Keeping your New Year’s Resolutions (in February)

As January comes to a chilly and uneventful end, many our New Year’s Resolutions are starting to resemble a vase of dead flowers: a few weeks ago they were beautiful, alive, and vibrant but now…  You’re not alone if you made a great attempt at keeping resolutions for the first few days (or hours) of 2010, but then got busy or tired and gave up.  However, just because you’ve lost momentum, doesn’t mean you can’t get back on track again.  Here’s some help:

  • Track your progress.
    Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and small accomplishments will help keep you motivated. Instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, say, focus on losing that first 5 and keeping it off.
  • Tell your friends and family.

One school of thought says that New Year’s resolutions are best kept to oneself, but look at it this way: the more people to whom you announce your resolution (say, to quit smoking), the more people there will be to prod you along if you fall behind. There’s no shame in seeking help if you can’t accomplish your resolution on your own.  Chances are, if your best friend is checking your purse for cigarettes or your sister is sniffing your hair for smoke, you might be more inclined to stay focused on your goal.

  • Don’t beat yourself up.
    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.  Remind yourself, no one is perfect and it’s unrealistic to think you’ll never need a “free pass” kind of day.  That’s the beauty of our calendar system: if you overindulge in Ci Ci’s buffet tonight (mmmm, those cinnamon rolls), tomorrow is a totally fresh start.
  • Stick to it.
    Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit, and 6 months for it to become part of your personality. Your new healthful habits will become second-nature in no time.
  • Keep trying!
    If your resolution has totally run out of steam by mid-February, don’t despair. Start over again! There’s no reason you can’t make a “New Year’s resolution” any time of year.  Valentine’s Resolutions anyone?
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