- Mental Health»
Make Your New Year's Resolutions Stick
Whether the new year has just rolled around and you have just made your resolutions or you find yourself in July thinking back, making your resolutions stick is more important then making the resolution. Many of us make resolutions each year, sometimes even the same resolutions year after year, without ever seeing any results. This doesn't have to be you!
Evaluate Your Resolutions
The first step in deciding that you want to make your resolutions come true is to evaluate them. You need to pick out the most important ones to work on and let the others wait till next year. This can happen when you make them in January or even when you realize that you really do want to make changes to your life (July, August, and September aren't too late. In fact, December isn't too late as long as you want to work at it).
When choosing the resolutions to work on, keep in mind the size of the resolution. You see, most resolutions are large and tackling a number of life changes at once isn't easy to do. It is much better to try one or two large life changes at a time.
Set Up a Plan
A resolution without a plan has no hope of becoming a change in your life. You will need to sit down with a pen and a pad of paper. Come up with a realistic step by step plan for working toward accomplishing your resolution. Here are a few examples.
- Drink more water. This will eliminate some of the things that I drink that I shouldn't and help make me healthier working toward my goal. I will need to drink 8 to 10 glasses a day.
- Cut portion sizes and remain eating a balanced diet.
- Begin walking six days a week. Plan out a schedule.
While this isn't a complete plan, it is a good start. You could work on adding or taking away a little at a time to make a healthier you and to loose weight. Another example would be if you were wanting to get organized.
- Plan a time to thoroughly clean and organize each room. Aim for one room a week.
- Set aside a place for important papers and an organization system that will keep them separated and ready to be found.
- Get rid of items that are not needed and taking up space they shouldn't.
You can schedule each step to be completed at a specific time. For example, this Saturday we will clean and organize the bedroom and next Saturday the kitchen.
New Year's resolutions usually have to do with either getting rid of a bad habit or creating a good habit (sometimes both at the same time). Understanding habits makes it easier to keep pushing through to making good habits and to getting rid of bad habits.
Habits are created over a period of time. Most of us don't wake up one moment and decide that they have a good habit to live up to and suddenly they do it each day for the rest of their lives. Instead our bodies and minds like to have schedules and activities that are repeated. We take comfort in that that we find familiar and as such we have to work to get rid of old habits and work to keep good ones.
Most experts agree that it takes at least 30 days to start a new habit. That is 30 days of repeating the good habit or not repeating the bad. Sometimes, 30 days isn't even enough, but it is a good place to start.
30 Days to a Better Life
When it comes to making your life better, remember the idea that 30 days is the first goal. Whether weight loss, organization, cleaning up, or even quitting smoking are your goals remember that you need to make it through that first 30 days. If your goal involves a lot of changes (such as loosing weight) then give yourself 30-45 days for each major step of the plan. This will let you build good habits (or get rid of bad habits) that you are more likely to keep.
Each day that it is bad, remind yourself that you have to make it through the 30-45 days. Say just make it through today, and deal with it again tomorrow. If you can keep up your plan, it will get easier and easier to do.
NOW not Later
Procrastination is often how we find a year gone by with our resolutions long forgotten. We may have even written them down somewhere and tucked them away. But if we keep putting them off for another day, they will never get accomplished. You can use your New Year's resolutions or the other things you want to accomplish as a way to better your life, one small piece at a time. You just have to make sure you start NOW and not later!
You CAN Do It!
Whether it is January, July, or even November you can take your years resolutions and begin to work on them. Remember that it is indeed work and that if you are willing to do it one step at a time you can have a better life and accomplish the things that you wish you could accomplish. Don't wait for next year to get started! You CAN Do It!