How do you like this play on words regarding New Year’s resolutions:they go in one year and out the other.By the time you read this, maybe half of all resolutions made may have been abandoned already. At least people have good intentions to change and improve themselves, right? Some folks adapt mottoes, like “Make it Clean in 2014” or “Live the Dream,” “Change Your Scene” or anything else positive that rhymes with “teen.” That way there’s a general theme that they can work with rather than specific goals, so maybe they’ll feel more of a sense of accomplishment by attaching some relevance to anything that they did between now and the end of December this year.
Studies have shown that setting attainable short term goals and describing the steps required to reach your desired results are usually effective. It’s possible to fulfill your goals when you go about achieving them in a realistic fashion, rather than making a resolution without fully committing to all of the details required to back it up. Let’s look at how this can be done with the top three goals that people set for themselves at the beginning of each year: losing weight, quitting smoking, and saving more money.1.)Losing Weight The basic principles to apply here are to eat less and to move more. There are several tools that help successful people trim their bodies down to a smaller size, including ones to track everything that goes into their mouths. They use free apps and websites like sparkpeople.com. Portion control and trading out dense and fatty foods for water-filled and fiber-rich foods (more fruits and vegetables, even in the form of soups and smoothies) works wonders. Also, they make sure to do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day to keep the calories burning with fun activities they enjoy doing. The buddy system with accountability partners keeps them motivated.
2.)Kicking the Nicotine Habit – Now that government-sponsored campaigns and advertisements for gum, patches and prescription medications to help people quit smoking cigarettes have taken the stigma away from the bravado of quitting cold turkey, many smokers are researching which cessation programs will be best for them. Certain employers and insurance companies are offering incentives to employees and clients who become smoke-free. Each individual has different needs, both physical and psychological, when it comes to smoking or chewing tobacco, but help is just a phone call or a few clicks of a computer mouse away. Getting starting is the first step, following through is the second, third, fourth, and so on.3.)Saving Money From storing loose change in a jar (the old fashioned way) to “rounding up” at the cash register when using our debit card from certain banks, or having a certain amount from our paycheck deposited directly into or savings account with each paycheck before we miss it, there are many ways to save money for ourselves. We can always take a brutally honest look at our expenses and cut out non-essentials and luxuries that we can live without. Do we have to go to Starbucks every day? Do we watch all of those premium cable channels on TV? Could we hand wash some of those items with care rather than take them to the dry cleaners? Could we sell some of the things taking up space in the attic or garage and add the proceeds to our savings account?
These few ideas may get you started. We wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year and hope that you will accomplish everything that you set your mind to doing in 2014. Don’t we all love a fresh start?