On Resolutions, Goals, and Healthy New Habits
As I’ve probably pointed out on this self help blog as other places before, I’m a New Year’s Resolutions junkie. In fact, I’m fairly certain NO ONE relishes in these annual goals and resolutions as much as my daughter Emily and I do. We make lists, we share them with one another, and (most importantly) we hold each other responsible during the year. Make no mistake about it, New Years Day is a holiday we enjoy almost as much as any other.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few hard and fast tips for making and keeping resolutions:
- Think of your resolutions as flexible guidelines for living. They may take different forms in the coming weeks and months. As long as you’re moving in the right direction, consider yourself on the right track.
- Write them down.
- Keep your list in a place you’ll see on a daily basis: Maybe in a notebook, planner, or day book you see daily. If you read daily, you could even fold your list of goals and use them as a bookmark. If you aren’t concerned about privacy, pin them to a bulletin board or your refrigerator.
- Be reasonable. Be realistic.
- Make the first day of each month AND the 15th day of each month “Check In” days. Read over your list and see how you’re doing.
- Write your resolutions as GOALS rather than resolutions. For example, saying Weigh 50 pounds less by Christmas sounds grandiose…. because it is grandiose. It also sounds more like a wish than a goal. Instead, write something more along the lines of, Walk for 30 minutes each day, no excuses, Switch from soft drinks to unsweetened tea and water, and Eat more fruits and vegetables and less fries and red meat. The mind likes having concrete things to work with.
- Don’t fall apart if you mess up. If you’ve vowed to cut out french fries, for example, and you fall off the fry wagon, don’t give up. Admit that you’ve cut WAY back on the unhealthy habit and keep on keeping on. At the end of the year, if you can count the number of times you’ve ordered fries on one hand, you’re doing far better than most of us!
Whether you’re dealing with New Year’s Resolutions (no idea why I always capitalize the entire phrase), healthy new habits you’re trying to establish, or a couple of goals your working toward, there are four little words that can help you stay on the right track. Simple words, at that: I am happiest when….
Saying (or writing) these words before a goal connects the goal’s outcome with a very personal, very positive emotion. For some reason, it’s incredibly effective and connects your mind and heart to the goal as though it were its life source. We all want to be happy, right? And the concept of being in our happiest state is certainly going to grab our attention.
Simply look at your goals and resolutions if you’ve written them down or try to catch them as they’re running around in your mind. Connect an “I am happiest when” statement with each of your goals. Below are a few examples with popular resolutions.
- I am happiest when… the house is neat. Make a point to clean house for an hour each day. Always put things where they go right away and never get behind on laundry or dishes.
- I am happiest when… I eat right! Eat more vegetables and fruit. Try different cooking techniques and recipes with fruits and vegetables. Eat less red meat and eat salads or soup instead of fries or chips.
- I am happiest when… I don’t lose my cool. I will count to 10 (or 20 or 30!) before speaking when I feel riled.
- I am happiest when… I get some sort of exercise each day. Walk the dog for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. (If you don’t have a dog, there are plenty of precious faces waiting for you at the Animal Shelter!)
- I am happiest when… I don’t run out of money! I’m going to be smarter about how I spend money.
There have been several instances where these 4 little words have worked wonders for me. Try them for yourself, you may be pleasantly surprised!