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How to stick with your resolutions

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New Year’s resolutions. We hold of our big changes and plans for this moment, but then most of us never follow through to even the next month. What gives?

It’s tough to make a big change so quickly. We all would probably like to lose 10 pounds, but making your goal to do that can seem daunting. So we put it off, and put it off. We make excuses not to go to the gym. We eat an extra slice of pizza because “what the heck” let’s go for it! Then you eventually give in to the fact that you’re not going to make any progress.

That’s the way it goes for many of us, whether it’s losing weight, eating healthy, stopping a smoking habit, picking up an instrument, learning a language.

So how do we get better at sticking with our resolutions and goals for longer than just a few weeks?

Here are a few tips from Life Hack that can help you out.

  1. Pick just one goal
  2. Plan ahead
  3. Anticipate problems
  4. Pick a start date
  5. Go for it
  6. Accept failure
  7. Plan rewards

Picking a goal

Picking your goal can be tough, especially when you have so many things you want to accomplish all at once. Take some time to decide just which one is most important for you right now. Maybe it’s losing weight for your upcoming wedding, or you want to learn French for your summer trip to Nice.

Doing everything at once is a recipe for disaster.

Plan Ahead

Don’t just jump right into your resolution. Break it down into actionable bites that you can do each day. If you tell yourself “Learn French”, you will never want to get started because that’s such a huge, scary goal. But if you tell yourself “Day 1-4: Learn pronunciations”, you will be more likely to follow through because now you know you should be focusing on pronunciation and nothing else.

Anticipate Problems

There will be issues that come up. You get sick, get caught up at work, have a trip that causes you to miss some gym days. Plan for this and don’t give yourself a hard time about it, because that won’t help you succeed.

Pick a start date

It doesn’t have to be New Year’s Day, just find a day where you know you can start taking action.

Go for it

If you plan to go to the gym daily, keep a full gym bag in your car so you have no excuse not to go after work. Take your goal seriously, because if you start slacking or giving excuses, you won’t succeed.

Accept Failure

It’s ok if you miss a day at the gym, or forget to do your vocabulary flashcards for French. Figure out what caused you to skip out on those tasks and try to avoid doing that next time. If you notice that stressing too much at work causes you to not go to the gym, try going before work.

Plan rewards

Have weekly, monthly, and milestone rewards for yourself. If you go to the gym daily for a week, you get to enjoy an ice cream out with the family. If you are able to learn 100 words this month, celebrate with something you enjoy.

Resolutions can be scary and daunting. We wait all year until we start working on them, so it’s time to start giving them your all!


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Resolutions for Seniors

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Christmas is behind us, New Year’s is ahead!  Which means it’s just about time to come up with new resolutions.  But what to resolve yourself for?  Different things are important to different people!  If you’re heavier than you’d like, your biggest resolution may be to lose weight.  If you want to be more intellectually stimulated this year, you might resolve to read a book a month.  What if you’re elderly or infirm, though?  What kinds of resolution can you make to stay positive and healthy and happy?  A few years ago, a retired teacher and widower named Mary Carol Herwood from the Buffalo, NY area wrote a great article to that effect for Yahoo!  Sure, it was for New Year’s 2010, not 2014, but things haven’t changed that much in four years, and she really did have some great suggestions.  She writes regularly for Yahoo!, including some great movie reviews, so you should definitely check out some of her other content.  But for this time of year, this is the article we’re interested in.  We can’t put the whole article here, you’ll have to read it on Yahoo!, but here’s our favorite of her suggestions to get you started!

“I will make plans more often to call a friend to take in a play or a movie, stop for a bite to eat and chit-chat about this and that.”

This one is our absolute favorite, as maintaining friendships and connections with others into old age is, in many ways, one of the absolute most important things to an elderly person’s continued well-being.  It can be very easy to fall into the trap of letting this part of your life go as you age, as family and health issues take up more and more of your time, but the elderly are just as in need of companionship, friendship and fun as any of us!

“I will read at least one book each month.”

Reading is a wonderfully effective and fun way to keep one’s mind sharp, and has also been proven to be an excellent deterrent to the development of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease.

“I will not make any New Year’s Resolutions in 2010.”

Replace “2010” for “2014” here, but the point stands.  If you feel happy and satisfied with everything in your life, then mission accomplished!  So what better resolution to make than to have no resolutions to make next year?

Read the entire article HERE, and a happy early 2014!