Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Years Resolution: Be Prepared

Welcome to 2014!

As we begin a new year, many people are setting resolutions. They flock to the gyms or decide to reduce their consumption of (fill in the blank). This year, my resolution is simple but also very broad - Be Prepared.

I know that radical change does not suit me very well. When trying to change habits, I have found that incremental changes are often longer lasting. It is easy to become disheartened about your resolution when you aim for a drastic change and fail to consistently change your lifestyle. After a week of extreme exercising, I have often had my one scheduled day off turn into two or three. Justified by me rationalizing that my muscles just needed a bit more time to recover. These off days often stretch into off weeks or months and, before you know it, you are no more fit than when you started and but have the additional guilt of not fulfilling your goal.

Let me be clear, I do not believe that there is anything wrong with setting resolutions but I do feel that every lifestyle change should be accompanied with a plan or method of measurement.  Be that an achievable gym schedule or a list of books that you would like to read within the next year.

For me, things where I can view my progress and adapt into step-by-step are often the most effective resolutions. For example, three years ago I decided to set a seemingly minor resolution - to stop using sugar in my tea. I am a regular tea drinker and often have two or three cups during the course of an evening if I am working/studying. On an average week, I estimate that I have approximately 8 cups of tea. If I add a spoonful of sugar (approx. 1 Tbs.) to each cup, that means that I was consuming 8 Tbs. of sugar per week. This equals out to 1 cup of sugar every two weeks and 26 cups of sugar every year. Over the course of three years, this is equivalent to approximately 42 pounds of sugar that was not consumed*. While a minor change, this resolution was a very achievable

Why "be prepared"? What do you mean? - At the end of the last semester, I had a very difficult time balancing my life. It was my first semester of graduate school and I was completely unprepared for the influx of responsibilities. Personal, social, school and work all became a bit of a mess and I didn't feel like I was doing anything to the best of my abilities. When I say that I would like to resolve to be more prepared, I mean that I would like to become more organized and proactive in regards to my schedule.

In some way, this blog will hopefully work to keep me on task. I will aim to post about different initiatives that I am taking to better prepare myself for unavoidable busy periods and will try to evaluate different techniques for anyone interested.

Happy New Year and best of luck with your resolutions!
- J


* This is assuming I maintained the same consumption habits and does not account for warmer months when I would be less inclined to drink hot beverages. It is merely meant to demonstrate how minor and acheivable changes can have large impacts over a period of time. 

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