Happy New Year — now about those resolutions . . .

Happy New Year!

This time of year we all make New Year’s resolutions. How many of them do we keep barely two or three weeks later? I bet not many.

Nevertheless, the beginning of a new year, or really any day of the year, is a good time to write a list of 3 to 10 items that you believe will improve your life. Whether it’s losing weight, exercising more, securing a promotion at work, or tangible ways to improve your relationship with your significant other, there is no time like today — whether January 1 or March 16 — to write a list of goals for yourself.

But most of these goals or resolutions are unmet.  Are there ways to increase your odds of success?  Here are 10 hints for keeping your resolutions:

  • Be realistic. If you’re 55 years old and you haven’t exercised in a while, you’re not going to do 60 minutes of aerobics six days a week. And moreover, you’re going to talk to your doctor before you even attempt exercising. Setting realistic goals is an important element to success.
  • Be patient. Understand that it takes 28 days to create a habit.
  • Be mindful. No matter what you do as your resolution, understand that with goals, the journey is more important than the end. Enjoy the ride; remain in the present moment.
  • Be rewarding. Set small but attainable benchmarks along the way and reward yourself when you reach them. If your goal is to exercise three times a week, put five dollars in a jar every time you do so. Use that money towards a new outfit which you’re going to fit into once you’ve been exercising for a while.
  • Be less radical. Giving up Diet Coke entirely may not be achievable; limiting yourself to two cans a day might be.
  • Be less media savvy. Watching TV, reading the ads, or surfing the web will show you idealistic examples of life in these United States. Either cut your media exposure or remain vigilant as you are bombarded with these “photo-shopped” images.
  • Be educated. If your goal involves tangible things such as fitness, dieting, etc., understand the numbers — the metrics — in your quest, such as the number of calories in the ice cream cone you just had at McDonald’s.
  • Be social. Maybe there is a social media site where you can share thoughts with others who have similar goals.
  • Be persistent. Keep asking yourself the question, “how can I enjoy the process towards reaching this goal?” You never need to find the answer; simply asking the question over and over again in itself helps you achieve your goal.
  • Be normal. Understand that all of us set goals and fail to reach them. This makes you a normal human being. Don’t be discouraged and don’t give up!

Here’s to a 2021 that finds all of us more healthy, more wealthy, and more wise!


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