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Living Life Realistically vs. Making New Year’s Resolutions

Resolution time of year.  New year, new you am I right? 

And why not?  New beginnings are always exciting and wonderful. 

The possibilities are virtually endless. 

This is the year for change. 

Yet resolutions dwindle down within a few days and become non-existent by mid-February.  Why?  Well, primarily because most resolutions aren’t set in reality.  Resolutions are more equatable to a pipe dream than an actual goal.  Think about it, the more popular resolutions revolve around drastically altering a habit; however, it takes time and patience to create new habits (on average sixty-six days).  Making such drastic changes (working out every day or quitting smoking) can be a huge mountain to climb.  And it is even more challenging if a plan is not in place.

That’s why I propose living realistically- daily.  Instead of making those grandiose resolutions try making small changes to your daily lifestyle.  Those changes will add up over time and are easier to incorporate than drastic alterations done all at once. 

Don’t set yourself up for goals that you may not be motivated to stick with long term.  If you aren’t ready to give up sugar, then attempting to quit cold turkey Jan 1 may prove unsuccessful.  Instead think of the changes you can make on a daily basis that can help lead you to the bigger goal (maybe it’s decreasing the number of sugary beverages in a day). 

If you are ready to take a more realistic approach to wellness, try incorporating these four tips below:

#1– Identify you why: Why do you smoke in the first place?  Does it help you deal with stress?  Do you use it to socialize with others?  Has it become part of your identity?  Finding the why behind the habit is key to stopping it.  Take pen to paper and write down the “why” that is causing the habit.  Your list may be three pages long or one line.  It doesn’t matter.  The goal is to dig deep to find the root of the problem.  Often, the habit is a result of a deeper, underlying issue.

#2– Replace.  Now that you have identified you eat a cookie when boredom hits (it happens), replace that habit (eating a cookie) with another habit (going for a walk, getting a glass of water, talking on the phone, etc.).  Remind yourself the cookie is not what brings you pleasure, but rather the cookie can make boredom disappear and that is what you find pleasurable.  If you can get rid of boredom with a replaceable method, then you will break the habit.

#3– Be Gentle, Be Kind, Be Patient.  One reason resolutions end so quickly is because people want huge results asap.  If after two weeks the 30 lbs. haven’t magically disappeared, then the journey is not worth it.  Habits don’t happen overnight; they evolve over time.  And it is not always a linear progression.  Be compassionate with yourself when obstacles arise and accept the process for what it is.  There will be days when you skip your workout – no matter how much you love Pilates class.  And that is okay.  You do not have to beat yourself up over it.

#4– Track.  Tracking is tedious.  Tracking is work.  Tracking takes time.  Yet, tracking can help you see patterns as they evolve.  You may feel like there has been no progress, but keeping tabs on what you have done, may prove otherwise.  You can be disappointed with yourself because you had a donut – with sprinkles and everything, but if you keep a food diary, you would see that your weekly donut habit actually turned into a bi-monthly one.  A pat on the back.  Without having the data, your brain can easily tell you that you are doing poorly and urge you to quit.  Keeping record of the changes makes it easier to see how far you have come. 

What realistic goals will you be incorporating into your daily life?




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