Well I somehow managed to survive Christmas with my sanity somewhat intact. Actually, our Christmas was quite relaxing once the shopping, cooking and kids were out-of-the-way, but with Christmas quickly coming to an end I realized that the New Year is right around the corner.
New Years means, for many, a fresh start. It is the chance to create change and live the life you dream of. Each year we head into the New Year with high hopes and a long list of resolutions. If you are anything like me that list is long-lost somewhere around the 3rd of January and you are spinning the same cycle you were last year, and the year before that.
Resolutions can be a great way to get your goals in focus and prioritize all the things you want to achieve. The problem with resolutions is that many of us are focused on the wrong goals. Change is always difficult and it comes with an enormous amount of pressure when it comes in the form of a resolution that is usually announced to every single person you know on and after New Years Eve. “What is your New Years Resolution?” is a predictable question during the holiday season, and one that we feel pressured to answer with something life-changing. “Lose weight”, “Quit smoking“, and “Get out of debt” are among the most common answers to the resolution answer, and for the most part, they are the most un-achieved resolutions as well.
Why is it that we always lose sight of our resolutions? Failing to achieve your New Years Resolution does not make you a failure, there are many reasons the excitement of our resolution fades with the winter weather. The number one, and most important reason is our resolutions are often unrealistic. We try to change everything all at once and we shock our systems. We all have that friend who vows to quit smoking at the stroke of midnight every year and is lighting up again by 12:23 a.m. If you truly want to achieve your resolution goal you need to break it down into small, more manageable goals that you can achieve throughout the year. Yes, it is that simple…
Say for example, you are like the millions of Americans that want to lose weight in 2012. Instead of completely changing your diet on January 1st, hitting the gym for 3 hours a day the first week, and basically starving half to death, break the big goal of losing weight into smaller, more manageable goals, such as, for the month of January aim to eat healthier snacks. February, join a gym and start with working out 2 days a week for 1 hour (or more depending on your current physical state), do this while you are still eating healthier snacks as planned for the month of January. For March aim to eat one healthier meal a day, go to the gym 3 times per week for 1 1/2 hours, and continue eating healthy snacks. Continue on for the remaining 9 months of the year, each month adding another small goal and continuing on with your previous months resolutions. Before you know it you will have changed your entire lifestyle without the stress or panic that accompany immediate and outright changes. It is not realistic to completely stop doing anything all at once. It takes time to form habits and it takes time to break them as well. Poor eating, lack of physical activity and weight gain all occurred over an extended period of time and they will all take time to reverse, both the habits and the effects.
My plan for 2012 is to make 12 resolutions. One for each month of the year. This way I get the challenge of completing a goal, but I also get the change I constantly require to stay focused. I will post my list soon, but for now feel free to share your own New Years Resolutions (and how you plan to break them down into more manageable goals) in the comment section below.
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