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New Year's Eve ... a festive beginning to a new year. It's a good time to take stock and decide to move toward a happier, more organized life.
But too often, what looks so easy as the minute hand approaches midnight falls away in the cold light of January days.
For most of us, New Year's resolutions die a slow and quiet death. They're tossed aside, along with the party hats and noisemakers.
As January winds down, so does motivation, energy and desire for change.
New Year's resolutions wither along with the Christmas poinsettias because they lack strong roots in real life. It's not the resolution that's at fault--it's the follow-through! New Year's resolutions are easy to make, but much harder to make real in the noisy bustle of everyday chores and concerns.
Stop! Don't let those resolutions slip away so quickly! Each one represents a longing of the heart, a reach toward better health, happiness, knowledge or wisdom. Try these concepts to revive and strengthen your New Year's resolutions.
This familiar slogan tells a truth about personal change: however lofty the goal, the engine for making changes comes from small, daily steps. Translate each resolution ( I will lose 15 pounds this year, I will teach myself machine knitting.) into specific daily and weekly actions toward the goal.
Those who wish to lose weight? Resolve to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day, and attend three aerobics classes each week. The would-be machine knitter will spend one-half hour each day working on the lessons in the machine manual, and take a Saturday seminar twice a month. Both have worked out their resolutions into concrete, specific steps toward a larger goal.
Distinguish between your goal and the acts necessary to reach the goal. It's the step-by-step changes each day, each week, that carry a New Year's resolution to fruition.
Humans being what they are, it's far easier to add new behaviors than to subtract old, established habits. As you put your resolutions into action, frame them in terms of positive changes, not negative ones.
Our dieter, who will eat five servings of fruits and vegetables, isn't going to tangle with her passion for chocolate--not just yet. Instead, she'll focus on the good, new added resolution instead of grappling with the old bad habits of a chocoholic. The added fiber and nutrition will go a long way toward reducing hunger, and as her tastes change, she will find the chocolate habit weakened. Only then will she move against the Chocolate Beast, buoyed up by her success.
And even if she never slays the Beast? She's fed her body the good stuff first!
Often, New Year's resolutions evaporate because they're never written down or shared with an accountability partner. Talk's cheap--and never cheaper than when one is fantasizing about change. Too often, the desire to improve fades away with the sound of the conversation.
Put your resolutions on a body-building plan!
First, harness the power of the pen (or computer or smartphone!). Write out each resolution: the goal, reasons for aspiring to the goal, and the individual steps--daily, weekly, monthly--that you'll use to reach the goal. Putting a resolution in writing lets you refer to it often, and gives the plan a substance and validity that will help create motivation.
Print a free New Year's Resolutions form to track your progress!
Planner users review their resolution plan during each day's planning session. Posting the resolution on the refrigerator door reminds a dieter of his or her goal.
Best of all, find an accountability partner: a trusted friend, family member or support group who is invested in the success of your resolution. Share your resolution with your accountability partner, and work out a check-in system at least once a week. An accountability partner can celebrate successes, help analyze failures, and provide a hefty dose of motivation on a regular basis.
Online support groups offer instant accountability and support, and can be great motivators as you put New Year's resolutions into practice. Only one clutterholic can truly understand another clutterholic's euphoria at clearing a shelf or decluttering a drawer. Best, online groups are available 24 hours a day to listen, advise and share.
Web sites and mobile apps can help bolster New Year's resolutions with resources and inspiration. Whether it's tracking exercise and diet, keeping a gratitude list, or working on your reading list, check out tech helpers to promote healthy change.
Don't let New Year's resolutions fall victim to the first little slip! Those who study successful self-change know that one indicator for eventual success at changing habits is previous unsuccessful attempts at change.
When you do fall off the plan sit back and figure out why--then work to solve the problem standing between you and your goal. Is that resolution to exercise falling by the wayside in a busy life? Sit down and schedule the gym first each day. Was the new diet sabotaged by fast-food lunches? Decide to set aside an hour each Sunday to assemble a healthier substitute for the week's lunches.
Then try again! Don't let a small stumble stand in the way. Learn from each setback, and keep moving forward.
The new year is only just begun. Don't count those New Year's resolutions out--just yet! Breath new life into them, and move toward a more organized, healthier, happier life in your organized home. Be it resolved!