With the New Year – and a new decade – approaching, many people are furiously putting together their New Year’s Resolutions, that often-forgotten-after-the-first-week list of rules and promises you SWEAR you’ll adhere to until the year ends but never quite seem to make it very far. These lists typically include the requisites: lose weight, work out more, stop smoking, so on and so forth, while many include more lofty aspirations, such as get a promotion at work, hike the Appalachian Trail, and cure cancer.
Those last few are clearly hyperbole but representative of how some New Year’s resolutions never make it past the first week. This article will provide some helpful hints on achieving your resolutions and, with a little discipline and hard work, make them stick long into the new year and beyond.
The first thing many people do is attempt to accomplish all of their resolutions at once. Given the tendency for people to make several, the odds of adhering to all of them is pretty slim. Your best bet is to tackle them one at a time. If your list includes lose weight and quit smoking, trying to do both at once cold turkey will make you go insane. Your best bet is to start with the most important one, and once you establish a routine you feel you can follow, start working on the next one. For example, you can start the new year off by gradually changing your diet and exercising a little more, while at the same time cutting back on the number of cigarettes you smoke. The nicotine withdrawal won’t be so bad, and once the weight starts to come off and you’ve entered into a rhythm, you can cut back on smoking even more until you’re down to a cigarette every couple of days. By this time your first resolution has become routine, and quitting smoking can become your primary thought.
When working on your New Year’s resolutions, understand this one, very important bit of information: you will slip up, and you will hate yourself for it. This is one of the main reasons many people don’t stick with their resolutions. You’re going strong with your diet, then you end up at a party and eat a few too many pigs in a blanket, setting off a chain of events that culminates in the attitude, “It was fun while it lasted.” Don’t let it get to you. If you fall off the horse, get right back on. You’re only human.
Finally, one of the best things you can do is chronicle your progress. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, keeping a daily log of what you eat, its nutritional value, and how often you exercise can help you understand what’s effective and what’s not, allowing you to make changes where necessary. Another example would be to chronicle how many cigarettes you smoke on any given day while you’re attempting to quit. A record of the dwindling numbers can be a strong motivating factor, in addition to simply feeling better over time.
In the end, by following this helpful pointers and exhibiting a modicum of discipline, it doesn’t matter what your resolutions are. They CAN be accomplished.
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