New Year's Resolutions -VS- Life Style Revolutions.
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Every January the conversation around the water cooler begins with, “So, what’s your New Year’s resolution?” The same answers are given year after year. “Lose weight, quit smoking, go to the gym more often, etc.
January and February are crowded with well meaning gym attendees, making it difficult for the regulars to keep up with their routines. Getting frustrated with all the latest fitness “zealots” knowing that, by the end of March, it will be back to the same “lifestyle” fitness followers. For that matter, by the end of March, most people can't even remember what their “resolution” was.
Let’s take a look at the word Resolution.
- Resolution: To determine (or decide) to take a course of action, method, or procedure.
To make a resolution, a decision must be made and a course of action taken. Too often, decisions are made but no real action is taken and no plan made; resulting in a lack of follow through.
Let’s take a look at the word Revolution.
- Revolution: A sudden or radical change, an overthrow or replacement of a current system, a complete turnaround.
How many revolutions have you read about in history that did not have a plan to replace or modify the current system? I would surmise, none. That is why we fail year after year to see our resolution’s come to fruition. What is the key to making decisions for a course of action that will make a complete turnaround in our lives?
There are always those folks who, when asked about their New Year’s resolution, state flatly,
“I never make New Year’s resolutions.”
They have either failed time after time and are simply too frustrated to try again, or have no intention of making any in the first place.
Why make a New Year’s resolution at all?
On New Year’s Day, my son asked me what my resolution was for the year. “I don’t make resolutions,” I told him. Does that mean that I don’t have any intention of making changes in my life? Not at all, I just approach it a bit differently. I think that it is essential to set goals each year; otherwise, it would be too easy to become complacent and lazy. Not to mention, as I grow older it’s necessary to keep my mind and body active.
I believe in the adage, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.” So, I take the first two weeks of January each year and spend time reflecting on what, if any, positive changes I have made in the previous year. I revisit my failures and shortcomings and then I get out the journal I keep just for this purpose. I look at the goals I set for myself last year to see if I completed them, and if not, why? What were my strengths and weaknesses? Next I set new goals for the New Year, taking into account, where I made mistakes last year.
I think the biggest mistake made in making a New Year’s resolution is that most are either unrealistic, or too general. “I’m going to quit smoking, lose fifty pounds, or eat healthier.” Those are all worthy resolutions, but what is the game plan?
Make a plan for a successful resolution.
Let’s take the “lose fifty pounds” resolution and develop a plan we can live with. That way we will maximise our opportunity for success.
A resolution is a revolution in your life, a total turnaround or permanent change. You can’t just make a generalized statement and expect success.
Set short-term goals that are attainable such as, losing 5 pounds per month.
- To achieve this goal, you may choose to join Weight Watchers®, or go to a diet clinic for support. There are also some excellent programs on line to help with a diet and an exercise program.
- Set up an exercise program. If you belong to a gym, they may offer a personal trainer to help you set up a routine that’s tailored to your needs. If you can not afford a gym, get a walking buddy and set up a walking schedule. (Maybe someone you work with has made the same resolution, and you can help each other accomplish your goal) One thing I have found that works well for me is being accountable to someone to keep my schedule and not give up when the going gets tough.
- Keep a journal about your experience. List the things that work well for you; list the things that hinder you. (Strengths and weaknesses) Write down frustrations and triumphs. Then next January, when it’s time to make your new, New Year’s Resolution, you will see you’ve had a revolution in your life, and you have achieved that goal! You will be excited to begin the next plan.
What happens when it all goes wrong?
Some of the resolutions that I’ve made didn’t go so well, but I didn’t give up. I learned from my mistakes and made better choices and planned a little differently. There is no guarantee that every plan will be successful; the key thing is, don’t give up.
One of my resolutions was to learn how to play golf by the end of the year. I am not an athletic person, but I genuinely love the game and wanted to learn. My husband tried to teach me how to play. I learned all about birdies, bogies and par, and the difference between a nine-iron and a sand wedge. Most importantly, I learned that I drive a golf cart better than I do a golf ball . I did not succeed in learning to play golf that year but I still love golf. I watch it on TV; my husband and I enjoy attending tournaments, and I still drive the cart for him when he plays.
Some successful goals/resolutions I have set for myself include, starting a blog and submitting articles, stories and poems on a regular basis. I had set a goal of fifty submissions in the first year, of which I fell a little short. But I didn't let that discourage me, I continue to write and submit when I can.
I also decided to submit at least one story to a writing competition. I actually exceeded it and submitted two short stories and one poetry submission.
It may seem like baby steps, but little strides are better than none at all.
Go ahead and make your New Year’s Resolution. Make your plan , and then plan to succeed !
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