30 Lies You Need to Stop Telling Yourself Every January
Resolution #1: Come clean with yourself.
There’s nothing better than a fresh start. Whether it’s a new day, a new age, or a new job, very little inspires us toward self-improvement like a clean slate. And we all know there’s no better clean slate than the start of a new year.
When January begins, it can be easy to tell yourself all the ways in which you’re going to change. Going to wake up earlier? Definitely. Going to hit the gym five times a week? Obviously. But let’s be honest: How many times have you made these resolutions before, only to fail in a month or less? Probably a lot.
If you’re ready to end the cycle of lies and disappointment, we challenge you to own up to these counterproductive fibs and make some strides toward real change. Here’s how to do it.
Everything will be different this year.
When a new year begins, some things will change, some will evolve, and, inevitably, some will stay exactly the same. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of—transformation doesn’t happen overnight. And any changes that do take place will likely be due to some sort of purposeful action on your part. You can stop lying that you’ll wake up on January 1 to a whole new set of circumstances and internal motivation.
I have to make a resolution to change my ways.
Self-improvement is a long-term commitment, and despite what you might be pushed to believe this season, it doesn’t always start with a New Year’s resolution. In fact, the one resolution you might want to make is to stop lying to yourself about the need for one. The promises and pledges we make to ourselves in January are often unrealistic, and there are certain resolutions that always fail. If you want to change your ways, you can do so at any time.
I have to make a list of goals for the year.
January can seem like the perfect time to pull out a notepad and make a list of goals for the next 12 months. However, you shouldn’t feel like this is a requirement. In the same way that you don’t need to make a New Year’s resolution, you also don’t need to make a five-year plan. That’s not to suggest that you shouldn’t be productive, just that you don’t need to feel bad if you fail to make a 12-months to-do list.
I’m going to go to the gym five days a week.
Expecting too much from yourself will lead to discouragement when you realize your goal is unattainable. For better results, give yourself some flexibility. For example, you could make it a goal to go to the gym between one and three times a week.
I’m going to cook dinner five nights a week.
Telling yourself that you’ll cook every meal is a huge commitment. Instead, start small: Buy some fresh vegetables on the weekend, print a few recipes you’d like to try, and limit the number of times you eat out a week. You’ll save both money and calories.
I’m going to become an early riser.
Many people lie to themselves that waking up earlier will make them more productive, but that’s not always the case. If you overhaul your sleep schedule completely, you risk exhaustion—which could totally kill your productivity. If there’s no real reason you need to wake up earlier, you’re probably better off ditching this lie—and staying in bed.
I’m not going to buy clothes I don’t need.
Making goals to save money is always a great idea, but if you lie to yourself and say you’re only going to buy the necessities, your plan to save isn’t going to work. Allow yourself to splurge on a few fun pieces of clothing so you’re reminded how good it feels to have extra cash saved up to spend.
I’m never drinking again.
We’ve all been there: You wake up on New Year’s Day with a wicked hangover and swear you’re never going to drink again. It’s an admirable goal, but you’re probably going to fail yourself the very next weekend. Instead, decide to drink in moderation. And then, decide what moderation means to you. Specificity is key here.
I’m deleting my social media apps.
Social media haunts us all, but that doesn’t mean you need to get off the web entirely. Instead, try deleting your most attention-zapping apps during the week and re-downloading them on Friday night. The weekend will feel like a reward—and who knows, maybe you’ll realize you’re happier without them.
I’m not watching Netflix anymore.
If you’ve ever binge-watched an entire season of TV in one weekend, it can feel imperative to cut the site out of your life completely. But the truth is a healthy amount of television isn’t all that bad. Shows give us something to talk about with others and can even spark creativity. Instead of swearing off Netflix forever, try to limit yourself to just one or two episodes a day.
I’m not buying any junk food.
Trying to cut all unhealthy foods out of your life in one fell sweep is exhausting, and you’ll probably end up giving in because, frankly, it’s too difficult. Allowing yourself to have a cheat meal or snack once in a while will make healthy eating much easier.
I’m going to go cold turkey.
Whatever it is you’re trying to quit come January, odds are that going cold turkey won’t lead to success. While some people have definitely had luck quitting something on a whim, you’re much more likely to reach your goal by coming up with a long-term plan.
I’m going to lose 20 pounds.
We’re all looking to shed a few pounds after the holidays, but it’s much better to focus on being healthy than trying to lose weight. If you want to start taking care of yourself physically and are aiming to improve your overall health in the new year, then that’s fantastic. But don’t think for one second that you have to lose any weight. You’re amazing the way you are!
I’m going to meal prep all of my lunches this year.
Not only will meal prep save you some serious cash, but it’s also a healthier lifestyle choice. Still, it’s not always realistic. Instead, of deciding to change your ways on January 1, start small. Packing your lunch one day a week is better than none at all.
I’m going to run a marathon by the end of the year.
Deciding to run a marathon is a huge commitment. Training is time-consuming and hard on the body, and unless you’re already a fitness fanatic, it’s probably better to start with a smaller goal. Running a 5K—or even a half marathon—is a more attainable goal for a beginner. It’s also important to note that running isn’t for everyone, and that walking has many health benefits too.
I’m going to save twenty percent of my paycheck.
This may sound possible, but losing out on one-fifth of your spending money is a huge adjustment. Make your savings goal easier by reviewing where your money currently goes. It might be hard to see all those Starbucks coffees listed out on your monthly statement, but it’s a necessary evil. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll persuade you to start brewing that coffee at home.
I’m going to stop procrastinating.
If you’re the kind of person who is prone to procrastination, then it will probably take more than a new year to get you motivated enough to change your ways. Frankly, you’ll probably procrastinate when it comes to getting around to your plan to stop procrastinating, so you might as well be honest with yourself and put it off until later.
I’m going to be on time from now on.
In the same way some people tend to procrastinate, others are habitually late. There’s always a good reason—you overslept, you couldn’t find your keys, you hit every single red light, that sort of thing. But don’t lie to yourself; none of these factors will magically resolve themselves on January 1. If you want to start being prompt, you’ll have to leave earlier.
I’m going to floss every day.
You should still tell yourself this one every January, but don’t make it a lie. Make it the truth. Floss every day, dude! And while you’re at it, stop doing these 17 things that would horrify your dentist.
I’m not going to hook up with my ex.
There’s no shame in having lingering feelings about someone you once cared about (and possibly still do). But when it comes to hooking up with an ex, you definitely want to be honest with yourself about your intentions and motivations. A miscommunication or a misunderstanding could lead to a re-broken heart.
I’m going to make new friends.
Making new friends is a great goal, but it’s a stretch to tell yourself you’re going to start fresh with a whole new crew. Instead, begin by trying new things you’re interested in. You’re bound to meet some new people along the way.
I’m going to change someone.
In addition to improving yourself in the new year, you might also feel the urge to change someone else. However, January is just as good a time as any to face up to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to alter someone else’s beliefs or behaviors.
I’m going to go out more.
If you truly want to socialize more, then that’s great! But if you’re telling yourself this lie because you feel guilty about being a homebody, you should probably scrap it. There’s no reason to convince yourself to go out more than you already do.
I ‘m going to stay in more.
On the flip side, when a new year begins you might be tempted to make a pledge to stay in more. But in the same way that staying in might be the best option for some, going out might be the best option for others. If hanging out with friends is how you let loose at the end of the week, it’s probably best to keep it in your schedule.
I’m going to grow up.
It’s important to manage your responsibilities and stay on top of your obligations. But if you get an annual urge to shed your silly side and adopt a strictly adult-like manner, you need to remember that outside influences can alter our perception of what being a grown-up really is, and that changing your personality is probably not necessary. You can be responsible and silly—so forget the idea that you need to ditch your fun side in the new year.
I’m not going to get stressed out anymore.
Face it: This one’s just not gonna have. While you can take actionable steps to try and reduce stress (meditation, anyone?) you should never attempt to banish it completely. Resolving to keep calm will just add pressure and stress you out more.
I have to reach out to more people.
There are certain people in your life who probably aren’t worth the effort. Maybe that’s because they’re a bad influence or they can’t be bothered to make you a priority in their life. Whatever it is, you don’t have to reach out to them more often due to a sense of obligation. Instead of letting the new year make you feel like you should check in with your entire list of acquaintances, it might be time to consider who you should cut out. Be honest with yourself about who doesn’t need or deserve your attention.
I’ll forget about past pain.
Whether it’s an old grudge or a recent heartbreak, it’s a common desire to want to leave past pain behind at the start of a new year. And if you’ve dealt with that pain, then that’s a wonderful goal. But if your plan is to simply forget about what you’ve endured just because it’s a new month, you can expect to fail.
I’m only going to focus on the future.
Although January is the ideal time to look ahead, focusing solely on the future isn’t the greatest plan. Your past is a part of who you are now and it’s important to honor it. If you don’t, you’re bound to repeat the same mistakes.
I‘m going to be happy all of the time.
This is an impossible goal. You can’t change your psychology overnight, and expecting yourself to will only lead to failure. Instead, make an actionable plan to add more things that bring you happiness to your daily routine. Always feel refreshed when there’s a bouquet of flowers nearby? Set up a weekly delivery. Always get inspired when you hear a great speaker? Check out your local bookstore’s schedule of author events. These tiny changes will boost your happiness way more than a lofty goal ever could. And for more ways to put a pep in your step this year, learn the 23 Things To Let Go of to Be Happy in 2019.
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