Now that a new year has begun, the time is ripe for people around the world to make lists of new year's resolutions. Among the most popular are exercising more and/or losing weight, spending more time with friends and family, and getting organized. Before the month fades away – along with your resolve – here are some tips for staying true to the changes you want to make in your life.
Exercising more/losing weight
Always make sure your resolutions are attainable goals. If you are new to establishing an exercise routine, start slowly and realistically. If you're more used to sitting on the couch, you're probably not going to be marathon-ready by the first of February. Begin with a few minutes on the elliptical and work your way up to 10, 15, 30 or more minutes. The same goes for losing weight. If you've vowed to drop pounds, set goals on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. You'll better be able to keep track of your progress and inch your way towards success, rather than taking a giant leap and becoming overwhelmed before you've made much progress.
Spending time with friends and family
What seems like an easy venture can get pushed to the side when work gets busy or you're seemingly too tired to be social. Make specific plans to get together with family, such as offering to host a movie night or go bowling. Concrete plans, such as meeting for bowling on a Friday night, will be more successful than promises to get together 'sometime soon.' Aim for six gatherings throughout the year. Considering that many relatives only see members of their extended family during holidays, spending time together every other month is definitely a move in the right direction.
Perhaps you've decided that 2012 is the year you're going to get a handle on clutter in your home. Again, start small. Rather than trying to clear out the entire house during a weekend, tackle the spare room or garage in that time. If you have a lot of clutter, vow to drop off one box a week at Goodwill or set out two extra bags of trash per week. Plan a yard sale or give things away on Freecycle, especially if items are in usable condition but no longer necessary for your life. Small measures of progress will help keep you going, especially after that initial burst of energy that found you tackling the mess in the first place.
Always remember that your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. It's very easy to say you want to travel more, but making precise statements about your intentions will help you stick to your resolutions. Wanting to pack your suitcase and get out of town more often is admirable, but be clear about your intent. Rather than envisioning yourself boarding a train bound for Somewhere, Someday, resolve to visit the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, the Art Institute in Chicago, or any locale that piques your interest. Resolutions buoyed by intent and motivation are far less likely to be broken.
Maire blogs on behalf of Sears and other quality brands. She enjoys writing short stories (which she has resolved to begin submitting for publication consideration) and playing with her Scottish terrier, Pete.