What The “Extreme” New Year’s Resolutions Can Teach Us:
This is the time of year of sweeping declarations.
“I’m going to lose 50 pounds. Read 30 books per year. Workout every day. Wake up at 4 AM. Only eat keto. Climb Mount Everest!
Each one of these is a gargantuan undertaking. But when we boil down these extreme declarations, one common theme floats to the surface:
something in our behavior needs to change.
Many weight loss resolutions boil down to cutting out certain food groups, reducing portion sizes, or following ridiculous rules. These swift changes to our eating can be very difficult to maintain. Not to dissuade anyone from trying to lose weight! Keep reading!
Extreme productivity resolutions call us to wake up at 4 AM. The extra time is to be filled with work on ourselves, education, working on side jobs, writing our memoirs… just kidding about the last one. But what if we are already only getting 5-6 hours of sleep per night?
How do these things apply to everyone who isn’t a young, single individual with all the time in the world to make an extreme change in their life?
Consistency over time = results!
One small habit practiced consistently over time will yield much greater results than the extreme changes. Remember the fable of the “Tortoise and The Hare?” The hare in our example is the extreme lifestyle change, fast and undisciplined. Now picture the tortoise: small, slow, and consistent. We know the tortoise beat the hare because he was consistently moving forward even though his movements were very small. The hare, on the other hand, took too many extreme risks by taking breaks and naps along the way.
Consistency, as demonstrated by the tortoise, is the better path for us to change our habits. He took small steps forward at a time leading to his consistent advancement.
What are some practical ways to implement these small changes?
Extreme Example #1: Wake up at 4 AM.
Small habit change: Wake up consistently 15-60 minutes earlier every day. Slowly wake up earlier until you have enough time to complete what you want to in the mornings. This time can be used for gratitude, learning, workout, mobility work, side hustle work, get crap done, etc.
Extreme Example #2: I’m only eating keto!
Small habit change: Incorporate a little more protein and vegetables in with most meals.
Extreme Example #3: I’m going to read 30 books per year.
Small habit change: Try what works best for you. Read 1-5 pages per day, read for a set time of 5-10 minutes per day, place easy to read books around your home and work environment that are easy to pick up and read.
Extreme Example #4: I’m going to lose 50 pounds!
Small habit change: Losing a large amount of weight all at once and keeping it off is difficult and many times not realistic. However, losing 50 pounds is possible! It is much more sustainable if weight is lost slowly and consistently over months… not one month.
Perfection on any task or goal is nearly impossible! Mistakes and setbacks happen, and they should be expected. So remember, if we miss the mark on one, two or even 12 days, we can pick up where we left off and don’t have to throw out all of our hard work!
Give ourselves grace. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and our habits won’t be either.
Don’t let the extremes get you down or make you think you aren’t working just as hard!
Consistency over time = results.
For further reading on this topic, we highly recommend reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits.