Another, Better Way to Think of Resolutions

Did you guys make New Year’s Resolutions this year? I opted out, and it felt weirdly refreshing. Since the internet has turned into one giant conglomerate of self-help advice on how to be better; how to sleep better, eat better, work out better, be in a relationship better — and since my job involves perusing the internet for hours — I felt like my work was already cut out for me.

Still, I really liked Man Repeller’s idea to create “goldfish” resolutions in this recent article:

We’re goldfish because when kept in little bowls, we stay the same length and shape and color. But as the bowls get larger, we get bigger. Stronger and longer and more golden. So if a resolution is indeed ‘room for improvement,’ that room is just another square inch we’re given to stretch.”

Instead of saying, “I want to lose 3 pounds,” it’s “I want to try a new workout class that sounds fun and kind of scary where I get to yell a lot and finally use my new cool ass sneakers that I bought last year when I said I was going to lose 3 pounds.”

I love this approach because it eliminates that inevitable feeling of failure. On the days when you decide to watch Netflix instead of go to the gym, you’re not failing your New Year’s resolutions, you’re simply not expanding your fish bowl.

What are your goldfish resolutions? Here are a few of mine…Even though they’re pretty standard as far as resolutions go, it feels so much better to think of them as simply things I want to work towards, versus change.

–Getting off the couch to try a new restaurant, a hot yoga class, a pottery throwing class, or anything I’ve been meaning to try for the past 5,000 years.
–Scheduling in ten minutes every day to turn off my phone, close my laptop, and do whatever I feel like doing in that moment (that includes staring at a wall).
–And the big one for me: finding a form of exercise that I truly enjoy and look forward to doing.

Hope you are all off to a great 2016. XO

3 thoughts on “Another, Better Way to Think of Resolutions

  1. Love this concept! I haven’t been stringent with resolutions for a few years now… the concept of the calendar turning over feels artificial, and I’ve had enough moves/job transitions recently to keep me supplied with fresh starts (but for those more settled, I can see the appeal of a recurring January time to assess).

    The workout I’ve found that I (almost kind of) look forward to is the youtube channel Yoga with Adriene, if you haven’t yet heard of it or tried it out!

  2. This all comes down to something Gretchen Rubin talked a lot about in one of her most recent podcast episodes: we can’t set goals based on results, but we can set goals based on actions. You can vow to get some form of exercise every day – this is something you can control, and this may lead to your losing three pounds. But you can’t just set the goal of the end result because there are so many other things that feed (huh, literally) into that.

    Super interesting to listen to really similar pieces on Man Repeller and Happier (Gretchen’s podcast) – overlapping themes and conclusions, but generally a pretty different audience!

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