It’s time once again to ponder our shortcomings and resolve to improve ourselves in some way. That means making a New Year’s Resolution – UGH. People resolve to do a lot of different things, but here are the biggies:
- Lose Weight
- Manage Debt
- Save Money
- Get a Better Job
- Get Fit
- Eat Right
- Spend More Time With Family
- ·Get a Better Education
- Drink Less Alcohol
- Quit Smoking
- Reduce Stress
- ·Take a Trip
- Volunteer to Help Others
The problem with most New Year’s resolutions is that we just can’t seem to keep them for long. To increase your likelihood of success follow these guidelines:
- Make it matter. This is no time to follow the crowd and resolve to do something just because everybody else is. In order to be successful, your resolution needs to be something YOU really want achieve or you won’t do it. To help you stick with it, list the ways it will improve your life. When you can see the prize, you are more likely to keep up the fight.
- Set realistic goals. Philip R. Muskin, M.D., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University says, “…resolutions can lead to frustration when we find we have set unrealistic goals.” While you’re at it, focus on one goal at a time. Trying to eat better, exercise more, and quit smoking all at the same time might be too much to tackle. Focus on one a realistic, attainable goal with a reasonable time frame instead.
- Be committed. Realize that any significant change is a long-term process, not an overnight quick fix. Many fad diets help you lose weight quickly, but you’ll gain it back just the same. Nice and easy does it.
- Get some cheerleaders. It doesn’t hurt to share your plan with someone you love, that encouragement will be important when you start to waver. Obviously, you need to make it clear that you aren’t looking for a drill sergeant, but a pat on the back can be nice every once in a while.
- Be prepared for setbacks. You are going to fall off the wagon, eat too many cheese doodles, or buy something frivolous, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!
- Track your progress. Treat your goals like you would do with a work project and manage your deliverables. If you want to lose weight, for example, chart your progress on a sheet of paper in the bathroom (or perhaps on the fridge where temptation lurks) or do so online. That doesn’t mean weighing yourself every day, but a weekly weigh-in might be a good idea. Remember not to compare yourself to others, not matter what your resolution is. Accomplish your goal the way that is best suited for you in your own time.
- Congratulate yourself. Be sure to reward yourself when you reach certain milestones: a week without a cigarette, a percentage of weight lost, passing your first exam. Then when you hit the big time and achieve your overall goal, splurge a little!
This year rather than making the cliché resolutions like losing weight (well, need to do that), getting in shape (need to do that too), eat healthier (oops, ditto on that), my focus is on putting some much-needed joy back into my life. Pretty soon the kids will fly the coop and my husband and I will be left on our own. I’m not getting any younger, so, it’s time to have some adventures of my own. Hmmm, maybe there’s a new book percolating inside this Norwegian brain. I might need a pen name for this one!
What is your New Year’s Resolution?
Happy New Year my friends. I wish you peace, purpose and pleasure in 2009. Be good to yourself.