It’s the beginning of another year. A time when people are racked with guilt for expanded waistlines and contracted bank accounts. A time when gyms are packed (at least for a month or so), people are a bit nicer and everyone has committed to being a better, smarter version of themselves. This is the year, we all think.
Except usually it isn’t. And the reason resolutions rarely last is because they’re not SMART. They’re not specific, measurable, achievable, realistic or time-framed. How many times have you said you’re going to “give up drinking” after New Year’s Eve shenanigans until the following weekend when you’re hunkered down with another hangover? How often have you committed to losing weight and eating healthier until you’re faced with a BBQ Bacon Burger on a bacon bun with bacon aioli? (I regret nothing.)
So let’s try something new this year. Let’s not make grand gestures or ambitious promises only to circle back to a disappointing, soul-consuming zero. Let’s make some SMART goals. In fact, no matter your vice or your kryptonite, I’ve put together a few resolutions that are so SMART, you’ll feel better about yourself in no time.
- Cancel your gym membership. You got that right. You live in sunny Southern California where the skies are blue, the air is crisp and the sun warms your face in a solid 60-degree kind of day. Why drive your car just to run in place on an energy-eating machine when there’s beautiful Mother Nature? Commit to going on that hike or jogging through your local park three to four times a week. Not only is being in nature great for your body and your mind, it’ll do wonders for your community.
- Dust your bicycle off. Bike to work if you can. Bike to your friend’s house if you’re willing. Heck, just get on your bike and go. Run your errands. Do some grocery shopping. Resolve to bike around town once a week. People often say how wonderful it is to really discover (or rediscover) their neighborhood. Plus, I can’t emphasize enough how relaxing bicycling can be with the wind in your face and a BBQ Bacon Burger in your basket.
- Leave your car where it wants to be: Right in the comfy vicinity of your home. I know it’s tough to ditch your car when your schedule is crazy, your commute is crazy and your kids are crazy. But what about your girls’ night out? Or that date with your SO (or ISO)? Aren’t you tired of paying $20 for parking every time you want to go out in LA? Aren’t you tired of burdening someone or yourself with being the designated driver every time you want to grab a few cocktails with your girls? Try public transportation instead—at least three times a month. Downtown LA is a train ride away, and the bus will get you anywhere.
- Let someone else drive for a change. Ever heard of carpooling or vanpooling? It’s pretty awesome. I vanpool every day. I don’t have to sit in traffic. I sleep. I don’t have to pay for parking. I get dropped off and picked up. Think of all the time and money you’ll save, in addition to your sanity! Find a carpool buddy to ride with six to seven times a month or join a vanpool to nap on the road every day.
- Your shoes were made for walking. You’ll be amazed at what it can do for your mental and physical health. Aren’t you tired of sitting at your desk all day? Take a break, step outside and clear your head while burning calories. And if you’re like me, your back hates you for sitting/slouching over the computer 40 hours a week. The only thing keeping me from looking like Gollum in ten years is getting up occasionally to stretch and stroll. Track your walks on your smartphone via apps like MapMyWalk, Strava or Nike+. Strive for at least 8,000 steps a day.