06 January 2016
How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

As we near the end of January, it may be time to assess how we’re doing with the resolutions we made less than a month ago. We make New Year’s resolutions with the best intentions. We really are going to toss tobacco, or start walking around the block for a little more exercise. We will eat more vegetables and take time to relax and enjoy life.

Sure, we make these resolutions because we know we should change our behavior, eliminating harmful activities, embracing healthy activities. However, making a resolution is easy. Keeping it is hard.

If you’re already despairing about keeping your New Year’s resolutions, it’s not too late to start again. Try some of these suggestions and take control of your well-being and the health of your entire household.

What’s the plan? Approach resolutions like any business, school or workplace challenge.

  • What is the ultimate goal?
  • What are interim milestones?
  • How will you define success?
  • What do you need to help keep the resolve in keeping resolutions?

Start with the ideal end result and work backward to where you are now, at the very start of a program of self-improvement. Develop a plan, with specific milestones and time frames to encourage commitment.

Write down your resolutions. Put the list in a place where you see it every day. The refrigerator door, perhaps. It’s easier to find motivation when you know what you’re gearing up for.

Enjoy your successes. Reaching each milestone in your resolution is a victory. Enjoy your successes. Pat yourself on the back with each step toward resolution success.

Don’t make resolutions you can’t keep. If you decide to quit smoking, lose 15 pounds, and also work out three times a week at the gym, you’re probably setting yourself up to fail – and when we fall short, we tend to throw in the towel completely and just give up.

A simple solution is to tackle one resolution at a time. Use all of your self-discipline to focus on kicking the nicotine habit or jogging in a local 5K run. You can do it more easily when you focus on one resolution at a time.

And, you’re much less likely to experience the sting of falling short if you focus on one change, one resolution at a time.

Don’t set arbitrary goals. “I’m going to lose 10 pounds this year.” Good resolution, right? Not really, because it’s human nature to return to old habits once you reach that goal. You lose 10 pounds and then go back to your unhealthy eating habits.

Instead, focus on changes in lifestyle – the kinds of changes that become part of your daily routine quickly. Instead of taking the elevator at work, take the stairs. Park far from the mall entrance and walk to the entryway. Gradually cut back on empty calories.

Diets start; diets end. Healthy changes in lifestyle last a lifetime – you just have to remind yourself to do them.

Swap out healthy foods for junk foods. If you’re tired mid-afternoon, don’t eat a candy bar from the breakroom vending machine. Bring an apple or banana from home and get some nutrition as you increase blood sugar levels to produce renewed energy.

Make it fun. Any New Year’s resolution can become a chore quickly if you don’t enjoy it. If you’re trying to work out more and want the energy and pizzazz of a gym, go to the gym. If quiet solitude is more your style, a hike in the woods might do the trick. If you get bored easily, try listening to music you enjoy, or download an audio book to occupy your mind while you’re working out.

There’s no one way that works for everyone, but you certainly know what you like, so design a health program you can live with for a long, long time.

Get a little support. Tell family. Tell friends and neighbors, your co-workers – tell anyone who’ll listen about your resolutions and get a little support from lots of different sources. Telling the world about your resolutions also provides motivation to show self-discipline. You’ll get tired of answering, “You still going to the gym?” and you might actually start going again!

Focus on your past successes. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall short of a resolution milestone. Don’t use a moment of self-indulgence to obliterate your New Year health regimen. 

When you fall short of expectations, give your self-esteem a nice boost by thinking about all of the times your resolve was unshakeable. Instead, look at the things you’ve accomplished that took self-discipline. Maybe you have a nest egg working for your retirement, or you saved up enough to buy a family home. You can stick to any resolution you set for the upcoming year because you’ve shown resolve and self-discipline many times in the past.

It’s never too late or too early to resolve to improve. That’s what a new year brings – hope and resolve that this year will be the best ever.

So go easy on yourself, tackle one resolution at a time, make it fun, and never give up – even when you give up. Get back with the program.

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

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