By Tanya Glover
A New Year has arrived and with a New Year comes new hopes and dreams just bursting to be fulfilled. The ball dropping at midnight symbolizes a new beginning where anything is possible and anything can happen. The clock striking 12 is like a magical moment when everything becomes new and exciting and this is when we make ourselves promises for the dawning of the new era. These promises, or New Year’s resolutions, can be good for our lives but very often this is not how they turn out. Many people shoot for the stars when making life changing affirmations about how they will be in the New Year and by going overboard, set themselves up for failure. I am not saying this to discourage you from making a New Year’s resolution but rather to help you see that the promises we make ourselves for 2012 need to be things that are obtainable, reasonable and reality based.
The Most Common Resolutions
When someone makes a New Year’s resolution, it is typically one of the following:
· Lose weight
· Get in better shape
· Quit Smoking
These are all great promises to make yourself. The problem is that for many people, all three of them are wrapped up into one big promise. Let me explain by using my own experience as an example. I have resolved all three of these things many times, failing each and every time. The reason behind my failure was because I promised myself all three of these things at once. Here was my thinking; If I am going to quit smoking I will likely gain weight. That is where the lose the few extra pounds I already have in order to beat the no smoking weight gain came in. And, since I am going to be losing weight, I may as well get certain areas into better shape as well. (Flatter tummy, thinner thighs, etc.) So, there I am, wearing a nicotine patch, running on the treadmill and counting calories. At first it is going well, but after about a week or two I am faltering in every area of my multiple resolutions. This is because the promises I made to myself were unrealistic. If you take each one by itself, the goal is totally obtainable. However, put all of them together and I set myself up for failure. What I should have done was chosen one resolution and that is what I did this year. Number one is quit smoking. My thinking was that it is much harder for me to exercise if I was out of breath all the time because of the smoking. The weight gain still bothered me so I did something new this year. I am giving myself 3 months on the smoking resolution. As long as I complete that goal I can move on to phase 2 of the New Year’s resolution; getting in better shape. Without smoking for 3 months it should be much easier to work out and since the smoking habit is kicked, it will not get in the way of my completing the getting in shape goal. Getting in shape will help me to lose the weight I need to lose and all of a sudden, I will have completed my list of resolutions, all without overwhelming myself. At least that is how I hope it will go. I do think I have a much stronger chance of getting all of this done by taking it in doses.
Why Multiple Resolutions Do Not Work
Taking on too many resolutions can be overwhelming. If you are trying to stop something as addictive as smoking, becoming overwhelmed is the worst thing that can happen; It will make you want to smoke even more. But, even if one of your resolutions is not about quitting the smoking habit, taking on several at once can cause an emotional breakdown. You never want to overextend yourself. It is bad for you mentally and physically and the biggest issue, at least for me, was that if I back slid even a little on any one of the resolutions, I felt guilty. It was as if I had let myself down by failing when the real problem was I took on too much and I am only human. Once I was able to put things into perspective, I realized that I should only be taking on a little bit at a time, and by going that route I could accomplish all that I wanted to accomplish. The main ingredient to keeping your New Year’s resolution is to be patient and understand that veering off course sometimes is ok. Simply get back on track and keep on going.
Making it Through to the Next Year
When you make your New Year’s resolution, do it with resolve, but keep in mind that you may not be able to succeed; at least not in the way you envisioned. If your goal is to quit smoking, do not beat yourself up if you have a cigarette, just resolve not to do it again and get right back on the wagon. If your resolution is to lose 10 pounds and you break down and have a cheeseburger for lunch, you are not a failure. You are a hungry human with a weakness for cheeseburgers. Simply start again and stay away from tempting situations. No matter what goal you are trying to meet, it is inevitable that you will have a few weak moments and meet with some struggle. Back sliding is not failure, it is human. You have only failed if when you back slide, you give up on your goal. If you keep these things in mind you have a much better chance of making it to the next year with your promise intact! Wish me luck making it to 2013 with my resolutions intact and I will be sending positive energy your way as well!