of those fit with the simple, frugal lifestyle I’m working for and, so often, that money is simply being thrown away when a membership/subscription isn’t used often enough. I will be concentrating on lunchtime walks, among other things.

Lastly, I want to be sure I’m still having fun and doing things I enjoy. So, I plan on posting at least three times over at Cooking the Book.

I’ll be updating my progress occasionally and I can’t wait to see how things go. Did you make any resolutions or set any goals? Tell us all about it over on Facebook!