Why Do We Make New Year's Resolutions?
It's Time to Set Those Goals Again!
With the new year quickly approaching, people are thinking about the ways they want to improve their lives by getting rid of bad habits, starting good habits, or a combination of both. People look at New Year's Day as a time to start fresh in their lives and create a plan that will make them happier in the coming days.
Sometimes the goals that are set are drawn up hastily in the few days before, but more often it's something the person has been wanting to do for a long time, but felt they needed a little more time before setting a definite date.
Most Common Resolutions
- Lose weight. Sometimes this is the leftover baby weight after a pregnancy, sometimes it's because of the extra pounds packed on in the winter months (those yummy holiday dinners and Christmas cookies can be a stinker!) and sometimes it's just a result of wanting to feel healthier. This takes the planning of meals, physical activity and a support system.
- Quit smoking. With all the risk factors attributed to smoking, it's no surprise that smokers want to give it up. But it's easier said than done because of the strong addiction to nicotine that smokers develop very quickly after lighting up those first few cigarettes. Smoking is often related to stress and quitting means having to come up with a new way to cope during stressful times. The benefits to you health and overall well-being will be worth it!
- Start a Budget. With this economy being as difficult as it is, many people have faced less income, but have the same financial needs as before the loss. Others just want to have more savings in the bank or are wanting to save for a vacation or other goal. Setting a budget in place can help them to be successful in managing their finances and achieving a healthy bottom line. Keep track of how your money is being spent and then see where you can make cuts. There are many ways you can save money and until you discover them, you are just throwing money away. Visit The Juggling Homemaker if you need ideas on how to start saving money!
- Exercise. This often goes along with losing weight, but not always. Exercising has a lot of health benefits, including weight loss, but it's not limited to that. It's great for your heart, lungs, muscles, etc and can extend your life by years. It also creates a sense of wellness and can give you the endurance you need to get through your days. This is often one of the first resolutions to go out the window though, when people set unrealistic goals or they don't see the results they want fast enough. I'll be the first to admit that exercising can seem like a chore, rather than a pleasure--so think of something active that you enjoy doing and see how you can make that your exercise routine. This can be dancing (even while cleaning the house! haha), going for walks or even playing video games--yes, I just said video games. The Wii Fit Plus is a new favorite in my house and it allows me to something different if I'm in the mood for a change. Yoga, strength training, aerobics, it's all there! Other newer and very popular gaming systems that can help you work out and have fun are the Xbox Kinect which doesn't require a controller, and the Playstation Move (which does require a controller).
- Eat Healthy. Another one that can be tied in with losing weight, but it's not just for overweight people. Eating healthy can affect your whole day. It has an effect not just on the way your body feels and functions, but also on your mental abilities too. If you eat a healthy diet, then you'll be more alert, better able to problem-solve and have an over-all better mood. Add that to the benefit of your body functioning more efficiently and it's a win-win. If you're looking for some ideas on how to get started, check out my eHow article on the subject: How to Eat Healthier and Lose Weight the Right Way.
- Spend More Time with Loved Ones/Family. With the busy hustle of day-to-day life, it's easy to lose focus and put your family and friend on the back burner. The New Year can be a great time to set goals to change that and strengthen those relationships. If you're looking for ideas that don't cost a lot you can find some on this article: How to Bring Your Family Closer Together without Spending a lot of Money.
- Get Promoted/Better Your Education. These are goals that involve gaining more knowledge, experience and putting yourself out there more. With these goals, can come financial rewards, status and respect. It takes planning, dedication and a strong resolve to achieve. If you're wanting to go to college, but lack the funds, check out the US Department of Education, Federal Student Aid to see if you might qualify for some financial assisstance.
- Go Green. By wasting less, recycling more and buying products/services that are better for the environment you'll reduce your carbon footprint. It's easier to start than most would think and can make you feel better about your lifestyle. We started out with saving our newspapers and taking them to our children's school--which earned the school money (many businesses have dumpsters in their parking lots too). We then started saving our aluminum cans and turning them in for money (we found a place near us that were accepting recycleables for cash on Earth911). Many cities offer curb-side recycling programs for your paper, plastics and aluminum waste (and those cities that don't have this will often have other businesses that will pick up your recycleables for you for a small fee).
- Be More Charitable. Giving your time, money and goods for the benefit of others can give you a sense of happiness that's hard to achieve any other way. It's also a good way to give back to your community which will ultimately help to improve those areas/services/people that you're contributing to. Another win-win!
- Quitting or Reducing Alcohol Consumption. While some people are able to manage the amount of alcohol they drink, others are more prone to becoming addicted to it. It can have a damaging effect on their families and jobs and greatly lower their ability to function in life. Stopping sometimes takes an intervention by loved ones and requires set goals and lifestyle changes to help them be successful in their goals. This is one resolution that often can't be done alone. Having a support system in place, such as Alchoholics Anonymous can greatly improve the chances for success.
- Get Organized. This can simplify your life, help you with time management and reduce your stress. Sometimes it's your stuff that needs to be organized--which will help you to find things easier, free up some space and make you feel more relaxed in your environment. Or maybe it's your time you need to organize--in which case, setting a schedule will help you to be better prepared for what you need to get done in the day and set aside the time to do those things. Or maybe you're like me and you need to do a little of both! Don't get frustrated or overwhelmed with this process. Start out a little at a time if your clearing clutter (which can be donated or you can make a profit on it on by selling it). And if you're trying to make a schedule, be flexible and realize there might be some adjustments as you're learning to manage your time.
- Be More Patient. There's a quote out there, "If God wanted me to have patience, He would have made me a doctor!" I wonder what doctors think of that one? Patience can be a hard thing to attain. Know your triggers and think about why you get so upset about them. Taking the time to stop when you feel yourself getting upset and taking a deep breath (and counting if that helps) before reacting can really help you to regain control over your emotions and make it easier for you to do so the next time. Also, try to see things from another perspective. Change the way you're thinking and you can change the way you react in situations. Positive thinking is a powerful tool and can help you acheive this resolution. See Change Your Life with Positive Thinking for more help on understanding how this works.
You can keep your resolutions and continue on your new path if you set realistic goals, allow for set-backs, train yourself in positive thinking, surround yourself with a strong support system and don't give up. Setting goals takes planning to acheive and you have to realize that there will be ups and downs, as is the way with most things in life. Think about what you need to do to achieve your goal and make sure you set those things in place when going for that goal. If it doesn't turn out the way you planned, think about how you can do it differently for a better result. And if you find yourself off-track at the end of the year, don't stress about it too much. There's always next year!