Welcome to 2016! Today is the first day of a brand new year. It is a fresh start, a new beginning, and the first day that you can launch your New Year’s resolutions campaign. According to the Statistics Brain Research Institute (www.statisticbrain.com), 45% of Americans consistently make resolutions at the start of each year. Only 8% of resolution makers actually succeed. Why is this? Is it because we make too many resolutions, or that we make unrealistic resolutions, or that after a month the motivation that comes with the opportunity for self- reinvention fades? Maybe it’s that we are putting too much pressure on ourselves and too much significance on a simple date, January 1.
The top ten most common New Year’s resolutions, based on the Statistic Brain Research Institute, are to lose weight, get organized, spend less and save more, enjoy life to the fullest, stay fit and healthy, learn something exciting, quit smoking, help others in their dreams, fall in love, and spend more time with family. These are all great goals, and a lot of us are making them every year. However, most of us are failing to accomplish them. It might be time to rethink New Year’s resolutions.
While it is a good idea to have in mind some long-term goals, you might be more successful if you focus on short-term goals continuously throughout the year. A short-term goal might be that in January you are going to stop buying cigarettes, start taking Juice Plus, or have a special lunch date with your mother every other week. Get through January before you start thinking about what marker you will be at with your goal or goals in June. Stay more present minded, instead of jumping too far into the future. The goals that you set for yourself become part of your journey, and that journey is all about one step at a time. You cannot skip steps and expect to be successful.
You have to start sometime, and there is nothing wrong with using the dawning of a new year to inspire the commencement of your journey toward self-improvement. However, don’t let the inevitable pressure of declaring your New Year’s resolutions along with roughly 145,000,000 of your fellow Americans, get in the way of accomplishing what you set out to do.
Making little changes can make monumental differences. Also, psychologically, little goals seem more obtainable than big goals. But, keep in mind that a series of little goals can lead to the triumph of something really big. Remember, you can work on your goals month by month. Start by saying something like this: “During the month of January, I am going to walk my dog every evening after dinner to work toward getting in 10,000 steps a day.” Then build off of that. This approach is more manageable, and more likely to produce successful results. The traditional resolution proposal is usually structured something like this: “This year I am going to walk my dog every day in order to get in 10,000 steps a day.” That seems a little more daunting and the pressure is immediately on to tackle this yearlong goal. For some, maybe that 8%, this approach works, but for the rest of us, it obviously doesn’t. Here are some examples of how this alternative mindset and method work.
Example 1, Goal 1: Work on keeping a positive frame of mind. There are a lot of situations and events that are out of your control. There are also going to be moments where things don’t work out the way that you had planned. It is probably even easier to make a list of things that have or could bring you down, ruin your day, or spiral you into a negative state of mind. Consistently remaining in the negative is more detrimental than you might think. It is more than just dwelling, fuming, or rolling your eyes at everything; it can actually affect your health. Maintaining positive thinking will help you cope with stress better, make you more resilient, improve your immune system, and can even increase your lifespan. By making a resolution to take things as they come, work hard and do the best that you can do, and to just give yourself a break, can help you succeed in all of the other goals that you have set for yourself. Maybe this is the year that you focus on yourself, your career, your happiness, and your attitude. Positive thinking, positive energy, positive year.
Example 2, Goal 2: Eat a more plant-based diet. The United States is the second largest meat consuming country in the world. Eating red meat has been linked to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, and certain types of cancers, among a long list of other negative health effects. Not to mention, that our high demand for livestock products has had a horrendous effect on the environment. Just watch Cowspiracy! This is not an attempt to make everyone a vegetarian, but it would be wise to consider the amount of animal products you are consuming on a daily and weekly basis. By decreasing the amount of meat in your diet, you will start to notice incredible changes in your internal and external health. Throw in some Juice Plus and you might be blown away by how great you feel. Little dietary changes can ultimately lead to a spider web effect of positive life transformations. When you are healthy and you feel well, you tend to be more productive, happier, and open to new opportunities and experiences. You might not realize how important your health is until it is taken away from you.
Remember, little changes can produce big payoffs.
There will be ups and downs throughout any year. If you are tackling your goals one day, one week, or one month at a time, you will feel more often the reward of the changes you are making instead of waiting for the end of a year to allow yourself to be proud or disappointed. You are also less likely to abort your resolutions when you have moments of weakness or get off track because you know that you can always pick up from whatever point you left off on. You don’t have to wait until January 1 to start all over again. You can keep the same resolutions every month, but just take it month by month. Be proud of yourself every step of the way. Life is a continuous journey. Live closer to the present, only glance into the future, and don’t look back on the past.
May this year be filled with love, happiness, and successful resolutions.