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December 2017

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    Are New Year’s Resolutions Working for You?

    The dawn of a new year is fast approaching. The months fly by so quickly, we barely have time to figure out our resolutions, much less execute them successfully. Looking back on the year, how did your resolutions pan out? Did you stick to them? Did your resolutions make a positive change in your life?

    As for me, I stuck to mine for about a month and then I slowly slipped back into my old routine. I even gave myself the easiest of resolutions, not to drink more than one glass of wine during the week. Easy right? Apparently not.

    Why don’t resolutions usually work? What can we do to make them stick?

    For one, many times the resolutions we make are to stringent and difficult to achieve. We feel energized by the thought of change, and therefore end up aiming a little to high to be successful. This is a recipe for failure and a road to feeling poorly about yourself. Set expectations that are reasonable and achievable. Make your goal specific, if your resolution is to lose weight, choose a number, 5 pounds, 10 pounds, whatever it may be.  Having a definitive goal that is attainable is more likely to bring you success.

    Another reason could be that you don’t give yourself enough time to succeed, and therefore end up quitting. You aren’t going to hit it out the park immediately. You may need to ease yourself into the new plan. Like me for instance, I couldn’t just all of the sudden start drinking one glass of wine a night, my body may have gone into shock!

    Ok, just kidding on that one, but for other resolutions like getting in shape, eating better, quitting smoking etc… these may take time to stick. A good idea is to set a target date, give yourself enough time for true success.  Also have a plan of action. How are you going to reach your goal of say losing 10 pounds? Join a gym, eat healthier, cut out sugar and carbs, whatever it may be, write it down, mark it on your calendar, make it tangible.

    Lack of commitment can contribute to failure also. Before making a resolution, dig deep and think about what you want to achieve, is this something you really want to do? Could it be you are choosing a resolution you think you should make, but don’t feel committed to? 

    If it is something you really want to do, share it with others. Voicing your plan, gives it substance, and creates a sense of accountability to others. You know you will be asked, how’s the quitting smoking going? Or how is the gym membership working out for you? 

    Lastly, and this is a big one, lack of understanding the underlying reasons for the habit you are trying to break can completely derail your progress. Ignoring the true origin of negative behavior means you won’t be able to maintain changing it. You may not realize it,  but there could be underlying issues that you aren’t dealing with.

    The best example of this is disordered eating, whether it be too much or too little. Unhealthy eating patterns often stem from issues that have nothing to do with food. If the underlying cause of the behavior isn’t addressed, it will be very difficult to change. In these situations it may take professional help to move past the issues and correct the destructive behavior.

    In my opinion, the best way to be successful with New Year’s resolutions, is not to make any at all. Don’t wait until a specific date to start working on bettering yourself. If it’s something you are committed and enthusiastic about accomplishing, do it now. Start working on it today and every day. Have an action plan, understand the why of your behaviors, be patient with yourself, voice your intentions to loved ones, and believe in yourself. This will bring you success no matter what time of year it is.

    Good luck!

    Any other tips on succeeding in regard to resolutions? Comment below and share!

    Photo by Jerry Kiesewetter on Unsplash