Resolutions: This Again?

by shawne on December 31, 2012

in Fab Foods

Through the years, I’ve had many conversations with friends about New Year’s Eve.  Some look forward to the traditions, debauchery, and glamour that are synonymous with December 31st.   Others become solemn and opt to hibernate under the covers rather than to partake in the overrated and overpriced revelry.   For many, it is a time of reflection, a time to look back on personal successes and failures of the past 365 days.  For others, it is a time of hope, a time to look forward to renewal and change for the better.

We all have well-intentioned, grandiose hopes for our society at large.  We wish for peace on earth, good health for all, and pray that the greater good of mankind will somehow, miraculously, come shining through in the coming year.    Sometimes, though, it gets more complicated as we turn introspective. We declare resolutions as a way of establishing some real hope for ourselves.  Ironically, our personal resolutions are far more tangible and doable than accomplishing the tougher tasks of the times, like not going over the fiscal cliff.   Yet, a staggering 70 percent of New Year’s resolutions are all but a distant memory come February 1st.  Each year my husband and I chuckle about how barren our gym is in December and how it becomes a bustling hot spot on January 2nd only to quiet down again by Valentine’s Day.

It is a predictable pattern and a vortex that I, myself, have been sucked into many times.  “I’m going to lose weight in 199 _”, suddenly became “I’m going to lose weight in 200_”.  Although I have kept my resolutions of recent years more or less to myself, I know that there was definitely at least one “I’m going to lose weight in 201_” in there somewhere.  I remember several years ago when I felt like banning all resolutions and pulled the good ol’ “my resolution is to not make a resolution.”  Ha ha ha…very original!   Another year, when put on the spot at a New Year’s gathering with friends, I publicly announced that my resolution was to floss my teeth more frequently, specifically, every single day, twice a day. “I’m clever and snarky and at least I’ll make people laugh”, I thought.    “I’ll show you New Year’s!  Take that!  You’re not gonna dash my hopes and dreams anymore!”  The truth behind that bit of stupidity was that I was sick and tired of failing myself.  That’s not to say that flossing isn’t well and good but was the lack of need for periodontal care really the best I could do for myself?   As silly as that was, daily flossing was actually one of the resolutions that I was able to stick with, but why?

Here are some things that you can do to make your resolutions stick:

1.  Be specific!  WHAT is it that you want to achieve in the coming year and HOW do you PLAN on making it happen?   My dental hygienist hasn’t given me the stink eye for a while now because I do floss every day, twice a day, just as I blurted out that I would a few years ago (although my husband doesn’t believe it).  My plan was specific.  There was a what, when, and how involved.  There was also who and why.  It is helpful to write it down.  Seeing the goal and the plan on paper makes it easier to visualize and much more likely to actually happen.

2.  Since you already have taken the time to write it down, post your resolution in a highly visible place like your bathroom mirror.  The plan took some thought.  You will receive regular encouragement by seeing it and reading it frequently.

3.  Enlist the support of your friends, family, or even a health coach (ahem).  Feel things out and see if someone close to you actually shares a similar goal for the year.  Having a partner can really help you by making the journey more enjoyable and by holding each other accountable.

4.  Choose only one resolution!  Sometimes we are so eager for big change fast that we overdo it and end up crashing.  Remember, it’s better to be really good at one thing than to be just okay at a lot of things.  One positive change is very attainable and sustainable!  Don’t worry, it will end up leading to more but just tackle one thing at a time.

5. Take action right away.  Unless your resolution is to climb Mt. Everest, chances are the change that you’re looking to make is something that you can start working toward today, even within the next few hours.  Why wait for a Monday or the first of the month?  Implement the steps in your plan today before the motivation wanes.  If it can’t be done immediately, make an appointment with yourself in your calendar or electronic device to take the action steps you need to do, whether it is selecting an allotted time for you to work out 3 days a week or it is a time to make calls to schedule doctor appointments.  This really works!

Now, take some time to enjoy the holiday season.  I do have high hopes…high apple pie in the sky hopes.  Cheers to health, happiness, and laughter in 2013!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

E January 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Wow, you really captured the emotional side of New Years Eve. Someone a lot smarter than me once said “Avoid avoidance” which sort of is a more modern version of “Dont put off till tomorrow…”. Hard to implement though. Thanks for the encouragement, though I’m not buying the flossing thing :).

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shawne January 4, 2013 at 2:59 am

Thanks so much E. Your skepticism regarding my flossing habits gives me a clue about your identity:)

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