Today is January 31, and I thought I’d take a moment to visit New Year’s resolutions and see how they’re doing. I didn’t blog with my explicit resolutions for this year, but they are roughly these:
- stop driving to/from work and take public transport instead
- do more errands on foot or bike or public transport (again, leave the car in the driveway)
- train on the bike for an active cycling season, doing the 6-day Friends for Life Bike Rally with Samantha, Natalie and other bloggers and friends.
- get certified in scuba, going somewhere warm for open-water certification dives
- eat more healthy (to me) food, cooking more
Before I give an update on each of these, let’s take a quick look at resolutions in general. I found a handy stats website here but I’d take this information for entertainment purposes only (don’t make medical or financial decisions based on them, as they say…). Their top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2015 were these:
Of course, weight loss is at the top of the list. Our bloggers have covered this topic a lot, including this great recent guest post.
So, moving on, my next question was “what happens to resolutions in the course of the year”? The handy stats folks have some data for us below.
Their data seem rather optimistic to me. I poked around the interwebs, and found this poll from the Guardian newspaper:
And Forbes magazine is even more pessimistic—they cite data that only 8% of Americans keep their resolutions.
Of course, all this is no news really. Laying down tracks for lasting behavior change is hard. Really hard.
I’ll now turn back to my own resolutions to give y’all a one-month update.
I’m delighted to report that I have been taking public transport to work some days. This is no mean feat—I have to walk to the bus stop, take a bus for 10—12 minutes, transfer to the subway, take a 20-minute ride there, and transfer to the commuter rail, whereupon I ride/work for 45 minutes, then walk 10 minutes to my office. In comparison, it takes me an hour to drive to work, and about an hour and 15 minutes to drive home. Yuck.
I should add that this semester I am teaching half-time, so I have to be at school 2 days a week, plus one other day sometimes for meetings. It’s a real privilege to be in this position, and I’m very grateful and aware of my good fortune. Even so, it’s not been easy to institute this change. However, I’m getting used to the different cadence, and enjoying the stimulation of being out in the world, rather than encased alone in my car.
Similarly, walking or taking the bus or cycling to do errands is happening, too. Not all the time, but several times per week. Again, I’m trying to pay attention to the good feeling I have both during and after this activity. Reducing the stress of driving in traffic plus the extra everyday exercise makes me feel like I’m doing something good for myself, which in fact I am.
Now, to the bike training: it just hasn’t happened. Yet. I can give some excuses—my contractor is STILL not done with some of my home renovations, so my house is not put back together yet—but really I just haven’t made the psychic space for it. I’ve ridden some on the road and bike commuted some. But that trainer is just sitting there, waiting for me. I’ve got to make some space in my house and life for this, so this is my February resolution.
The scuba certification will happen, mainly because I’ve purchased plane tickets to Puerto Rico for spring break, with the express purpose of doing my open-water certification dives. Next week I plan to start my online course, and I hope I can get scheduled for a pool course during the month of February. Fingers crossed here…
With respect to eating, cooking and eating more healthy meals is a constant struggle for me. I’ve kept food logs off and on, and for me it really helps when I’m consistent and honest about what I am eating. So for February I want to gather more data; just the recording influences how we eat—there’s loads of evidence for this claim, including here.
So, that’s me. Did any of you make resolutions for 2016? How are you doing? What have you rejected, reframed, struggled with, or crushed with astounding success?