Tips on Making Good New Year’s Resolutions

ImageBy Krysti Jasper

Tradition dictates that every 365 days, you should try to kick bad habits and start your life anew. Unfortunately, it’s a stark irony of living in Iowa that the New Year turns over smack dab in the middle of winter-the one time of the year when most people can’t rouse themselves to clean their bathrooms, much less make an ambitious, life-changing, behavioral U-turn.   So if you’re the type who likes to ring in the New Year with an engraved list of resolutions, sit down with your drink of choice, a paper and a pen, and reflect: What kinds of New Year’s Resolutions will you make for yourself this January 1st?  

 With plenty of motivation, positive reinforcement and a reasonable goal, you can make your New Year’s resolutions come true. For some resolution hints, please read on. 

1)    Aim low. It goes without saying that most New Year’s resolutions are easier announced (or written) than done-but if you set the bar too high, you’re doomed from the start. Instead of a sweeping declaration like “I will lose 30 pounds by April and finally fit into that dress,” target a goal that’s more attainable, like losing 10 or 15 pounds.

2)    Tell everyone you know. One school of thought says that New Year’s resolutions are best kept to oneself, but look at it this way: the more people to whom you announce your resolution the more people there’ll be to prod you along if you fall behind. There’s no shame in seeking help if you can’t accomplish your resolution on your own.

3)    Wait until spring. Sometimes the best way to accomplish a New Year’s resolution is to make it at a time of year of your choosing, rather than the one dictated by the calendar. May 1 is a good alternate date, since the change of season will neatly coincide with the change you’re hoping to accomplish in yourself.

4)    Describe your resolutions in specific terms. Instead of “I don’t want to be lazy,” opt for “I want to exercise regularly” or “I will cut down on my television watching by 5 hours each week.”

5)    Find alternatives to a behavior that you want to change, and make this part of your resolution plan. So you want to quit smoking but you smoked to relax yourself? What other forms of relaxation are available to you? 

6)    Above all, aim for things that are truly important to you, not what you think you ought to do or what others expect of you.

 So, after the ball has dropped, the toasts have been made and the confetti has settled, make this New Year a time for reflecting on the past, and more importantly, looking forward to the coming year.  


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