How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Girl WritingI’ve always believed that any time of year is good for resolutions, but it’s definitely thrilling to have that fresh-start-feeling for 2013.  There are a few things I’m working on this year.

I know it’s cliche, but healthy eating is on my list.  I got some wonderful new cookbooks for Christmas, so I really want to stick to my healthy diet, cooking from scratch and avoiding processed foods and preservatives for my family.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a great cook, so I really need to practice and hone my cooking skills and learn to try again when I fail.

Exercise is also a cliche resolution, and I want to emphasize that I’m not going in with a weight loss goal, just an overall health goal.  Have you ever noticed that exercise is the answer for so many health issues; fatigue, depression, anxiety, stress relief? It also helps thwart serious illnesses and disease.  I don’t really need to wail on my pecks everyday, but I do need to increase my weekly exercise time.

I’ve been working on a novel for over a year now, and would like to finish it and publish it this year.  The publishing process is a complete nightmare, so this is going to be my hardest resolution.  I really need to have a strong will, perseverance and determination.

So…usually we stop at listing our resolutions, but how do we really make a plan of action and hold onto them throughout the year? Most of us (including me) make resolutions and push really hard to stick to them in January (it’s the busiest time of year for the gyms!).  Then, as the year goes on, we slowly forget about them or they start to sink to the bottom of our priority list.  Then we make excuses for why we didn’t stick to them.  To stick to goals you have to make a plan of action, and here’s some ideas I have to keep to resolutions:

1) Don’t make resolutions that will be impossible to stick to.  Are you going from not going to the gym at all to going everyday? Are you going from blogging once a month to blogging once a day?  Make goals that will realistic fit into your schedule and be achievable.

2) Realize that every dream and goal takes hard work.  The thinking, listing and dreaming part is the easy part.  We feel really good when we think about our end goals or achievements, but sometimes we focus so much on that that we forget about the work involved in getting there.  You need to be rock solid, tough and prepared to do that work (which is often not very fun).

3) Baby steps.  Truly, every amazing thing is achieved slowly and progressively.  It seems obvious, but I really learned this while working on my book.  It’s such a huge undertaking, but if you’re only doing a little bit every day, you’re still getting closer to your end goal.  You have to get rid of any ideas of instant gratification and be prepared to take a long journey before anything really happens.

3) Make a specific time and schedule for the things you want to do.  So I want to exercise more.  I am going to make Monday, Thursday and Sunday mornings my exercise days, plus my yoga class on Wednesday evenings.  I want to cook more, and weekdays tend to get away from me, so Sunday will be my cooking and freezing day.  Scheduling things is the best way to make them routine and once they become routine, they are not as easily let go.

4) Don’t give up.  Are you going to fall off your schedule? Most definitely.  But try to get back on it asap and don’t beat yourself up about it.  I fell pretty severely off my super-health diet over Christmas, but I’m okay with that because I’m working really hard now to get back on it, and it’s much easier than it was when I first started. Accept that you’re not perfect but you’re doing what you can and the important thing is to not lose sight of your goals, and try again when you fail.

falldown

Ok, now I’ve put these things in writing and published them.  Let’s see if I can follow my own advice this year!

How do you stick to your goals or resolutions?

Photo Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Quote Courtesy of tumblr.com

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