How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions

1/5/2015 - 8:16:43 AM

 

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. 
-Rainer Maria Rilke

This may be different for everyone else, but now that the holidays are over I am breathing a sigh of relief that life is about to become normal again. Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but with all the celebration sandwiched between November and December now seems like a good time to relax and breath normally again. Days will get back into schedule, resolutions made will probably relax as well, and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years will be tucked away until we dust it off like all the decor and ornaments that we’re putting away.

Speaking of resolutions relaxing, this is right around the time when what we were all revved up about last week is looking hard this week. Apparently this whole resolution thing has been going on quite some time, and since people then are like people now I’m guessing folks three quarters of a century ago had a hard time keeping their goals too.
Here’s a few of them.

1940’s

  • Understand others better, control my temper
  • Stop smoking or smoke less
  • Take more part in home life
  • Lose/gain weight
  • Stop drinking or drink less
  • Go to church more

2015

  • Lose weight
  • Spend less
  • Quit smoking
  • Fall in love
  • Spend more time with family
  • Learn something new
Huh. Quite a few similarities, but some differences as well. For instance, going to church more doesn't seem to make the 2015 list, and no one in the 40’s mentioned falling in love. The only difference between the two full lists seemed to be the people in the 40’s were more concerned with their character, because both lists were full of resolutions for better health, saving money, and spending time with family.

We don’t know if people in the 40’s kept their resolutions, but we sure intend to do a better job at keeping ours. With that in mind we’ve come up with a few reasons why we often fail ourselves around January 15th - February 1 and the ways to keep going.

Biting off more than we can chew

This is the big reason most resolutions don’t make it past the second week of January, because we create a long list of good intentions that we can’t keep. Humans can only really focus on effective change a little at a time, and to start out as if we’ve already finished is killing our results. For example, instead of saying I’m going to lose 15 pounds this year, break it down a little and say, “in January I’m going to give up my daily dessert (or two for some of us) and work out once a week.” Now this is only for January, and makes so a whole awful year with no ice cream doesn’t loom before you. This way you can re-evaulate in February and decide if the results were worth the sacrifice. Very doable, and when you find out you can keep something small, you’ll be stronger to make another step and decide to maybe work out twice a week and also cut out that extra half hour of TV time a day. That way, you’ll eat one less bag of potato chips as well and do something more productive with your time. It’s a win everywhere. One small step is the start to a few more, and eventually, you’ll hit the ground running.

Make less goals

This is very simple. Only make 1-2 big goals, because reasonably that’s probably all you can keep. By all means make a few smaller ones, like making sure to drink coffee every day (joke) but keep the biggies to a bare minimum.

If you make a goal, figure out how to keep it

Vague goals like, “losing 15 pounds” are no good, because you have no idea how you’re going to go about it. You have to have a game plan figured out that will help you get there. Break it down and do some research, ask a friend or just make a simple decision to cut out something that is hindering that weight loss. If your weakness is 3 scoops of ice cream each night, decide to eat only one and see how that goes, and possibly look into replacing it with something else eventually.

Make a specific decision that will help your goal, otherwise your goal won’t happen.

Keep at it for at least a month

A decision to change something is a decision you make now that has delayed results for later. If you decide to do something make sure to do it for a month, because that is how long it takes to form a new habit or see results. It’s been studied that most people don’t form any kind of habit until they’ve done if for a minimum of three weeks, and pulling in the extra week helps to solidify the beginning of positive results.

Be Reasonable

Because honestly, who wants to avoid ice cream for the rest of your life? The trouble is not eating ice cream, it is when the ice cream gets in the way of something that you really positive and are working toward. For that you can decide to skip out most days, and then indulge 1-2 other times. Set a goal just a little way in front of yourself and then treat yourself when you make it. If you know you can eat the ice cream on Sunday, you’ll be more likely to skip out Thursday.

It’s ok to fail

Now this is not something we recommend doing a lot of, because you might just make a habit of failing. But it’s also the type of thing that if it does happen then don’t beat yourself up. Get back up, dust yourself off and try again.

Eat better salad

Honestly, who doesn’t make more salad part of New Years weight loss resolution? So if you’re one of those people we have one final piece of advice for you. Eat more than just lettuce and water. Make the salad fun, enjoy eating it. This is actually about more than just salad. If we make our resolutions into a boring must-do, we’ll soon lose all heart to follow through. Keep it new and fresh, make it fun if possible. If you have to exercise more, make sure you like the type of exercise you’re doing. Just because everyone else into yoga, or zumba, or pilates doesn’t mean you have to be. If you do better at bike-riding, or aerobics, or swimming, then find a way to do that because you’ll probably actually stick to it. Want to spend more quality time with family? Don’t just shut off the TV and stare at each other, make sure to replace that time with something fun, like laser tag, or bike-riding, or a trip to the beach.

Once again, if you enjoy doing something, or eating something, you’ll repeat it.

Colorific Salad

Salad:

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 c. pecans
  • ½ purple onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 c. honey roasted sesame sticks

Dressing:

  • 1 c. sugar
  • ½ c. oil
  • ? c. vinegar
  • ¼ c. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 T. onion flakes
  • 1 T. mustard
  • 2 T. mayonnaise
In a large bowl combine all the salad ingredients. Combine dressing ingredients and mix well in blender. Just before serving pour dressing over salad and toss lightly.

Tip: Cut the recipe in half if necessary. This is one of those salads that isn’t great day old.

Cheers to 2015!

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