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Monday, May 25, 2020
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Keep Those New Year's Resolutions!


     Is it really possible to keep those resolutions? That depends on a lot of factors. But there are some things we can do to set ourselves up for success. 

  • Limit your resolutions to one or two. Be realistic. Can you diet and quit smoking at the same time? Probably not. So, choose the goal which is most important to you and focus on that. When you have achieved it, you can build on that success as you move to your next goal.

  • Get all the information you need before you get started. If your resolution is to lose weight, learn about nutrition and exercise. Talk to your doctor about your health, weight loss goals and the safest way to achieve them. Investigate several different weight loss plans before deciding which you will follow. Knowledge is power, and gathering as much pertinent information as you can before embarking on your weight loss plan will give you the best start toward reaching your goal. 
  • Don’t try to go it alone. We all do better when we use the buddy system. Someone else with the same problems and goals can be a great source of strength. Groups are great when you’re trying to lose weight or quit smoking because you can cheer each other on. Even one other person can be helpful as an accountability partner. But, remember, not everyone is an encourager. Avoid toxic people when you’re trying to achieve a goal. You don’t need someone telling you why he thinks you can’t achieve your goal or why he couldn’t achieve his. Only share your goals with people who will be positive about them. 
  • Reach your goal one small step at a time by breaking it up into smaller portions. A resolution to lose 30 pounds can be overwhelming. A resolution to lose 2 pounds seems very achievable. Or look at it this way. A pound equals 3500 calories. Divided up by the days of the week, that’s 500 calories a day. If you consume 250 fewer calories per day by cutting out your daily soda and burn 250 more calories by taking a brisk walk after dinner each day, you can conceivably lose 1 pound per week or 52 pounds per year! You can come up with a similar equation for just about any resolution you may want to achieve. 
  • Celebrate along the way. We all respond to positive reinforcement. So treat yourself with something you enjoy at regular intervals as you work toward your goal. But don’t celebrate with the behavior you are trying to change. Don’t celebrate saving more money this year by going out on the town. If your goal is to lose weight, celebrate with a treat other than food. Be creative and find new ways to treat yourself.

  • Keep a journal. Journaling is consistently one of the most effective tools you can employ in the effort to change any behavior. Keep a food journal if you are dieting. Keep a journal of your physical and emotional state as you are weaning off cigarettes or begin a new exercise routine. Journals prevent us from getting into that zone in which we mindlessly indulge in the behavior we want to change. It also keeps us honest and is a great way to track progress or set-backs.  
  • Trade a bad habit for a good one. Quitting a habitual behavior may leave a big void in your life, particularly if it is addictive like smoking or alcohol abuse. You may need to fill that void with something else you enjoy that is healthier for you until your mind and body make the emotional and physical adjustments needed to end the unwanted behavior. 
  • Be kind to yourself. There is nothing easy about ending a bad habit. You will have set-backs…count on it. But a set-back isn’t failure. It’s just a bump in the road. If you fall off the wagon, get back on as quickly as possible. Whether you’re on the wagon, or running alongside it, you’re still on the road to change.  
  • Don’t forget your spiritual self. We are more than our bodies and minds. Tapping into that third dimension of self, your spirit, will give you even more tools for achieving your goal. Prayer is powerful. So, don’t forget to pray through your struggles and your successes;: and if you are comfortable doing so, ask others to pray for you.