Keeping Those New Year’s Resolutions

The days between Christmas and January 1st have always been meditative for me. It is time to buy a new calendar for the wall, and new pages for my planner. I’m running out of time to hit any goals that I may have had for 2013. The new year will arrive very soon, so I am giving thought to what I want to achieve in 2014.

All of the traditional New Year’s resolutions seem to be about health. Typically, we vow to (a) quit smoking; (b) lose weight; (c) eat more vegetables and less fast food; (d) spend more time with friends and family; or (e) get out of debt. Yes, the last two are about health too – in this case, mental health and peace of mind. A new year, a new calendar, means a clean slate. You can start fresh, and re-make yourself into the person you have always wanted to be.

The bad news about resolutions is that you are starting the new year with all the bad habits you had the year before, and probably for a bunch of years before that as well. The notion of a “clean slate” is an optimistic over-simplification.

Ah, but there is good news about resolutions. Who made those bad habits into habits to begin with? Correct, it was you. And since you created the habit of eating too much fast food, you also have the power to un-make that habit. This is excellent news!

I’m not saying that it is easy to break the old patterns that are not giving you the life or the health you want.  I am saying that it can be done and that you are the only one who can do it. Start on January 1st or start now, but start by imagining how much better your life can be. Write down all the great things that will happen when you spend more time with your family. Make it real, imagine yourself already reaping the rewards of the changes you want to make. Write it down, in all the detail you can think of. The more clear you can get about WHY you want to quit smoking, lose weight, or whatever it is for you, the better your chances are of making a lasting change.

Keep that piece of paper, the one listing how great it will be to reach your goal, in your wallet so you will see it often. Or tape it to the bathroom mirror so you start and end your day looking at it. Use it as a bookmarker, type it into your screen saver, just get it in front of your eyeballs a few times a day.

Most people don’t make it through January without giving up on their resolution. You don’t have to be one of those people. I am rooting for you. You can do it!

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