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How to Make Lifestyle Changes Instead of New Year's Resolutions

October is almost over and, alongside the festive cheer that the holiday season brings, also comes the anticipation of the new year.


Are you ready for the year to be over? Or are you scrambling to finish the last of your January 2021 resolutions, wondering where the time went? No matter which type of person you are, the final two months of 2021 can go a long way in determining what your 2022 will look like.

There's so much you can do in the next 2 months to get your life together. So when the new year arrives, rather than playing catch up, you can focus on growing.

But where do you start? After two unpredictable years, post-vaccination life is still shapeshifting before our very eyes with changing restrictions and new cultural norms. Post-vaccine life finds us riddled with questions about how our old habits fit into our pandemic-altered values, perspectives, and lives.

Which is to say, are new year's resolutions even relevant any more? Maybe. But perhaps in a different way. While big-picture goals may always be a part of life, most of our 2020 and 2021 goals have been derailed. With this in mind, constant readjusting and reevaluating makes more sense than committing too vague - yet massive - promises on January 1st.

So instead of waiting for the new year to be a better version of ourselves, I'm using the anticipation of 2022 as fuel to get started on my goals now.

Like most of us, my traditional resolutions were "get healthier," and "exercise more." And, apart from Googling "how to meal prep," and signing up to gym memberships I never used, not much amounted from those so-called resolutions.

As the new year comes at us, I'm considering how to actually implement lifestyle changes that help me show up daily as the person I truly want to be. So, instead of waiting for a semi-arbitrary date, I'm focusing on making the most of now.

I'm freeing up time to focus on myself and investing in my health with a subscription to Freshly.

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Step 1: Look at Your Life as it is Now

Okay, let's be honest: sometimes life gets away from us. The things you start doing, or skipping out on, for momentary convenience can become habits. And those habits become your life. Soon you're no longer "skipping a workout," you haven't been to the gym in months, and you're ordering takeout more days than you're not.

This doesn't mean you're a bad person. It's merely time to take a cold, hard look at what your life is actually like, not what you imagine it's like.

One way to do that is a daily tracker. Write down everything you do for a week or two - be brutally honest. For most of us, our routines have become so ingrained we've developed automatic behaviors that we don't even realize.

Did you consciously decide to drink that midday iced coffee? Or did you pick it up because you were bored? Did you mean to spend an hour in a TikTok hole? Or did you pick up your phone as a reflex? Writing down everything you do can help you face the truth about how you're spending your time.

For me, I started with a journal prompt where I recorded what my days were like, then what I wanted them to be like, and then I took actionable steps towards bridging the gap.

Step 2: Rework Your Routine

Now that you know how you're spending your time and money, you can triage: keep the habits that work, toss the duds, and add in some new ones.

Reworking your routine doesn't have to mean overhauling your life or burning the candle at both ends. Often, it's a matter of mindfulness, finding the pockets of empty time in your schedule and conscientiously filling those pockets with meaningful actions.

The saying "visualize the person you want to be and then show up as them" is ubiquitous on social media for good reason. If you want to be a healthier person, do what a healthier person does. But how?

First, focus on the visualizing aspect. Be specific. What are the habits of the person you want to be? What does that person feel like, act like, look like? How do they spend their days? Once you have a detailed picture, that's your guideline to becoming that person.

Sure, if your fantasy future self goes on 15 mile runs every day, you don't have to dive right into your Nike kicks. But every little movement towards habits is better than nothing. For my goals, I spent hours researching beginner-friendly fitness classes and nutritional information that I could slowly implement in my life.

Step 3: Invest in Yourself

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After identifying all the little lifestyle changes I needed to get closer to my ideal self, it was time to actually make those adjustments.

I started small, using what I'd learned about myself to make informed decisions about my lifestyle. In my time audits and daily journal entries, I realized I don't cook often enough — my DoorDash bill agreed.

When I asked myself why, I had the revelation that I hated cooking — or at least how I was doing it. When I first started cooking for myself, each day was a new adventure. The world was my oyster! I luxuriated in my bounty of options. But soon the magic dissipated. Frankly, I got lazy, then I got bored.

After cooking the same meals for days in a row, then resorting to frozen food, my kitchen lost its luster and I was suddenly ordering takeout to avoid the wilted greens in my fridge. My schedule no longer allowed for the time and effort I used to devote to cooking. Once I admitted this to myself, I shifted my expectations and asked: what do I have the time — and money — for?

My solution is the perfect blend of home-cooking and takeout: Freshly. I started subscribing to one of their affordable plans that feature delicious, chef-designed meals. I simply decide what I want for dinner over the week, and click-click-click it arrives at my door. It literally takes minutes. This investment in myself ensures that I not only save on constant delivery fees, but I'm eating healthy for the first time in my life! Freshly also makes sure I always have healthy meals that taste soooo good and will get me closer to my goals.

Step 4: Remember it's a marathon, not a sprint

The reason most resolutions aren't sustainable is that they set expectations for unrealistic, momentous change. You feel pressure to attack every aspect of your life at once. Instead, checking in on your life periodically and adjusting it to your goals takes you further with far less pressure.

Aim for slow progress and set yourself up for success. Sustain an interesting enough routine so that you want to stick to it.

With Freshly, I can switch up my meals and customize them week over week so I never get bored. With such a bounty of restaurant-quality meals coming to my door, I don't even need to order takeout or eat at restaurants half as much.

Freshly is my favorite switch I've made so far. I feel and - more importantly - see positive differences in my health, happiness, and monthly budget! Who says you can't have it all?!

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