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Posted: Monday, December 31, 2018

Making Resolutions That Last

Well, we’ve made it; another year done and a new one just about to begin. And while many of us are gearing up to celebrate the last few hours of 2018, it’s also a time when a lot of us are considering making some significant life changes in 2019 in the form of New Year’s resolutions. The reliable, go-to resolutions are, of course, to lose weight, exercise more or some combination of those ideas. Others may resolve to put a bad habit to rest in the New Year. But whatever you resolve to do in 2019, to avoid breaking that resolution by the second or third week of January, it’s important to be in the right mindset when you make it.

Cheryl Land from the Blount Memorial Wellness Center at Springbrook says resolutions are complicated by their very nature. “The word ‘resolution’ has several definitions, but the one I found most interesting was ‘a firm decision to do or not to do something,’” Land said. “One place to begin when making a resolution is to start by asking ourselves what do we really want for ourselves, and then begin to reflect. Is this what we genuinely want, or is it something someone else wants for us?  Is it something we want to do, or is it something we want to resolve not to do?  Is it a major life decision, or something less daunting but nonetheless important to us? Once we reflect on our options, are we ready to make a firm decision to commit to the process? If not, why not?  What is keeping us from taking the step toward a change?” she explained.

“We could start by thinking about what successes we have had in the past, and what we can learn from our failures,” she continued. “Build on those successes and failures. Often we know what it is we want, but we don’t follow through. Even if we didn’t follow through completely, does that mean we didn’t grow, learn or make progress? Perhaps this year, moment by moment, breath by breath, we will accomplish our firm resolve – whatever we choose to do or not do,” she said. “The important thing to remember is that our journey isn’t over, it is ongoing. If we then decide that we are ready to make a New Year’s Resolution in 2019, perhaps the next step is to refresh our memories about goal setting,” she added.

Land says the first step in goal setting is getting it on paper. “You want to begin by making a specific goal statement and writing it down,” she said. “One note about this, however, only set one goal at a time, as you don’t want to try to tackle too many things at once. Next, break your goal down into a workable time frame. This will allow you to celebrate your successes as you go along. Remember to be kind to yourself when you have setbacks, and continue working your plan. We’re only human,” she explained. “Remember that change is a process not just an outcome,’” she added.

“Just keep in mind that the idea to make a resolution is the easy part,” Land continued. “The harder part is to make the firm decision, which takes planning and discipline. Whatever you firmly decide to do or not do this year, whether it is to begin exercising, quit smoking, start volunteering, refrain from judging or to love greatly, with faith, hope, love, discipline and planning, you can achieve your resolution,” she added.

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