How to: Never move past ‘for beginners’

Five Ways to Blow Your New Year’s Resolution

Often, we associate New Year’s resolutions with drastic health or lifestyle changes that we feel determined to stick to in January – but weeks or months later, we burn out. Why? Because we try to bite off more than we can chew.

This week, we’ll share five common mistakes that lead to resolution burnout, and provide you with realistic tips that encourage long-term success.

Think back on the holiday parties you attended over the past few weeks. What did you talk about?

Work? Obviously.

Kids? Definitely.

Pirate Football? What a comeback, so close.

What if you had a new topic to bring to the table? Broadening your interests and knowledge base is a great way to increase motivation, happiness and overall well-being.

So this year, you might consider adding the pursuit of a new hobby, skill or project to the top of your 2013 New Year’s resolution list.

It might look something like this:

  • Your goal: Actually create some of the Do-It-Yourself craft ideas you see on Pinterest or HGTV. Your plan: Making my own coffee table from scrap wood and glue can’t be all that hard, right?
  • Your goal: Master playing the guitar. Your plan: Tutorial DVDs will definitely make me the next Eric Clapton. I only need to devote 15 hours a week to practicing, they say. Totally doable!

Fast-forward to March: You’re on your fifth, failed DIY picture frame project, and after one too many failed attempts at “Layla”, you’re a far cry from Eric Clapton.

The high expectations you’ve set for yourself have taken all the fun out of what used to be your free time, and your big ideas go back on the shelf. Another New Year’s resolution bites the dust.

How to: Find a new niche that complements – but won’t demand – your free time

Be realistic

Rather than implementing deadlines and regimented schedules to achieve goals, set realistic expectations that factor in your free time and existing commitments first. This will take the pressure off – and leave the fun in – as you gradually chart your progress.

Flex Your Creative Muscle

Consider an arts-based hobby vocational therapy. Enrolling in an art class or signing up for music lessons can relax and inspire you, while also helping to utilize those parts of your brain that don’t get used from 9-5.

Remember: Life is stressful enough. Don’t allow a new hobby to turn into another obligation. The whole point is to break away from your routine and improve your mental state. So have fun, and enjoy the benefits. If nothing else, your guitar-fail stories will make you a hit at parties.