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Keeping new years resolutions

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New year's toast
This year, I will stop drinking champagne. Oops!
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New years resolutions and how to keep them

For many of us, keeping new years resolutions is like trying to capture the wind. They have a way of slipping by and making us feel that new years is a time of deprivation, promise and responsibility. Have you vowed to eat or not eat something that already, after the new year is in full force barely a day, is giving you trouble? Then why bother with all this guilt and pretense? Give me your Twinkie, your tired, your poor, and follow these tips, which may or may not help you in keeping new years resolutions.

1- Make reasonable resolutions

Reasonable goals seem to fit the expectations of reasonable adults, wouldn’t you say? (I see you nodding your head.) The problem is that we are all in hurry to do just about anything we set our minds to do. We want change to be like an express train. The surest way to fall short of keeping new years resolutions is to make them unrealistic. For instance, resolving to never eat a favorite food again will probably not work. Strive for avoiding that food more often than you do now.

2- Plan ahead

You should be thinking of keeping new years resolutions long before December 31st. The problem with waiting until the last minute is that the decision for your resolutions will be based on your mindset that particular day.

3- Have a plan

Make an outline describing how you will deal with whatever you wish to change in your life. Whether it involves putting off exercise or not taking that next cigarette, you need help. You may want to call a friend (perhaps someone dealing with exorcising the same demons) or practice positive thinking. Even though Oscar Wilde once said that he “could resist everything but temptation,” you don’t have to go there.

4- List pros and cons

Keeping new years resolutions require motivation and this will help to keep you in touch with your resolve to eliminate or add a particular habit or regimen to your life. There’s something about seeing it on paper that adds to the concrete nature of your motivation. If you can, carry the list with you so that you can add to it as ideas cross your mind.

5- Talk, talk and then talk some more about it

The more you talk about what you wish to change about yourself, the more a part of you that behavioral change becomes. Although it’s not quite like “wishing and making it so,” the positive impetus is still there, bolstered by support from family members and friends.

6- Reward yourself when you do follow through

Celebrate your success in little but significant ways. Pick a reward that does not contradict your resolution. If for example, you avoided sampling that tempting box of chocolates because you have made a resolution to eat better, reward yourself by going to a movie or making time to visit some special place.

7- Don’t beat yourself up if you slip

Be your own best friend and realize that obsessing over the occasional slip won't help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take each day one at a time.

Keeping new years resolutions must be kept in proper perspective. They should be geared to improve the quality of your life, whatever that may be. Although on the surface it clearly seems like a success or fail venture, it is rather a test of the human spirit to constantly strive to improve itself.  If it all proves too much, you can always try another approach:

 This year, I will make a resolution to make no resolutions!

 Happy New Year, whatever you do!

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