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Do New Year's resolutions work?
January 10th 2014
Can New Year's resolutions ever work? The GTG team puts it to the test as we set our goals and report back to let you know how we got on...
New Year, new Get the Gloss team; it's time we made some resolutions. We admit, it's taken us a week to (reluctantly) come up with these - but that's because the aim of the game was to pick realistic resolutions that we'll stick to. In fact, you'll know if we do; we'll report back in three months on how well we did and if and where it all went wrong...
To stop drinking lattes and go to bed earlier
The first is to stop drinking so many goddamn lattes. It’s getting out of hand. I like to think my diet is pretty healthy, but this is one serious downfall, and sometimes I’ll have three a day. The caffeine can’t be good for me (I know it’s not good for me in fact) nor can all that dairy (am hoping I have less breakouts). What is that thing where you know something is really bad but you just can’t stop doing it?
My other big resolution is to go to bed earlier. My husband actually has to force me to turn off my laptop and shut down my phone. I’m often just scrolling through Twitter at 11pm at night to see if I’ve missed anything that day (pathetic I know), or I’ll decide at 10.30pm I want a bath to unwind! I can lose an hour reading a magazine in the bath and before I know it it’s 12.30. Right here, right now I promise myself to be tucked up in bed at 10.30pm. You heard it here first…
How the Other Half Lives Columnist
To have more carbs, water and facials
To eat more carbs. I was just in Goa where I had to be almost vegan and it felt incredibly good; bread, chips, etc satisfy something protein can't. Also, eating throughout day - a crisp here and a crisp there. It may not work here though. I am also going to try to eat less meat. It can't be good, karmically, it just can’t.
Also to drink at least 2.5 litres of water a day. I know they say you don’t need to, but I swear, if I do this, nothing bad ever happens. It’s a bit like Prozac, or a benign antibiotic or something.
Oh god, most importantly see the facialist Alexandra Soveral not less than once fortnightly. My skin feels like sandpaper at the moment.
Not Fair Columnist
To make exercise a priority
Last year I made a resolution to ‘get in the best shape of my life.’ Well, that didn’t happen, much like it didn’t happen the year before that, nor the year before that. I’ve now realised that the reason why I never actually achieved any of my previous fitness goals was because I always prioritised other things above them. Whether it was seeing friends, washing my hair or catching up on Great British Bake Off, something always seemed to be more important. So, this year I want to shift my mindset and hopefully shift a few pounds in the process too by reprioritising my to-do list, keeping to my exercise commitments and making the time to get and stay fit.
Sense and Sensitivity Columnist
To cut down on sugar
I don't think I'll be alone in my New Year's resolution of choice but I'm definitely hoping it's a change that will stick. Hello, my name is Judy and I am addicted to sugar. I cannot get enough of the sweet stuff - I just have no sense of moderation when it comes to biscuits with my cup of tea and I frequently rely on sugar for an energy boost. But enough is enough; it's bad for my skin, bad for my health, and bad for my waistline - and given that I'm part of my best friend's wedding in April I think it's time to do something about it. However, I'm not going to the extreme - partly because I will fail, and partly because I really believe you only live once and life is far too short not to enjoy a bag of Maltesers every so often (and I really do enjoy them). It's just the 'every so often' bit that I need to master. So I'll be cutting back as much as possible and teaching myself the art of moderation - I want to get to the point where I don't crave it (which I currently do, around 3pm every day. And then again every time I have a cup of tea). I’ve been told it’s ok to have around 40g of dark chocolate a day, so my aim is to limit myself to just one sweet snack a day instead of opening the biscuit tin and mindlessly emptying it. Wish me luck…
GTG's Editorial Co-ordinator
To have one green smoothie every day
It's not lofty, it's not radical but that's precisely why it may just stick. My resolution is simply to drink at least one green smoothie every day. It may seem a meagre goal but the benefits are many and oh-so mighty. Green smoothies are packed full of nutrients, they alkalise the body, boost energy levels and mental clarity, minimise risks of illness and disease and improve everything from skin to digestion. My rationale, as I sit here sipping a medley of spinach, kale, cucumber, avocado, apple and spirulina, is that it's hugely beneficial to my health yet (surprisingly) tasty and convenient. Perhaps more importantly though, it's not about depriving myself or giving up a guilty pleasure, which is probably where I've gone wrong with every other New Year's resolution I've made since time immemorial.
To just GO TO BED at night
I’m not necessarily looking to commit to a nighttime routine of yoga or light therapy - I’m no insomniac, I’m just shockingly undisciplined when it comes to settling down and hitting the hay at a reasonable hour. For some reason 11:30pm always presents itself as the perfect time to clear out under the bed/ do the recycling/ experiment with my hair. I will vow to get an early night, but get sidelined by YouTube videos of animals and procrastinate until the need to go to bed is critical, at which point I will wiggle into my pyjamas post haste and go to sleep ‘urgently’. Clearly trying to to fall asleep so energetically rarely actually works, so I will flap around in bed for another half an hour until I actually nod off. This dead of night dance has become a regular midweek occurrence, and this year I’d really like to rein it in. I’m aiming to shut down my computer by 11pm at the very latest and hide my phone from myself to avoid temptation. I’m also planning on being less ‘wired’ pre-bedtime, perhaps by prioritising ‘wind down’ classes at the gym instead of high intensity ones after work. After collapsing from exhaustion, Arianna Huffington came to appreciate the benefits of a good night’s kip and I’m using her quote as my resolution mantra:
“You know the days when you wake up feeling really great? You can deal with anything [...] Sleep your way to the top!”
YES Arianna. My goal is seven hours a night. Every night. Watch this space.
Size 13 Columnist
To have good hair
Normally I try to make my New Year's resolutions practical and achievable: pass my driving test, earn more than last year or (the original plan for 2014) write the defining literary novel of the 21st century. But every time I sat down to write said novel, I had to go off and find a hair grip because my fringe was in my eyes. First things are first, I decided: this year, I am going to Do Something About My Hair, because it's just been too shit for too long.
Fine, straight and flat against my head, my hair has never presented the kind of immediate problem that makes people get up early to wash, blow-dry and style. On the other hand, it looks terrible. I'm just too old now to have "just stepped out of the shower" student hair. So this year, I am going to try to dry my hair into some sort of shape. Use products. Get regular trims. Maybe even highlights before my roots reach my ears. See you (or not, depending how those trims go) in three months.
The Exfoliator Columnist
To have good intentions rather than resolutions
It may sound defeatist and lazy but I don’t see the point in resolutions anymore. In fact, I’m amazed at the amount of people who continue to set them when personal experience and statistical data clearly demonstrate that they're doomed to failure. I have found that there are two main reasons for this:
Firstly, resolutions are little more than negative affirmations. In other words, a resolution is entirely focused on what's lacking rather than a person's potential. Every time a resolution is repeated, a person is reinforcing the unconscious belief that they’re fat, lazy, ugly, ungrateful etc. Frankly, it feels like a pretty punishing and self-loathing ways of bullying oneself into becoming a ‘better’ person.
Rather than resolve to do / be anything, I now set intentions (or sankalpa as they are known in the yogic traditions). An intention does not focus on the immediate ‘external’ goal (fixing an impossibly difficult relationship) so much as the larger psycho-emotional process (to be more mindful of how I relate to others etc). Perhaps more importantly, intentions are more forgiving than resolutions. They stop you from beating up on yourself and, ultimately, giving up on your goals by February.
The second reason I gave up on resolutions was because most of mine were ridiculous. There’s nothing wrong with ‘dreaming big’ but my former resolutions were kind of outlandish and, if I wasn’t in a new job / whizzing around London in a DB7 by the end of the year, I felt like I’d failed. I see this same kind of crazy goal setting in women that intend to drop 6 stone in a month (when, clearly, making the time for exercise each day seems like a more manageable approach).
These days, rather than focus on some fantastical end goal, I abide by the words of the inspirational speaker and business teacher, Keith Cunningham: “ordinary things done consistently produce extraordinary results.”As such, this is what I'll be focusing on for 2014:
- To be more mindful of my tendency to react in difficult relationships (!)
- To nurture more confidence in my ability to teach others about the body-mind.
- To be more authentic and visible at the same time.
- To be more spontaneous. Saying 'yes' to every invitation and opportunity that comes my way in 2014.
- To care less about what other people think and trust my intuition.
- To be more present in those moments in between appointments, work, socialising! That's kind of an ongoing one...
Glossip Girl Columnist
To be more organised
I have to hit the ground running this year as the first couple of months are hectic. I'm working on several big projects, submitting my first tax return and moving house so the resolution was obvious: be more organised.
Easier said than done though... The number of to-do lists I've started and never completed is embarrassing and the amount of tasks I have to 'roll over' to the next day because time runs away with me is just plain frustrating.
My resolution is to write my list and then allocate 15-20 minutes solely to each task. The intention isn't necessarily to complete it, but to make that all important 'dent' that'll turn the to-do list from intimidating to manageable.
I've been using it every day and it's incredible how quickly I'm torching through things. Paperwork I've been putting off - nailed it. The distance learning personal training course I signed up for a year ago - started. Building all the packing boxes that have been propped up in the hallway - done in under 15 minutes. I just set the timer on my phone and get to the job at hand and it's a focused effort to get the job done by the time the alarm goes off.
It's such a small change really, but already I'm being more productive. Let see if it stays that way...
What are your New Year's resolutions? Let us know in the comments and keep us posted on how you do - we'll be tweeting our progress @GettheGloss...