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What’s Wrong With Your New Year’s Resolution

What’s Wrong With Your New Year’s Resolution

Hitting the gym is by far the most popular New Year’s resolution out there. Everybody wants to get fit, and we all want to make sure that our friends know about our goals. That is, until gym visits become less and less frequent, and that New Year’s resolution turns into a New Year’s flop.

Instead of setting a vague, boring resolution about going to the gym more often, why not set a specific goal? Aim to do something that is either gonna happen or not happen, with no half-hearted middle ground. Here’s everything you need to know about setting a clear, achievable New Year’s resolution, and going through with it all the way.

Be Specific

Here’s a bad New Year’s resolution: I’m going to be better about my health. It’s bad for a few reasons, but it’s worst offense is vagueness. Vague resolutions have no clear terms or ending conditions. Going through with them isn’t very satisfying because you can never quite tell when you’re finished, and when you’ve achieved your goals.

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Unclear goals aren’t as good for you either. In the example above, doing better about your health could mean any number of things, and none of them are necessarily big changes. It could just mean that I’ll eat less candy which, while good for me, isn’t that big of a change in my lifestyle. I could do a lot better just by aiming to achieve a more specific goal, like finishing a triathlon by the end of the year.

Find a resolution that interests you and has a clear finish. Something like I’m going to finish an Ironman race this year has an unmistakable ending. You’ll have satisfied your goal when you complete that Ironman.

Aim High

Lofty goals like the Ironman will be great for you whether you achieve them or not. Just training for a triathlon will be a lot better for you than eating less candy, even if you don’t end up getting to the finish.

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Aiming high doesn’t have to mean picking some seemingly unattainable goal, and the challenges that your resolutions give you don’t always have to be centered around hard workouts and stressful diets. Whether your resolution is to go big with a Coast to Coast Walk, or hit a moderate goal like hiking in Torrey Pines, picking something that challenges and betters you is what matters.

Find the right resolution that will challenge you in areas that you want to improve, and set unmistakable goal posts to track your progress.

Prove It

New Year’s resolutions are most well-known for how often people fail at them. Setting up a means of proving your success, both to yourself and others, makes you stand out and keeps you honest. Something like a personal vlog is a great way to keep yourself accountable and celebrate your success, or learn from your failures, with others. By vlogging weekly about your progress, you leave a record that you can use to go back and see how far you’ve come. You will also build an audience that you don’t want to disappoint and that sense of responsibility can help motivate you when the going gets tough.

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Who knows, you might even become the next Youtube star. Internet sensations have certainly erupted around less noble causes.

Plan Ahead

New Year’s resolutions are made at the very start of the year, usually in the dead of winter. For most people, though, this is one of the worst times to make progress on a New Year’s resolution, especially a dynamic one that involves more than just hitting the gym. It’s going to be hard to train for that triathlon in sub-zero temperatures.

By using your time wisely you can take care of some essential prep work without boring yourself to death on a treadmill. For example, if you’ve never done a triathlon before, you probably don’t know what kind of wetsuit you’ll need for the swimming portion. The perfect time to research this kind of stuff is when you’re stuck at home, so you don’t find yourself unequipped the day before the race.

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Making commitments now can also help you incentivize yourself to put in the work when the weather improves. If you’ve done a lot of prep in the winter, you won’t want to let that work go to waste when springs rolls around.

New Year’s resolutions are famous for not getting done. But, now you know everything that you need to do to make sure that your New Year’s goal doesn’t become another New Year’s flop.

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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