Happy New Year! A new year, a fresh start, a new beginning, an opportunity to start over and begin again. There is much published about making and breaking New Year's Resolutions in the media today. Whether it be losing weight, being more financially fiscal, improving your relationship with a family member, or organizing your kitchen cabinets. If you search the web or papers, you will find many tips on how to begin to accomplish your resolutions.
I am a big fan of New Year's resolutions. They allow us to assess and evaluate areas of our lives we would like to change and improve. By assessing areas of our lives we would like to change it allows us to be mindful. Being mindful not only means being actively aware but allows us to increase our conscious awareness. Resolutions are our opportunity to think about our values and our ideal selves by setting behavioral goals rather than drifting along in our habitual, often unconscious patterns of living.
Below are some tips for help you to better set goals and achieve them this New Year.
1. Be specific. Pick a few specific behaviors, and set manageable goals rather than trying to change everything at once. The overall goal may be to run a 5K this year but that goal begins by walking around the block once a day until you can run around the block with the goal of gradually building up to the 5K.
2. Make a public commitment. Let your friends and family know. This keeps you accountable.
3. Get social support. Similiar to making a public commitment, gathering up support from friends and family is helpful. You may also find that friends and family may want to work with you on similiar goals. The success of programs that provide support such as Weight Watchers or volunteer groups show great success collectively and individually.
4. Make it rewarding. Give yourself a treat for sticking to your plan. After walking around the block for 5 out of 7 days, get yourself a manicure or meet a friend for a cup of coffee. Make sure the rewards don't undermine the goal you're trying to achieve.
5. Most importantly, remember you are doing this for yourself. You cannot make changes unless you feel they are iimportant and salient in your life. Remember you are working towards a larger goal and that life and change is a journey and a process.
Also remember that each new day and each new moment is an opportunity to try again. Taking things day by day, moment by moment, hour by hour allow us to remain mindful and aware of our actions and behaviors and allow us to consistently and constantly work on the bigger picture. At the end of the year, it is the culminative changes that we asses, isn't it. By remembering they don't occur instantly and that with resolutions there is usually not immediate gratification allows us to make mistakes, learn from them, and try again.
Wishing you a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!