Happy New Year! Welcome to 2012. How will this year be different from last year? One of my favorite parts of starting a new year are making New Year’s resolutions. It’s a chance to get back on your feet, kick a bad habit, reinvent yourself, or taking a small step toward your overall goal.
“I’m going to live up to my New Year’s resolution this year,” I tell myself right before the ball drops. However, every resolution seems to be forgotten about halfway through January. It seems that no matter what I promise myself, I’m terrible at living up to this personal change.
And it seems I’m not alone in this. In a recent, completely unscientific and un-official poll of people I know, 8 out of 10 of my friends don’t keep their resolutions. How many of you have kept yours? No one is blaming you; keeping them can be very tough.
So to up the ante this year, I’m making TWO resolutions:
- Follow through with all future New Years resolutions.
- Get in better shape.
This first one is no easy resolution. I usually can’t even live up to one New Year’s resolution, how could I possibly I live up to every single one in the future? Hmm. I think I’m going to need some help with this. So, to help me and everyone else in my shoes, I looked up some common tips to making sure our resolutions are accomplished (Thank you, About.com). Thank you Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Pick one thing and make it practical – Don’t bother trying to change your whole lifestyle at once. It’s much more important to pick one aspect of your life that you’d like to change, and make that small change. Looks like I already failed this one by picking two goals…
2. What does success look like? – This is something you need to decide before you start your resolution. How will you know when you’ve changed your ways? Is there an end date or is it an ongoing goal? You need to be specific with what your life will be like with this new resolution. For my goal of getting in better shape, this means getting some physical activity in every day.
3. Anticipate problems – What will get in the way of your not completing your goal? Obstacles? Laziness? Forgetfulness? If you identify things that will interfere with your goal, you’ll be able to prepare for those situations. For me, laziness and sleepiness get in the way of me doing physical activity. Since I’m able to identify the problems, (hopefully) I’ll be able to not let them interfere with my goal.
4. Accept occasional failure – Hey, we’re all human, mistakes happen. Don’t let one mishap get in the way of your goal. Don’t beat yourself over slipping from your resolution once, just identify what made you slip, how to correct it, and get back on track the next day. I will allow myself to skip working out some mornings. OCCASIONALLY. Hopefully these breaks are few and far between.
5. Plan rewards – Changing your life around is no small feat. Even just eliminating one bad habit deserves rewarding. Plan in rewards into your resolution to keep you motivated. This may mean after 30 days of resolution, you can buy that thing you’ve wanted for so long. Living up to any New Year’s resolution is very impressive, and you deserve a reward. I haven’t come up with my reward yet and I’m thinking I should wait until I deserve a reward (its only been three days with this goal!).
6. Stay motivated – This is probably the hardest part of keeping your New Year’s resolution. Things get in the way, other things take priority, and before you know it, you’re not doing what you planned. This is no excuse! Make sure that you stay motivated. Write out your resolution on a piece of paper and put it in a place you go every day. On the bathroom mirror, on your door, by your bed, anywhere works, just as long as you will see it every day. I changed my alarm clock to tell me to work out, rather than to wake up. Hopefully this reminder will keep me motivated. If that physical reminder to stick to your goals is not enough, make sure you find something that will keep you motivated!
Don’t be like Calvin in the above cartoon. Everyone has the ability to improve themselves, and now is the perfect time to start. One step at a time, following the instructions above, you’ll be able to stick to your New Year’s resolution throughout the year, not just throughout January.
Tell us about your resolutions and keep us posted on your progress throughout 2012!