Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

By Diane Ruyack

Make this year the year you make good on your New Year’s resolutions! It’s that time of year when many people look forward to a fresh start in life and resolve to improve their health. However, the problem with the start of a new year is that most good intentions are often derailed within a few weeks. Whether your goal is to lose weight, exercise regularly or stop smoking, you might consider these additional tips to help you reach your goals:

  • Avoid perfectionist thinking.  It is healthier to think in positive terms than it is to focus on how much we fall short of our aspirations.
  • View setbacks as lessons for growth. Mistakes are opportunities for learning. If you fall short of your goals, ask yourself what kept you from achieving them and then try to make corrections. Examine what’s holding you back from achieving your goal now.  What’s in your way?
  • Don’t make absolute resolutions. Keep them realistic. Just do things less often or more often depending on your intentions.  Consuming more dairy will help with weight loss and build stronger bones.
  • Don’t keep your resolutions to yourself. Tell someone you trust about your resolutions so that they may help to gently nudge you in the right direction when you veer off course.
  •  Give them some meaning. Your goal should be something you really desire to change or achieve, not something that society says is good for you to do or your family members would like to see you do. If you don’t have strong, internal motivation within yourself, you won’t be successful. Write your goals down, and keep them in front of you every day.   Written goals serve as a basis for reminding you to steel your determination and will power, as well as assessing your progress.
  •  Take baby steps. Set realistic goals that are attainable and then take small steps that are likely to be met with success toward those goals. Eliminate from your environment things that sabotage your goal.  If potato chips are your weakness, and your goal is to lose weight, you will find it easier not to have them in your house—than to have it around and expect yourself to refrain from over-indulging in it.  Remove all temptations—especially the temptation of having “just a little.”   You’ll find it easier to eliminate it than to try to keep it under control.

Making a list of pros and cons about the resolutions you are considering is an excellent way to wisely choose achievable resolutions for the new year. Happy 2012!

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