Should It Stick? Getting Realistic About New Year’s Resolutions

februarySince I’m about six weeks away from my third baby’s due date, I decided to have less intimidating resolutions this year (daily meditation and, uh, flossing) that would hopefully also assist me in providing enough new muscle memory training to keep me going for the rest of the year.

Of course, I turned to the Internet to see what advice was out there to actually make these New Year’s resolutions stick.  Many lists were found.

If you’ve already fallen off your resolution wagon–hey, it happens– here are some interesting ways to hop back on.

  1. Avoid Extremes.  More often than not, having an all-or-nothing attitude is a recipe for failure.  For example, we’ve all witnessed or personally experienced attempts to cut out all carbs, sugar, wheat, dairy, or meat and that the success rate of this approach is likely disastrous.  Start with slowly cutting back then wean all together.
  2. Make It Something You Really Want.  This opposed to something you think you “should” want.  Make it truly meaningful for yourself.  You’ll be more likely to genuinely care about your goals.
  3. Make A Manageable List.  One or two resolutions to focus on are a lot more realistic to tackle then, say, five or six.
  4. Make a Small Steps/Graduated Plan.  One of the big reasons resolutions fail is that unrealistic goals are set (“I’m going to the gym every day for 90 minutes,” anyone?).  Extremist thinking will have you ten pounds heavier by February 1st.  Instead, a graduated approach might be more achievable.  For example with physical fitness, for Jan-March, perhaps a goal should be once a week, then jump to twice a week for April-June, then three times a week for the next few months until you find your balance and schedule that suits your own success.  It’s one thing to want to lose 20 pounds.  It’s another to simply just get to the gym.
  5. Be Specific.  If it’s to the gym you are headed, then commit to say Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:00p for 30 minutes.  Make it something tangible you actually put in your calendar.
  6. Know Your Weaknesses.  And strengths.  Challenge and push yourself, but also be very honest with what’s achievable within your personal realm of capabilities and that certain goals might take longer.
  7. Be Prepared to Change Habits.  Most resolutions are long-term goals.  Think of the commitment as a journey.  Be prepared for change.  Be prepared that you might not like change.  And stay strong.  Self-sabotage never lurks too far away.
  8. Write It Down and Visualize It.  Don’t type your goals into your PDA where they will be buried under a myriad of electronic distractions and lost forever.  Write them down old school and tape them up somewhere where you can see them on a regular basis.
  9. Voice It or Savor It?  Sometimes voicing goals to the public is a great idea.  Unless you’re looking for unhealthy validation and don’t get the attention you want (see “self-sabotage”).  Sometimes keeping your goals to yourself helps you sort out your own ‘stuff’ and gets you on the path that’s best for you.  Be honest with yourself as to which of these approaches would truly best serve you and your goals.
  10. Have Support System Buddies.  Important note: you might need to make some new friends.  If you’re headed on a new journey, surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you.  Especially if you already have some people around that bring you down.  Who are you living your life for anyway?  You?  Or them?
  11. Allow Failure and Forgive Yourself.  Don’t give up the minute you miss a day or part of your plan.  You are not an epic failure or unworthy of this journey or promise to yourself.  Accept you faltered, regroup and start again.  We’re all human.  Persevere.
  12. Love And Respect Yourself.  Sometimes in our modern day, goal-oriented, achievement-minded society, we forget the most important foundations of all.  Love yourself.  Learn to love yourself.  Respect of ones’ self will closely follow.  These are the elements and fuel needed for continuous personal drive and inspiration.

Don’t lose faith.  Every day, every moment – really, is a chance to start anew.

With that, I just remembered I forgot to meditate and floss yesterday.  So, excuse me while I motivate and take some of my own advice.

Happy Stickworthy New Year!


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