Here's Why You Should Probably Start Your New Year's Resolutions, Like, Now

Old year, new you?

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby

Cheers to getting a head start on those #goals

Allow me to propose something radical: Waiting until January to start on your New Year’s resolutions is a terrible idea. And not because of that whole “January 1 is an arbitrary date, is therefore meaningless and also I refuse to bow to societal pressure to meet unrealistic standards” thing. (Which, valid).

My proposal is more rooted in the idea that, should you have a few areas of your life you’d like to inhabit more fully or invest some energy in because it matters to you (and not because society tells you to care), there’s really no time like the present…even if that present is five o’clock on December 3.

Psychologically, there’s a significant advantage to actioning an intention immediately. As psychotherapist Amy Morin writes in her 2014 book 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do, the longer you have to think about a thing the less likely it is that you’ll have a successful outcome. “Overthinking leads to analysis paralysis,” she explains. “Often we do things in the wrong order: We want to feel a sudden boost of courage before taking action. But if you want to feel brave, you have to act brave. Change your behaviour first and the emotions will follow.”

How this applies to New Year’s resolutions, of course, is that relying on a date in the calendar to give you that magic power to achieve that thing you’ve wanted to do for five years simply won’t work. In fact, given all the added pressure the New Year brings (and the fact that January has been voted The Worst Month by humans everywhere), procrastinating and delaying until January 1 is mostly setting you up to fail, not succeed.

That’s why we’ve broken down some of the most common New Year’s goals, chatted to an expert who knows how you can achieve them and, most importantly, gotten their top tips on why December really *is* the best time of year to change your life.

Resolution: Move More

The Expert: Amber Joliat, creator of Misfitstudio

Why Start Now:

“Sweat is a powerful release. The cascade of endorphins and adrenaline in the body is transformative for mood, for perspective and internal health. The aftermath of a beautiful class is a lingering serotonin calm. The more we engage in the process of connection, release and quiet, the more comfortable we become with ourselves. That comfort sustains you when life is high and low [like during the emotional rollercoaster that is the holidays].”

What to Do Now:

“When you feel good you’ll want to always feel good. Finding a movement that *moves* you is important for it to be something you want to keep doing. Experiment until you find what really speaks to you and then do it every day.”

Resolution: Break Out of a Rut

The Experts: Lietco’s Lisa Felphuck and Coleman Molnar, who ditched their 9-to-5s to travel North America in a van

Why Start Now:

“Why sit around waiting for the calendar year to change? By taking action on your New Year’s resolution to live more adventurously right now, like, the second you finish reading this, you’ll be one step closer to living the life you actually want.”

What to Do Now:

“If you’ve always dreamed of doing a great North American road trip, create a work-back schedule and map out the steps it will take to succeed, marking down attainable items that you can action on this month. [For example], when we were still living in Toronto, we upped the data plans on our phones and switched all of our services to digital, like banking with the Simplii app, so we could do it no matter where we found ourselves.”

Resolution: Be More Mindful

The Expert: Emily Thring, founder of The Quiet Company

Why Start Now:

“The holidays and year-end at work can be a really stressful time for people. If you’re looking to manage anxiety through mindfulness, starting now is a great idea. Beginning with a minute of meditation daily (whenever it works for you—when you wake up, on your commute, in the evening) will help you get centered and navigate the stress with grace.”

What to Do Now:

“A good way to become more mindful is making time for a gratitude practice. Before bed write down three to five things you are grateful for, big or small. Gratitude can make us happier by connecting with the small things in life and connecting us to positive emotions we tend to miss day to day. Want to push yourself a little more? Try attending a class or session with a teacher to experience guided meditation. It’s like going to a group exercise class—you push yourself harder and do things you wouldn’t usually do.”

Resolution: Travel More (But Still Afford Your Rent)

The expert: Steve Sintra, travel guru at Kayak

Why Start Now:

“The best time to book a flight is when you see a price that works within your budget—don’t wait! December is often one of the busiest and most expensive months to travel because of the holidays, but can be a great time to plan travel for 2019. If you don’t want to wait, consider travelling over the New Year’s holiday (instead of Christmas) when prices are slightly cheaper. Median airfare to cities including Cancun, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Fort Lauderdale and Miami are all under $500. Departing on December 30 and returning on January 1 is the sweet spot for saving.”

What to Do Now:

“Do your research, plan and be flexible. There are so many tools available to travellers to help them make informed decisions and get the best deals. Price alerts are the slow cookers of the travel world: Set it and forget it and soon enough you’ll be getting updates on what prices are looking like to your chosen destinations.”

The Resolution: Get Out Of Debt

The Expert: Shannon Lee Simmons, financial planner and author of Living Debt Free

Why Start Now:

“Getting the ball rolling is the hardest part of any financial plan. So, the earlier you start the better. If you’re feeling motivated now, take advantage of that and go with it. It will make your goals that much more attainable in 2019.”

What to Do Now:

“Don’t go into more debt. Map out what you owe and say, “OK. That’s where it ends.” Then, try to just hold steady through the holiday season. It’s a very expensive time of year for a lot of people so just trying to stay at the status quo is a noble financial goal. That way, you don’t have to dig out of even more in the new year.”


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