New Year Resolutions

The new year is a time for new beginnings, and many people choose this day to take positive steps to make their lives better. However, New Year resolutions are notorious for being broken by Valentine’s Day. If you can stick to the common ones, you will be a happier, healthier person long before 2014 rolls around.

Some of the most common New Year resolutions include:

  • Losing weight
  • Eating healthier
  • Drinking less
  • Quitting smoking
  • Managing stress

However, people aren’t always good at sticking with these good intentions. Generally the trouble is people ruing their unhealthy ways overcompensate for them, and try a fix that proves unsustainable. For example, as many people as tell themselves “this is the year I get fit,” studies show 60 percent of January gym memberships go unused; rather than replace it with an easier—and more appropriate—workout, these people often give up entirely. Similarly, would-be healthy eaters run into the problem of holding themselves to stricter diets than they are capable of maintaining, and fall back into their old habits.

The trouble is that making an incremental change seems insufficient, but making a large change is often difficult. However, not trying to do too much too soon is probably the best way of making resolutions stick. A person only has so much self-control, and there is a tendency to rebel even against yourself. In addition to making resolutions that are easy to keep, make it easy to keep your resolutions. If you want to work out more, try jogging in your neighborhood; if you need the equipment and climate control of a gym, join one near your work or someplace else that you’ll be near every day.

Another trick is to write your resolutions down and tell people about them—not people who are going to nag you incessantly, but friends and family members whom you can count on for gentle reminders when you need them, and backing off when you need that. Lastly, recognize that you’ll likely slip up, prepare for it, and don’t let yourself use on lapse, or even several, as an excuse to give up entirely. A bowl of ice cream isn’t the end of the diet, and having a cigarette today doesn’t mean you have to have one tomorrow.

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