It's only January 2, but if you're anything like me, the siren song of bourbon and Oreos has already caused the first casualty of 2017: my New Years resolutions. Much like helping a friend move (and Communism), your resolutions seemed like a good idea when you started. You were going to sober up via Drynuary, go on a detox juice cleanse, and read 50 books—at least! But when you woke up with a wicked New Year's Eve hangover yesterday (afternoon), you may have realized that your plan to live your best life was woefully misaligned with your willpower to change.
Even if your New Years resolutions fell flatter than day-old champagne in the early days of 2017, that doesn't mean you have no choice but to go back to being the same ol' garbage heap you were last year (and every year before that, if we're being honest here). Instead, live your second-best life by crushing the crap out of your Plan-B Resolutions. You know the type—those resolutions that don't sound awe-inspiring, brag-worthy, or Insta-ready. The ones that make you ask yourself if they're actually resolutions and not just commitments to living up to the standards of a regular human being. But let me tell you, these are the resolutions that stick. They're not pretty, but neither is failure.
Failed Resolution: Go to the Gym
This is the most common—and most daunting—resolution of them all. Every January, real gymgoers are inundated by people in brand-new athletic gear with the tags still on (just in case!) who clog up treadmills (usually walking with the incline ramped up to eleventy) and have no clue how to squat but do it anyway (hello, sciatica!). But if everyone who said they wanted to begin going to the gym actually did, there'd be Depression-era breadlines for the showers and you'd have to take a number just to clench a barbell.
As Kanye told us, you have to learn to crawl before you learn to ball. If you've never stepped foot in a gym, don't blow your cash on a fancy membership or a spandex-laden wardrobe. Instead, begin by walking as far as you can, as often as you can. Sure, it's not as awesome as putting on highlighter-pink running shoes and sprinting around a track, but it's a hell of a lot more achievable. Plus, studies suggest that walking may be better than running for weight loss over time, since you're capable of going longer distances without stopping. Plus, why pay money to look stupid in front of everyone at a gym when you could stick to looking stupid in public for free?
Failed Resolution: Eat Healthier
This one would be easier if crappy food didn't taste so damn delicious (and if you didn't get paid to drink beer—thanks, boss!). It's way more fun to go get a Nutella-infused, bacon-glazed, bourbon-soaked doughnut coated with Lucky Charms and amphetamines than it is to eat a boiled egg or a protein bar. I'd be lying to you if I said there was even a contest between the two options. But it's just not going to make you feel good in the long-run, as all of that sugar will make you crash faster than Ronda Rousey in a Christmastime title bout (too soon?).
But it's entirely possible to cook healthier food that doesn't suck. And with breakfast, your options are actually much broader than you might think. When it comes to staying full and not hating yourself for eating a big, doughy ball of grease, stick to lean proteins and nutrient-dense foods. That could be as simple as mixing some granola into Greek yogurt, hard-boiling a few eggs at the beginning of the week to pack in your work bag, or make overnight oats like all the cool people are doing these days (hello, fellow childrenfolk!).
Failed Resolution: Dryanuary
I'll level with you. Dryanuary's a stupid idea. Why go cold turkey on a thing you're not actually giving up for that long? That strategy might work for quitting cigarettes, but it doesn't work psychologically if you're quitting something just to hop back off the wagon in 30 days. Pledging to give up alcohol in January is a noble idea. After holiday overindulgence, a bit of austerity goes a long way. But January sucks. It's a cold, dark, shitty month where nothing awesome happens. The only fun thing going on is brunch and NFL playoffs—both of which are improved with booze.
Instead of giving up alcohol altogether in January, limit your drinking to weekends. After all, alcohol can impair the quality of your sleep, and it's easier to forgo that weeknight glass of wine than you might imagine. If you're a beer drinker, opt for other carbonated beverages, like seltzer. Or, if you're feeling curious, try kombucha on for size. This fermented tea beverage has a bit of beer's bite, a tiny bit of alcohol, and enough funk to remind you of your favorite farmhouse ale or sour. Plus, you get to pretend that kombucha is a magically healthy beverage just like everyone else does.
Failed Resolution: Perfecting Your Morning Routine
This is another white whale of resolutions—getting your morning routine down solid so you can start the day on the right foot. If you can magically wake up on time, get the coffee maker to stop overflowing, and find a way to jam some kind of passable cereal into your mouth, you might just be able to get that promotion at work, dress better, and have Sally in client services finally notice how charming you are (just kidding; she won't). So you gear up ready to go back into the office in 2017 as the model employee, as though waking up on time will make you the next Elon Musk.
But lemme break it to you—devising a whole new morning routine in a matter of a few days is too much to ask of yourself. Habits aren't forged out of sheer will, they're refined over time. Just like a river bends and moves to find the most straightforward way to the sea, you too will have to refine your routine for efficiency and comfort. A better option would be to go to bed earlier, and at a more predictable time. Even if you're not necessarily sleepy at 10:30, simply getting into the routine of going to bed at a specific time every night will help create a cascading series of positive improvements to your morning routine. Doing so will help provide you with a better night's sleep, will allow you to wake up earlier, and might give you a bit more time to get to work than the usual scramble to the office. Plus, you get to be super cool by going to bed before the news comes on which, come to think of it, might not be a bad idea this year.