January 28, 2014

BETTER LIVING | How to Commit to Your Resolutions

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By JESSICA SOLOMON

As 2013 transitioned into 2014, the present became the past and the future turned into now. The start of the New Year is always a sentimental time. I know I can’t be the only one who is looking back to the beginning of 2013, dumbfounded at how last year escaped me. There are always changes we vow to make, but they are usually followed by disappointment and feelings of failure when a whole year has flown by and our goals are still distant fantasies.

Whether we were in Times Square watching the ball drop or at home screaming out the last seconds of 2013, there was one thing in the back of all our minds as the year trickled to an end: the great changes we would make in 2014. This year we pledge to focus more on fitness and health, spend more time with our families, save more money and etc. Yet how many times have we abandoned these ideals and have instead taken the comfortable route leaving life unchanged?

While our original intentions are strong and positive, the idealistic goals many of us set become unattainable and slowly fade to the back of our consciousness. But hey, it’s only three weeks into the New Year, and now is NOT the time to give up.

Here’s what you need to do to make this year different: Create a calendar or a check list, something concrete and creative that you can use to measure your progress. Map out your intentions for the next few months (or even the whole year if you’re feeling ambitious) by physically writing out the changes you hope to make by certain dates. Next list the baby steps you will take to get there. Have treats or rewards planned for when you do reach your goals (however small they are!).

To see how to turn a resolution into action, let’s look at the most common and least achieved New Years resolution of losing weight. Setting unrealistic goals for your body type and eating habits leads to diminishing self-confidence and a sense of failure. Rather than telling yourself you won’t be happy until you shed ten pounds, focus on getting healthy and you will achieve weight loss. “Getting healthy” doesn’t involve hitting the gym every day or strictly cutting out bread and sweets. Instead, vow to try new workout classes once a week, something that will keep you interested and excited. Tell yourself you are going to eat healthy because it will make you feel better overall (it really does!). Also, teaming up with a friend will spark your motivation and commitment to the end goal.

Think about yourself a year from now: accomplished, proud, and satisfied. Check in with your motives and your future self to get back on track today.

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