You Can Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions If You Do These Two things

All it takes is a little patience and ingenuity.

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Photo: Markito from Pixabay.

It’s that time of year.

We’ve eaten that last bite of Thanksgiving turkey, and the thanking is done. It was kind of like, “Thanks! Next?” We launched ourselves from the dinner table and joined the stampede in search of that Black Friday deal that will certainly make someone’s Christmas.

Hopefully, it was worth the effort.

Either way, Christmas is over in a flash, and we move on to the next hurdle: New Year’s resolutions. We commit to transform our lives, to become a better version of ourselves, and that journey begins on January 1st.

According to Business Insider, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week in February. A third do not make it past January.

Why? For the simple reason, we put too much pressure on ourselves to achieve. We judge ourselves harshly and do not show ourselves enough compassion. And often, we do not make a plan we can stick with.

New habits need to be daily, weekly, or monthly practices. Remember, everything takes time, and a New Year’s resolution is supposed to last the entire year.

Change is good. And it keeps us on our toes.

We should make resolutions, and New Year’s is the perfect time to begin. But it’s not the only day. We should be making improvements and trying new things on a smaller scale and on a regular basis.

You’ve got to:
1/ Make a plan
2/ Take baby steps

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Focus on the positive

Mindset is the key to success.

Most New Year’s resolutions focus on bad habits: lose weight, save money, and my favorite but one of the most challenging-stop smoking.

I say, “habits be damned.” Enjoy them. Why start the new year by honing in on all you’re doing wrong? Why not focus, or refocus, on something you used to like to do or have been wanting to try? How about rediscovering what used to give you pleasure?

If nothing comes to mind, explore the internet, and find online courses.

How about meditating? Here’s a website from Udemy with some of the top teachers in the world, and you can do it at home. The average cost is $11.99, and some are free.

Once you’ve in the swing of things, then maybe you can go back to changing one habit. And stick with dealing with one at a time.

You can build. But lay a good foundation and take your time.

Bad Habits

Bad habits took time to take root in our lives.

You planted the seed, watered it, and yes, let it grow roots. Now you want to uproot it. Just as it took time to form, it will take time to uproot.

Be patient with yourself. Treat yourself like you would a good friend. If s/he made a mistake or had a temporary set back, would you demean them and tell then to give up?

I doubt it. You’d encourage your friend to keep going. Do the same for yourself. Start and restart as many times as you need.

Be your best friend.

And remember, you don’t fail until you give up.

Popular Bad Habits

Eat healthier
This doesn’t mean give up all your junk food at once, but again, breaking it down the habit, so you’re changing one thing.

How about adding vegetables? Add a small side salad to your lunch. If that’s pizza, then the salad will be a healthy addition. This is what I did, and I’m still doing it five years later.

The next obvious thing you should add is fruit. Yes, fruit and vegetables, those things around the periphery of the supermarket and not in the aisles, are two healthy and easy additions.

Maybe have an apple for dessert after lunch. Or add fruit to your breakfast. Try orange juice with a little pulp for an added benefit.

Exercise more
More can mean a lot of things. Again, it’s in how you pace yourself.

Walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator. If you’re in a highrise building, walk up and take the elevator from the second or third floor. After a couple of months, walk up an additional level.

Walk around the block.

Park in the spot furthest from your destination.

Do it every day. It adds up.

Lose Weight
Reread numbers one and two.

The only thing I would change is, eat less of your favorite junk or fatty food. Cut down a little bit at a time.

To lose weight and keep it off, you have to make a healthy diet and exercise a part of your life for the rest of your life, i.e., a lifestyle change. Don’t think of it as depriving yourself and, in fact, don’t deprive yourself.

Eat some of that cruddy food. Just less. And do it in small increments. Take baby steps.

Don’t think of it as, “I’ll deprive myself, and then I’ll go back to eating everything I want and as much as I want.” You need to do it slowly. Take the entire year.

If you love chips, buy a smaller bag. If you love ice cream or chocolate, buy less. And don’t go for the low-fat versions unless you enjoy them. This new way of eating has to be something you can stick with for the long run.

Save Money
Don’t put an amount in how much money you save. If it’s only ten or twenty bucks a week, it’s still more than you had in your account before you deposited it.

If you can do 10 percent, that’s fabulous.

Just stick with whatever you decide.

If you’re having trouble saving even a little, make yourself accountable to someone else. Make the deposit and show your husband, wife, partner, best friend, mother or father the slip.

Quit Smoking
As an ex-smoker, this is one of my favorites.

I have been smoke-free for over 40 years, and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.

It will save you money. You’ll smell better. And in years to come, you’ll be grateful for your healthy lungs and heart.

I joined a Smoke-Enders Group that met once a week. There are several on-line courses as well as groups that meet in hospitals.

What helped me most was having a support group, and there are quite a few out there. I won’t belabor this one as I’ve written a couple of blogs on how to quit that I’ll reference here.

It’s a huge achievement, but again, begin by cutting down.

So there it is.

Be patient with yourself and take your time. Take such tiny steps that it’s almost harder to make an excuse not to take them than to take them.

If it means eating one less chip, smoking one less cigarette a day, or taking six extra steps, then that’s fine. You’re still making progress.

And in a year, you’ll see that all the tiny steps have added up.


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Marilyn is a writer, yogi, and spiritual medium. Her favorite people are animals, especially ones that meow. She loves the ocean and hates one-use plastic.

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