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Notes from Cara

15 Jan 2015

New Year’s Resolutions I Can Keep

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It is the beginning of a new year, which means that everyone is making resolutions. Some of them are really great, too – people are resolving to shed some pounds, eat more veggies, read more, learn Mandarin… Like I said, these are great resolutions, but they all seem to take so much work. I mean, learning Mandarin takes hours and months and years of studying, and losing weight is a daily commitment to going to the gym and eating well. They may sound awesome in January, but what about in March, when the excitement of the new year is long gone and motivation wanes?

When I set goals, I want to achieve them, so this year, instead of making resolutions that might be abandoned by February, I’m going to set some goals I know I can reach:

I vow to work hard to continue to grow both professionally and personally, but I also resolve to live in the present and embrace the “shiny objects.” I’ll give myself permission to be occasionally distracted by the celebrity gossip my friends re-tweet, the latest cat meme online and that YouTube video that makes me cry every time I watch it (I know this, but I still watch it)!

I vow to be more active at home and on the road.. Can the walk be to my refrigerator? Does walking through the mall to the shoe store count? Walking is walking thanks to my FITBIT FLEX tracker, right?? If I walk to the freezer to get the ice cream, that knocks out two resolutions with one stone! While I don’t recommend eating an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting often, on some days, nothing else does the trick. You gotta indulge every once in awhile!

I’ll also resolve to keep these resolutions. While, admittedly, it may not be too hard to keep these ones, making a real change in life can be tough. Follow these steps to stay on track with your resolutions all year long:

Change Your Thinking

Resolutions often focus on stopping bad habits or giving something up. For example, you might resolve to “give up junk food” or “stop hitting the snooze button five times each morning.” These both have negative connotations. Instead of thinking about how you are giving something up, think about what you will gain. It is the difference between “I give up junk food” and “I will eat a balanced diet to become healthier.” Making this small change re-frames your resolution into something more positive.

Have a Game Plan

At some point, the temptation to break your New Year’s resolution will arise. Have a solid game plan in place to deal with potential setbacks, like practicing positive thinking, calling a friend for support or reviewing why you made the resolution in the first place.

Forgive Yourself

Even if you resolve to eat a healthy diet and lose weight this year, you will most likely at some point indulge in a hot fudge sundae. And that’s ok! Don’t beat yourself up any time you make a mistake. To stop a slip-up from becoming a full-blown fall, re-evaluate your decisions, think about how you can create a different outcome next time and learn from your choice. We’d never learn anything if we never made mistakes, so forgive yourself, learn from it and move forward.

I want to know — what do you resolve to change this year? And how are you going to make it happen? Share your resolutions in the comments below!