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Realistic Ways to Implement Your New Year's Resolutions

Along with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season that is upon us, this time of year brings the pressure to create resolutions for the new year that’s right around the corner. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” While many are content with their place in life, there are many people who feel they haven’t met their true potential or made it to the goals they have set. Life is inevitably changing around us daily and with that we must adapt to our environment. While you don’t necessarily have to have the usual or common resolutions, making a resolution that fits your goals and needs is the best way to grow for yourself and your loved ones. About 40% of Americans make resolutions, but only 8% keep those resolutions. The biggest key to sticking with it, and keeping your new year’s resolution, is to set realistic goals that you are passionate about and implementing small changes. So instead of trying to dramatically change your behaviors and habits, start with small shifts that you know you will follow through with. Here are a few common resolutions along with tips on how to achieve them to help you gain confidence in the upcoming year.

Spending more time with family:

When looking up the top resolutions, the number one resolution people make is spending more time with family. We live in a busy time. We are always scheduling more commitments in our day than we have time for, while trying to balance our jobs, social lives, and family time. You may look at your schedule and struggle to find any spare time to schedule quality time. Let’s face it, there are many times that we are present with our families without really being “present”. How many times do we beat ourselves up for not taking advantage of those precious moments with our loved ones? Pick the least busy day of your week and mark off an hour of uninterrupted family time. During that hour, place all electronic devices in a basket and really spend quality time with your family. Or, if you don’t already, try to all eat dinner together and catch up with each other’s lives at least a few times a week. You may be surprised at how much you’ve been missing out on with each other.

Exercise more:

Every year most of us make the decision to try to work out more, lose weight, or get in shape. And every year most of us give up by the time February rolls around. The problem usually arises in how we go about trying to implement this change. We promise ourselves to go from a complete couch potato who never works out, to hitting the gym 6 days a week for an hour each time. Instead of doing that, start with small commitments to work out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you go from not working out at all to exercising 6 or 7 days a week, your body may not be able to handle the sudden change, making you more prone to injury, and it’s simply hard to keep that commitment when it’s such a drastic change. Starting off with small steps will help to ensure your success. Who knows, once your body has adjusted to the changes you may begin to enjoy it and then add in more. But you have to start somewhere. Maybe those 2 or 3 days a week, you simply go for a 20-minute walk before or after dinner. Then add another day each week. Then bump it up to 30 minutes. Then maybe add in some strengthening exercises here and there each week. Whatever you can honestly fit into your normal lifestyle, and what will be a relatively easy habit to start, that’s what’s going to ensure you keep that resolution long-term.

Eating healthier:

Generally exercising and eating healthy tend to go hand in hand however they are two separate beasts. Not all people who exercise eat healthy, and not all who eat healthy exercise. When you are used to a junk-filled diet, making a shift to eating healthier may be a struggle. You can’t change eating habits that you have lived with your whole life overnight. Again, start with small changes like replacing sodas with a flavored water, adding a serving of vegetables in at least once a day, or eating 3 servings of fruit a day. These may seem like small changes, but once you begin to make them any additional changes will come much easier. Just like with working out, making some massive change to your habits is difficult to start and even more difficult to keep up. Start small and slowly work your way up to the big overhaul with time.

Building up savings:

While saving money may be easy to some, it may be a true struggle for others. Everyone was raised in different financial situations and different environments, as well as varying mindsets around money in general. Some may not know how to properly budget their money, save, or feel like there’s any way to get started making financial changes. But yet again, small shifts can lead to big changes. Start yourself off with depositing small amounts and slowly increase the amount you are adding to your savings account. Click on this link to see an easy money saving chart that can help you build up your savings in 52 weeks.

Quitting bad habits:

The final New Year resolution that is popular, but difficult to achieve is quitting bad habits. Whether it be drinking, smoking, overeating, under-eating, negative self-talk, the list goes on. Many of us have at least one bad habit we could stand to do away with. While they may be hard to break, knowing your triggers and finding something to replace that habit can be the difference between success and failure. When you feel yourself reaching for a cigarette, a drink, a piece of food when you’re not hungry, think of something that can replace it. Go for a walk, try meditation and deep breathing, step outside to clear your mind, or drink a big glass of water. Remove yourself from the temptation that is lying in front of you and replace it with a positive action. Have alternate plans in your mind so that you can combat it immediately. And if you slip up, don’t give up. We are all human, we make mistakes. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, identify what caused you to fall, and continue your journey with the end goal in mind.

These are just a few of the many tips and tricks you can use to help achieve your New Year’s resolutions, but please remember to give yourself grace and understanding if you slip up and remember the goal at hand. Make sure before you sit down to write down your resolution, you think deeply about what resonates with you and plan as to how you are going to accomplish your goal. Track your progress no matter how big or small. This will help when you feel that you haven’t done enough. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Your opinion is the most important to you.

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