New Year’s Resolutions are a tradition in the United States. They date back to 153 B.C. These resolutions are promises to us to change something in our life to improve it. The most common resolutions are to eat healthier, exercise regularly, stop smoking, and take better care of our bodies. They are usually bad habits that we want to stop and replace with better habits. The changes that we promise ourselves to make are often difficult. That’s why we choose New Year’s to make them. The changes are hard to make and often we give up on them. So many people that make New Year’s Resolutions break them soon after the year begins. As the saying goes, “bad habits are hard to break”. We have good intentions when we make the resolutions. We really do want the changes in our lives. But it is easy to fall back into old habits. If you are truly committed to making the changes it is helpful to have support and a plan. If you attack the change with a plan and back up you will have a better chance at succeeding. A good way to start is to establish, in writing, what changes or resolutions you want to make. Add to that list why you want to make those changes. And then give yourself a time period. Work out small steps towards that goal. If you jump in with both feet and without a plan you will most likely fail. Break it down into “baby” steps. As you succeed at each step along the way, reward yourself. It can be as simple as a sticker chart. Liken to the one used to encourage a child to potty train. That may sound childish but you will be able to see your progress. If you are trying to change your eating habits you do not want to reward yourself with food treats. If money is an issue for you, as it is with many people, you may not want to reward yourself with a purchase. Maybe you could reward yourself with time alone, or coffee with a friend. Choose something that you can feel good about and that will keep encouraging you. It helps to have support. Try to find someone that is encouraging and that will be joyful at your success. Stay clear of people that will want to sabotage your success. Having someone that is on your side and that will talk you out of returning to or giving into your previous habit will help you succeed. You can succeed at changing any aspect of your life, if you want to. Living a better life will make you a happier person. I wish you all the best as you move forward and make changes for the better.
January 6, 2014