“The most important decision about your goals is not what you’re willing to do to achieve them, but what you’re willing to give up.”

This time of year, it’s all about the 12 days of Christmas. Content is no different, everyone’s creating blogs around the 12 days of Christmas. I know, I’ve done it myself. Anyone remember the 12 days of Fitmas?

This year, I’m changing it up and tying it into my annual New Year’s Resolutions blog.

Instead of focusing on the 12 Days of Christmas, I’d like to shift focus to an important timeframe in the resolution-making process. Or, at least, what can be an important time: the six days between Christmas and the New Year.

Focusing New Year’s Goals
These are the last days of the year. While not enough time to make any big changes to achieve those 2019 goals set earlier in the year, there is one big mindset shift that can be made to help further new goals in 2020 and beyond.


I will never sacrifice waffles – which is why I’ll never set a goal to be a bodybuilder.

Forget the fact I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions and why they fail. Instead, I’ll embrace it – if this happens to be the time of year someone feels energized to set a goal and work to achieve it, I’m all in on that.

That’s where I’m going to focus this post and encourage resolution-ers to focus the next six days – the work to achieve a goal. But not so much what a person is willing to do, but what they’re willing NOT to do.

Tradeoffs and Sacrifice
One of the hidden sides of success isn’t the planning and hard work that goes into it. I think we’re all aware of that by now.

The piece that doesn’t get talked about enough is the reality behind the hard work. It’s often not what we do but what we don’t do that ultimately makes or breaks a goal. It’s what you’re willing to give up, sacrifice, or trade off to achieve a goal.

I’ll share an example. Every year for the past decade (with the exception of the year I gave birth), I’ve run a marathon. I believe, what everyone sees, knows, and understands about that goal is all the stuff that goes into achieving it.

Everyone knows I have a training plan. Everyone knows I go running often. Everyone knows I do yoga. Maybe even people know I strategically plan rest days.

What I believe isn’t seen, known, and understood is all the stuff I DON’T do that helps me achieve that goal. I don’t sleep past 5:30 most days. I don’t slack on weights. I don’t go out for happy hours or Friday nights. I don’t skip workouts (unless I’m very sick or there’s an emergency with my child).

In order to achieve something, tradeoffs are part of the deal.


Sleeping in – one thing I’m willing to give up, even on Saturdays.

Goal to drink more water? It’s likely that giving up some soda, coffee, or other beverage will go along with it.
Goal to work out every weekday? Either sleeping later or a free evening time will have to go.
Goal to meal prep lunch every day? You’ll have to give up restaurant lunches and the choice of what you’re going to eat that day.
Goal to save money? Perhaps you’re willing to give up that morning Starbucks, or make a larger, one-time tradeoff, like take a shorter, more modest vacation vs. a long, lavish one?

Achieve a New Year’s Resolution This Year
When setting a New Year’s Resolution this time, take more time to really think about it. Be realistic with yourself – what you’re willing to give up and what you’re not.

You have a certain number of hours every day, a set of existing habits, other daily lifestyle choices, most of which are engrained. What is realistic to change?

Having a New Year’s Resolution and all kinds of energy to achieve it today doesn’t add more hours to your day or magically break habits or lifestyle choices, so you have to figure out the tradeoffs you’re going to make so it can happen.

I wish you luck in your 2020 endeavors! Are you making a New Year’s Resolution now? What’s your goal for 2020?

The comments are your space to share thoughts so please do so. Or, connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post straight to your inbox.


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