Keeping Resolutions

It seems like just yesterday we were all wishing each other Happy New Year and swearing off coffee/wine/cigarettes/junk food/bad relationships. Yet the new year is well on its way and it’s now time to check our resolutions. You know, all of those commitments that were supposed to make us happy… help us lose weight… find love and more.

If you’re one of the many whose resolutions have already flown out the window (or are precariously perched on the sill, ready to take the big plunge), it’s not too late to re-assess yourself, your goals and your reasoning – and to re-commit to making lasting changes in the year to come.

Take a fresh look
For starters, if you’re like most, you were eating, drinking and rushing around a whole lot when you made your resolutions… and, for better or worse, your perceptions may have been affected. That’s not a bad thing, just a natural one. After all, the holidays can be a time of hope (wishful thinking) and it’s natural (even healthy) to dream big. However, how realistic is it that you were going to lose 20 pounds in six weeks (and keep it off?) or that you be in a committed relationship by Valentine’s Day when on New Year’s Day you hadn’t even met anyone you were interested in going out with? Some things – like lasting change, for instance – take time. Even though you will meet the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with in one instant, getting to know that they are, indeed, that person will be a process that requires patience and continued investment.

One of the most important factors in keeping promises we make to ourselves (New Year’s Resolutions and otherwise) is viability. On that note, now is a good time to reassess your resolutions with an eye for goals you can accomplish, in measured steps you can keep track of so as to monitor your progress rather than feeling like something bigger just slipped away from you.

For instance, if you still want to lose those 20 pounds – even if it’s now 25 (thanks to all those holiday leftovers and cold weather delays on your trips to the gym), get real about how to do it. Rather than expecting yourself to go from zero to 60 in two minutes (you know, like from no working out to hitting the gym five days a week at 5am for an hour before work), set measurable, realistic goals (say going for a half hour at 6:30, three mornings a week). In the end, everything is relative, and what you choose to do has got to be workable for you. But that’s the point, workable… with goal posts along the way to your final achievement. Oh – be sure to remember to stop and give yourself rewards for each step closer you get!

Once you’ve set out a real, practical plan, give yourself another month to implement it before you assess again. Perhaps most important in this process is knowing that if you fall off the wagon, the best thing to do is get right back on. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is lasting change. Conventional wisdom says it takes three weeks of consistent behavior to create a pattern – and then just two to break it. So buckle down for the next four… and you may find yourself on the road to a whole new you. Worst case scenario, you’ll find yourself right back here. Ready to re-assess and set new goals, which is what part of life is all about.

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