How to Make Meaningful New Year's Resolutions Last in 2012
Well, it's here. The year 2012. The start of a new calendar year. The start of a new academic term in grad school and the Fisher MLHR program. And I know that with every new year comes (and I almost hate to say it) an attempt by many well-intentioned folks to make some kind of New Year's Resolution. Even as I write this blog, a lot of people are already 17 days DEEP into trying to achieve a myriad of personal resolutions such as: losing weight, getting more organized, saving more money, paying off debt, hitting up the gym to get a P90X beach body, finding that special someone to share life experiences with, eating healthier, taking an exciting and memorable vacation/trip, committing to stop smoking/drinking less, etc. Coupled with starting a new academic term in grad school, new courses, new teammates, etc., it's a challenge to say the least.
Every year most of us (including myself) try to make unique resolutions. We may plan it well and try to stay determined to our plan to fulfill those resolutions. But somehow "something" happens and when we look back mid- year we have found ourselves "off" the New Year's Resolution wagon and back on the "well, there's always next year for me to do it" wagon.
So, for all of us out there who either secretly or openly made resolutions this year, I want to share a few practical ways in which we all can make and achieve the promises we made to ourselves so we can finally produce the long-lasting results we "resolved" during the dropping of the ball.
1. Be realistic. One thing I've learned in my life is this: Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is anything else that is worth doing or accomplishing. If you made a promise this year to lose 38lbs, politely remind yourself that you will not be losing all 38 of those pounds in the first two weeks. It will take time. And a lot of hard work. Sometimes making smaller goals that work along with the overall larger goal can make all the difference in achieving what it is you want.
2. Don't make too many resolutions. Our ability to focus on more than a few things at once is limited. So as it is with achieving your New Year's resolutions. I'm sure you've made a laundry list of things you wanted to accomplish this year. My advice: pick the top two or three things that are most important and meaningful to you...and go after it! You will likely be more productive and will thank yourself for not over committing and regretting never finishing all those resolutions.
3. Write them down...somewhere. If you made a promise to take a vacation to Cancun this year, you need to write it down. More often than not, if it's not being talking about, then it's not being done. Post a beautiful picture of the white sands of Mexico on your bathroom mirror so it will remind and motivate you every morning to do something about making that happen this year! It has worked for me. And I'm certain it will work for you, too.
4. Have some accountability. Involve a friend. Maybe get someone involved with the same thing you are trying to accomplish. There is power in numbers and two is always better than one. Plus, it is a greater motivator to have someone keep you committed to what it is you want to do this year.
5. Expect a slip-up...or two. It's gonna happen. Imagine, it's week 3 and you've been working your tail off to lose that last 21 lbs. You've been eating healthy, sticking to your workout routine and, then...duh duh duuuh...you eat that piece of cheesecake that's been taunting you. Just know this: it happens to everyone. Eating a piece of cheesecake isn't going to derail your weight loss efforts. However, eating an entire pan of cheesecake might. Go into this New Year's resolution thing with realistic (rather than unrealistic) expectations, knowing you might slip-up and that you might not give it your all every day. What matters is that you keep pushing forward and achieve what it is you set out to do.