Why I’m Starting on my 2017 Resolutions Now

January 1 may be the day that everyone publicly declares their goals for the new year...but here's a unique perspective on why it pays to start your resolutions before Thanksgiving even arrives!

I love New Year’s Eve – I’m all about fresh starts, bright futures, and the excitement of making plans. I know a lot of people, though, that arrive at New Year’s Eve full of regrets, guilty for the way things have gone this past year, and with little hope that things can really change.

Chances are, you can relate—we’ve all had that aspiration that fell flat in a few weeks; it can tempt us to give up.

I sometimes feel like that with weight loss. Before starting DietBet, my temptation was always to give up my attempts to live healthily whenever I found myself failing. DietBet turned me on to the idea of renewed hope after each failure, like when I lost my second and third DietBets but got back on the wagon afterwards. I realized that most setbacks are temporary, and that by anticipating what might come next, I can prepare.

For this reason, I’m taking a new approach – with quite a few weeks left in the year, and a few big holidays to celebrate with family and friends, I’m getting an early start on my goals for 2017. I’m planning what kind of workouts I want to do so that I can meet my goal of running a half-marathon in May. I’m planning how to eat more healthy foods in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas so I can savor the flavors of these special meals with my family. I’m planning to try a Maintainer challenge once I hit my target weight, so that I can continue to set goals for good choices in my health.

By starting to think about these things now, I’m hoping that my holiday season will be more joyful and less stressful. Thinking ahead is one way that I can make the hard decisions of today – to work out even when tired, eat my greens, say no to the second cookie, stand up for part of my work day – seem like they are building toward something.

Having a clear vision of where I want to go in 2017 will also help me stay on track through the special-yet-challenging holidays. I was taught to treasure the “splurge” of the holiday season when I was a kid, but if I’m honest with myself, I treat a lot of days and events as excuses to splurge. I think that planning ahead like this, knowing who I want to be in 2017, makes me more likely to behave well throughout the long holiday season. I hope it will also make my splurges less extreme, and tempered by healthier holiday indulgences – there’s something joyful in getting the family together to play soccer after Thanksgiving Day, and there are plenty of treats on the dinner table that can fill my stomach comfortably without putting pounds back on. 

I’m no longer afraid to plan the future for fear of failure, and I know that planning that future makes me a better decision-maker. Thinking about 2017 now, and knowing where I want to head in the new year, is helping me make better choices today.

Make it WayBetter

Where do you want to go and who do you want to be in 2017? Write down a few “draft” resolutions now, which you can obviously change, since it’s still 2016. Allow the next few weeks to help you prepare for the coming year.