A New Year, A New You

The clock has struck, the bubbly has flowed, and the last stanzas of "Auld Lang Syne" have been sung. It is January 1, 2012. The resolutions begin NOW.

Many of us have heard that resolutions are made to be broken. There are even statistics showing the increase of gym memberships and attendance the first two months of the year, followed by a dramatic decrease before the last day of February.

Why do people break their resolutions? Why is it so hard to stick with a goal? Tonight, I will discuss ways to make sure you stick with your 2012 resolutions.

1. Plan & Schedule. Plan your resolutions well in advance. Obviously with it being January 1, I hope the resolutions were not written out at the last minute (last night). If you have not started your resolutions today, go ahead and set a date. Maybe it is next week, or even February 1. Once you have set a date, schedule it into your calendar like you would an important business meeting, doctor's appointment or a relatives birthday. If your goal is to exercise three times a week, write in your calendar and show up!

As some of my wise business mentors tell me, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

2. Outline Your Plan. What is that you want to accomplish? What are the necessary means to get to that goal? Decide in advance what you are going to do AND how you will fight the temptation to give in or break your resolutions. Because temptations will come, but if you have a plan, they will be easy to ignore.

3. Be Realistic. The worse mistake anyone makes is setting resolutions that are literally unreachable. Don't vow to give up a specific food forever, or to lose 100 pounds in one month. You can do anything you put your mind too, just make sure your body can follow along. Attaining resolutions should be done in a safe and healthy way.

4. Celebrate Victories. When you go so many hours without smoking, or you make it to the gym as scheduled for the week, make sure to reward yourself. Don't indulge in the thing you are giving up, but treat yourself to something you enjoy that does not contradict your resolution. Get a massage or new hair cut, go to the movies, or purchase a small item for yourself or to spruce up your home.

5. Sharing is Caring. Do not be shy about your goals. Share them and talk about them with friends and loved ones. Speaking your goals audibly holds you accountable and is a constant reminder of what your goals are; additionally, you will find support from those you share your goals with. When I have friends who have new goals or want to break habits, I am excited for them. When I am around them I make an effort to ask them about their progress and offer moral support.

6. Monitor Progress. In addition to speaking your goal aloud, also find a way to track your progress, whether in a blog, an Excel document on your computer, or in a journal written by hand. My husband's co-worker recently kicked the habit of smoking. He not only tracked the decrease in the number of cigarettes he smoked, but he also calculated the amount of money he was saving. Needless to say, seeing the results of his saved finances motivated him all the more with his goal.

7. Pause. Rewind. Play. Most people get burned out come February trying to accomplish their resolutions. If you do give in to temptation or find yourself pigging out on candy bars and ice cream, that does not give you a ticket to quit. Just start over. Resolutions are not just for the beginning of the year, they can start anytime you are ready to change your life.

8. Think Positive. Think about your goals daily. Post pictures o motivate you. You could keep a photo of a healthy lung (if you're giving up smoking) in your wallet or tape a nice dress or suit you want to wear (if you're losing weight) on your computer. It takes twenty-one days for an action to become a habit, so you will need a positive mental attitude to get you where you want to go. One of my favorite quotes reflects this tip:

"Watch you thoughts, for the become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."

Happy New Year and the best of success with your resolutions.

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia

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