Maintaining New Year’s Resolutions

January 15, 2010

By Dr. Carolyn Anderson

Happy New Year!

2010 represents not only a new year but a new decade. I always get excited about January 1st. The new year offers a fresh start and an opportunity to approach your hopes and dreams with a new sense of vigor and excitement.

Unfortunately, we often have the best of intentions with new year’s resolutions yet the studies show that 95% of us have abandoned the effort by January 15th. Why are we not able to stick with it? We want to, but so often we just don’t. How many years have we committed to a goal or change only to see it not accomplished? How can we make this year different by actually reaching our goals and fulfilling our dreams?

Maybe we need to frame it differently. Instead of trying to stop doing something (like smoking or eating too much) why don’t we try to start doing something. Think of living healthfully and eating nutritious foods to fuel your body. Instead of talking of what we don’t want to do, let’s talk about what we do want to do. Make a commitment to move towards your dreams inch by inch, day by day. Lean into your dreams and take small actions to see them start to happen. Even if you get off track don’t think that you’ve have blown it and give up. Commit at that moment to do something to move you toward your dream again. Small changes can lead to big results.

Here are a few suggestions you might want to try:

If you want to get more exercise buy a pedometer see how far you walk in a day and add an extra 1000 steps. Let’s call it the 1000 step challenge. This could easily be achieved with a 20 minute walk per day. In a year you will have walked as many as 200 extra miles and burned off 11,000 extra calories.

If you want to learn a foreign language practice 15 minutes per day and make a goal of mastering 10 new words a week. In a year with about 100 hours of study under your belt you’ll have a vocabulary of about 500 words. If you can, plan a vacation to a destination where the language is spoken. It will give you extra motivation and a set timeline to learn as much as you can.

If you want to read more, read 10 pages a day which will only take about 20 minutes out of your day. In a year you will have read 3650 pages or about 18 200 page books.

It isn’t the huge all encompassing efforts that take us to our goals. It is the small changes we do constantly. Try committing to a positive change. Try moving towards what you want. It doesn’t matter if it is not January 1. Commit today to leaning in and moving towards something you want. It is never too late to live your dreams. Make 2010 a year to remember.

What goals are you looking to accomplish in 2010?

About the Author: Dr. Carolyn Anderson is the founder of Impowerage. Her mission in life is to empower older adults with the information they need to continue living healthy active lifestyles.

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