You are probably making promises and commitments to yourself in honor of the new year and focused on looking forward to the future. Traditional resolutions are actions that we are determined to do or not do. Lose weight. Get Fit. Be organized. Eat healthy. Quit smoking and/or drinking.

My resolution from last year (drink more water) is still in motion.  Some days are filled with success and on others, water never fills my glass.  But here I am, still working on it.  Continuing to push myself to consume the mighty H2O even though it interrupts my day in multiple ways- if you know what I mean.  Let’s face it, water is good for my body, free, and convenient.  So the only obstacle… must be me!!!

Don’t Throw in the Towel

Have you ever given up on something when it didn’t go as planned or was more difficult than you thought?  Our ability to tolerate frustration is often low when it comes to change.  Like going to the gym.  You go.  You work out.  You feel great and proud of yourself for doing it.  Then, the  muscles that once longed for movement now cry out for rest and recovery.  Then, you stop. Life takes over and you’re right back to your old ways.  Behaving in a way that is comfortable, without challenge or discipline.  Right?

We resolve to do something because it’s in our best interest or for the benefit of others… so keep trying.  It might be learning something new or spending more quality time with friends and family.  Many focus on “getting healthy” or becoming fit. Others might channel their energy on career goals.  For some it might mean to stop a negative behavior like swearing or gossiping.  Resolutions involve a process of change rarely perfect the first attempt.

Solutions To More Successful Resolutions

Identify- What is meaningful to you?  What would you like to change? The key is making it personal because only you have the power to control yourself.  An added benefit may include a positive influence on others by how you change.  And others might need to adapt to your changes.  For instance, if you decide to eat a healthier diet and you do the shopping and/or cooking in your house they will need to follow along.  Or, they might not like the fact that you don’t buy cookies and ice cream anymore so they may have to take their own initiative if they want to eat sugar and fat!

Make a Goal-Be specific. What exactly is it that you are trying to accomplish?  How much money do you want to save and in what time period? How much body fat or weight do you want to lose? What part of your life needs to get organized? Is it your kitchen, office, or social life? While setting your goals be realistic (you cannot lose 50 lbs in a month!) so you set yourself up for success! Know what the benchmark is so you will know when you have reached you goal or lifestyle change.

Create a plan- Write it down. Having a concrete plan gives you something to follow. It becomes a plan of action not just an idea floating around in your head. The benefit of a plan in writing is that it clarifies the steps that need to be taken.  Also, it can reduce the anxiety of the unknown…ideas no longer float around aimlessly in the brain.  This should include the who, what, where, when and how.

Accountability- Tell others.  This appears to be more important for women who are more likely to be successful with a support system.  Friends and family can help keep you on track. They may ask how you’re doing toward the goal or gently remind you to get back on track.  By telling someone they become witness to your desire.

Persevere- Don’t give up! As long as you continue to try to accomplish your goals you have not failed.  (Perfection is difficult and too often we give up when we have not lived up the ideal.) So what if you ate a 2,000 calorie piece of chocolate cake today… just don’t do it tomorrow!

Obstacles- Understand what they are so you can incorporate them into your plan or know how to work around them.  If we can anticipate the hindrances, we are less likely to get thrown off track.  For example, increasing the amount of vegetables in your meals when your family believes that anything that is green and looks like it came out of the ground must be poison.  This is where you know you will be met with resistance but you manage to do what is best for you (and them) and not give in to their pressure to go back to “tater tots” as a vegetable.

The Time Is Now

The clock is ticking…take a chance and get started on your New Years Resolutions.  You have nothing to lose and much to be gained.  Make it manageable.  Remember to be kind to yourself if you flub-up.  And praise yourself when you make progress.

Sharing this poem by Joanna Fuchs seems an appropriate way to end an article about beginning the new year:

New Year’s Reality Check

Another year, another chance

To start our lives anew;

This time we’ll leap old barriers

To have a real breakthrough.

We’ll take one little step

And then we’ll take one more,

Our unlimited potential

We’ll totally explore.

We’ll show off all our talents

Everyone will be inspired;

(Whew! While I’m writing this,

I’m getting very tired.)

We’ll give up all bad habits;

We’ll read and learn a lot,

All our goals will be accomplished,

Sigh…or maybe not.

Oh well, Happy New Year anyway!

May your year be filled with joy and laughter!


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