As December indulgences lead into January promises to yourself, here are the most popular New Year’s Resolutions and how to finally stick with them this year.
By Mike Fleming
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, we’ve all been there. And back.
Goliath gathered its gays to determine the most common New Year’s Resolutions, as well as the corresponding pitfalls that lead so many guys to break our January promises to ourselves as early as February.
To break the chain of breaking our resolutions once and for all, we went about finding easy ways to keep one foot in front of the other as the going gets tough. Then we uncovered some reliable resources to help you stay on track as the year progresses.
As you look toward your own 2017 and all its possibilities, take a few tips from our journey of discovery.
Stick To It: Whether you’re pledging to hit the gym more, join a gay sports team, or add a spin class, break your goals down into weekly, even daily, steps that are manageable, and reward yourself for each one.
Beat Temptation: Schedule your fitness time the way you do work meetings and meals. Rather than trying to fit it into your day on the fly, decide when works best in advance, prioritize it, and block off the time.
Resources: Expertise goes a long way. Consult the professionals with our preferred gyms and trainers at Gravitee Fitness (graviteeatl.com); Renkema Fitness (renkemafitness.com); and Urban Body Fitness (urbanbodyfitness.com).
Versed in Vice
Hang in There: If you are trying to cut down or quit addictive behaviors like smoking and drinking, stop binge shopping, or lose weight on a diet, consider a system of accountability, including groups or professional counseling.
Beat Temptation: Environment is the most likely distractor when forming new habits, not willpower or self-control. Deliberately change your situation to avoid temptations, and don’t “white knuckle” through them.
Actively re-channel your thoughts. Think not about how it would feel to take a drink, but about how you acted the last time you drank. Think about what an extravagance those shoes are instead of how pretty they are.
Resources: Call the Centers for Disease Control’s LGBT Smoking Quitline at 800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669), and consult the gay-specific Health & Human Services program at thisfreelife.betobaccofree.hhs.gov.
Gay men can find other counseling and caregiver resources like Atlanta’s Brett Rozen (brettrozentherapy.com); statewide gay advocacy group The Health Initiative (thehealthinitiative.org); and for HIV-positive patients, Positive Impact (positiveimpacthealthcenters.org).
Find gay substance abuse meetings in Midtown including AA, NA, CMA and ACA at galano.org.
Get Up, Get Out: Committing to “travel more” doesn’t get you to the airport. Set aside time to plan your trips for the year, including setting dates, determining costs and logging savings deposits to get there.
Making it Happen: Excuses are going to crop up. You’re busy. Things at work are crazy. Finances are tight. Those things will always be true. Force yourself into it if you have to: Make reservations, even put down deposits and buy flights way in advance so that you can’t back out. When the time comes and you’re setting sail or lifting off, you’ll be glad you did.
Resources: Start your gay and gay-friendly vacations just clicks away. For cruises, consult Atlantis Events (atlantisevents.com) and RSVP Vacations (rsvpvacations.com) with Atlanta-based agents, or try the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association for destination-specific travel agents (iglta.org).
Become Solvent: The pledge to save more and pay off recurring debts is the second most common New Year’s Resolution after fitness and dieting. Makes sense, but it makes longterm stability sense too. Commit to small steps instead of fat stacks.
Doable Goals. Make specific budget-friendly rules rather than overarching commitments. Eat one dinner out a week, take a sack lunch to work most days.
Shop around for the best price on everything from cars to underwear to insurance, and actively bargain for lower interest on credit cards or switch to one with lower rates.
Have a percentage automatically taken out of your check and put into savings. Can you spare an extra $50 or even $20 a month toward savings, mortgage or other loans? They add up.
Resources: Financial planners are all over the internet with advice, from Atlanta’s favorite son Clark Howard, to gay and gay-friendly accounting firms that will help you manage your money, like the Robby Group (therobbygroup.com).
You & Improved: New Year promises to “be less stressed” or “learn something new” are understandable, even admirable. The problem is they are too amorphous to do you much good. Set goals you can visualize to attain the so-called “new you.”
Be Specific: If you’re looking to reduce stress, take up a hobby that requires creativity and contemplation and takes you out of your normal headspace. Find classes or online instructions on video. Commit to meditation, and seek out training or advice on how to do it best.
Want to learn a language? Which one? Which method will work best for you? Buying Rosetta Stone? Taking a class? Find it and do it. Schedule the time each day or week and prioritize it for yourself.
Want to spend more time with your boyfriend or partner, or your family? That’s nice. When? Will it be a monthly gathering? Will it be dinner? Game night? How will it look, and what needs to be done to make it happen?
Volunteer work strike your fancy? For whom? Call them. Today.