Happy New Year, readers!

Well, we’re one week into 2013! How’s it treating you so far? Did you have a nice holiday? Are you back to school or work yet?

Have you…

…made (or at this point, broken) your New Year’s resolutions yet?

I know, I know, I know!

New Year’s resolutions are, for many, a joke.

I mean, if you want to change something, just change it. Right? Don’t wait around for a specific month, day, and year – especially not a month, day, and year that puts so much pressure on you.

Yet, New Year’s Resolutions (or, at least, the making of them) stick around for a reason: Fresh starts.

Who doesn’t get excited about the chance at a fresh start?

Traditionally, the New Year is a time for new beginnings. At the start of a new beginning, it makes sense for us to think, “This year I will [do something/start something/change something].”

The problem is (I think, anyway), sometimes our resolutions resemble a year-end, everything-must-go car sale more than they do actual life goals or improvements.

“EVERYTHING MUST GO! NO MORE CHEESEBURGERS! NO MORE LAZY MORNINGS! NO MORE EXTRA 15 POUNDS! NOW, NOW, NOW!”

No wonder so many people give up on their resolutions before the end of January. We either get so excited that the fact that we don’t have results by January 3 is too much of a letdown to go on, or we get so overwhelmed that we don’t even start.

Change isn’t bad, though. Resolutions aren’t bad. A lot of times, they can save our lives. Quitting smoking, for example, or making dietary changes to better manage diabetes or ward off heart disease.

Maybe the way to approach these resolutions, then, is more calmly and generally. Ultimately, specific goals are good (you need a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish), but sometimes we get so wrapped up in the specific goal (no more fast food, meditate one hour each day, jog five miles every morning) that we think if we don’t succeed at our “cold turkey” approach, well, then, we’ve failed.

That’s just not the case, though.

Understand that changing your lifestyle is a process.

Achieving your New Year’s resolutions (or whatever you prefer calling them) means making lifestyle changes, and just like everything else that contributed to your current lifestyle, it’s not going to be an overnight fix.

Think about it. You didn’t learn to play football, be a cheerleader, or win a debate overnight. You didn’t earn your college degree overnight. You didn’t develop a marriage-worthy relationship overnight, raise a child overnight, or

So, set your specific goals (if that works for whatever changes you want to make), but remind yourself – hourly, if necessary – that they’re goals, requiring lifestyle changes to meet, which requires a process.

How about you, readers? Did you make any resolutions for 2013? Or, do you have any tips for other readers on how they might better reach their goals? Share with us in the comments below!

 


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    Last reviewed: 7 Jan 2013

APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2013). Strive for a Healthy Body and Mind in 2013. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/your-mind/2013/01/strive-for-a-healthy-body-and-mind-in-2013/

 

 

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