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Reworking the New Year's Resolution

01/07/2015 09:33AM ● Published by Kimberly Boney

Resolution Revolution

January 2015
By Kimberly Boney

New Year's resolutions can be dicey business. We all start off the year with the grandest of hopes and dreams, ready to conquer the world, one well-intentioned resolution at a time. On January 1, we stand strong, resolved to change ourselves from the inside out. And yet, right around mid-January, we might already be starting to feel that little voice inside of us wondering if we bit off more than we can chew and begging a most important question: “Do we have to?”

Perhaps it isn’t the resolution itself that is flawed, but the way we approach it. Instead of setting ourselves up for failure, we might just need a change of perspective. Modify that resolution from a disappointment-inducing mountain of a goal to a realistic I-can-do-this win that is sure to help you to be your best self in 2015.

OLD RESOLUTION:
I will lose 15 pounds this year (if it kills me).
NEW RESOLUTION:
I will make more time for physical activity this year.

WHAT THIS MEANS:
Instead of setting an exact weight loss goal – one that, frankly, isn’t always in your control – try easing into a new healthy mode of diet and exercise. Going to the gym or running on a treadmill for an hour isn’t for everyone. Find an exercise regime that you enjoy - whether it’s biking, walking the River Trail, swimming, roller skating or playing basketball after work – and it’ll become a habit you want to take on and keep for a lifetime. Exercise can be fun. Consider playing a game of tag or hide and seek with your kids outside for 30 minutes or tromping around in the snow at Eskimo Hill for a few hours on a winter’s afternoon and watch your heart rate and your spirit soar.

OLD RESOLUTION:
I will reconnect with my long-lost (you fill in the blank), even though things ended badly the last time we spoke.
NEW RESOLUTION:
I will find forgiveness and make my peace with whatever feelings of anger and resentment I have for (enter a loved one’s name here) this year.

WHAT THIS MEANS:
Sometimes, reconnecting with loved ones with whom we have had a complicated relationship isn’t as simple as we’d like it to be. We may go in expecting a complete reconciliation when the other party isn’t in the same frame of mind. We can only control our own feelings and responses. Understand that it takes strength and character to apologize but it takes active participation from both sides to repair a broken relationship. If the other person isn’t willing to accept your olive branch of peace, give it anyway. Find peace, forgiveness and closure even if they can’t do the same. Letting go of past hurts is a process that everyone handles differently. Give yourself and the other person the time and space necessary to move on from the pain.

OLD RESOLUTION:
I will take at least one day a week for myself this year.
NEW RESOLUTION:
This year, I will cherish moments of quiet “me time” when they come.

WHAT THIS MEANS:
Let’s face it. Our lives are incredibly busy. Between family and friends, work and school, we suffer the loss of “me time.” You may not always be able to take full day per week to spend time doing only what you want to do. But you can find happy “me moments” throughout the day to refresh your mind and spirit when you need it most. Find a bench at your favorite
park and enjoy your lunch there. Take a relaxing bubble bath or drink a cup of tea after work. Read a book for 30 minutes before bedtime. It may not seem like much, but 30 minutes of peace may be all the difference you need.

OLD RESOLUTION:
I will adhere to a strict budget this year and will not buy anything but the necessities.
NEW RESOLUTION:
I will spend my money more wisely this year and invest in the things I need and a few of the things I want.

WHAT THIS MEANS:
There is nothing wrong with adhering to a budget. Keeping your finances in order is necessary for living life with peace of mind and is the mark of adulthood. But telling yourself that you can’t treat yourself to something because it’s not “a necessity” might just be the quickest route to binge buying. If you are dieting for months on end and you finally catch a whiff of that freshly baked apple pie, an act of God may not keep you from devouring the entire thing. You work hard. You deserve to treat yourself on occasion. Once in a while, commit to purchasing something that isn’t on the list of necessities. Price the item you have in mind. Go home.
Look at your funds. Make a decision about how much you can spend on it and stick to it. Do not make any impulse buys. Walk in with a plan in mind and don’t get distracted from that plan. Get in. Get the item. Get out. Now enjoy your treasure. You’ve earned it.

OLD RESOLUTION:
I will never (enter bad habit here) again.
NEW RESOLUTION:
I will make a commitment to living a healthier life starting now.

WHAT THIS MEANS:
Quitting a bad habit can be a frustrating process, not only for you, but for everyone who knows and loves you. If you are attempting to break away from a bad habit, don’t put unrealistic pressure on yourself to break that habit instantly. You certainly didn’t acquire that habit overnight and aren’t likely to get rid of it overnight, either. Start by making a promise to yourself or a loved one that you don’t want to disappoint every morning when you wake up that you won’t (enter bad habit here) today. Today is a realistic goal. It may be hard. It may seem virtually impossible to follow through on your promise. But take it one day at a time. Renew that promise every day. Stay away from whatever (or whoever) triggers your need to participate in the bad habit. If you are a smoker, decide to smoke one cigarette a day until the pack you have is finished and don’t buy another pack. Find an activity that takes your mind off of your need to smoke. Every day it will become easier to keep that commitment to yourself and your loved ones. And next thing you know, that bad habit will be a thing of the past.


In Print, Life+Leisure
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