New Year’s Resolutions: Inspirational or Delusional?

Howdy, Choosing Healthers! I hope all of you are having a terrific holiday season so far. New Year’s is right around the corner. Time to begin another year, and for many, a fresh start in certain parts of your life. When it comes to resolutions, are you for or against?

I used to think New Year’s resolutions were stupid. I mean, what is the point of waiting around till the new year to make a change? If making that change is important to you then you should seize the moment and start immediately. Right?!

Over the years, I have come to appreciate that there is something about making a resolution at the start of a new year that just feels, oh what’s the word…fresh? new and shiny? clean? Fresh. So while I don’t think you should necessarily wait to make a resolution till the new year, if you should happen to come up with one at that time of year, you’ll get the added “fresh” feeling. 😉

Where you’ll get yourself into trouble when making New Year’s resolutions is if you are mistaking holiday sentiment for strength and resolve. Your holiday nostalgia is going to wear off by the time January is over, so you’re going to need something else to keep you on track.

In my book, Choosing Health, I discuss what makes for successful goal-setting. First of all, you need to be specific about what you want to change…and it better be something that you are convinced you NEED to change. Write down specifically what you want to change and why you want/need to change it.

Second, you need to have a way of measuring the change. For example, if your resolution is to eat more salads, you’d be specific by stating how much salad you intend to have on a daily or weekly basis and you’d be able to measure that easily enough by counting the salads you ingest.

Thirdly, your goal needs to be attainable. Eating 12,000 salads per week is not attainable. Eating 5-7 is.

Fourthly, your goal needs to be relevant. A relevant goal is a goal that makes sense in the big picture. If you find that your digestion feels better when you eat salads regularly, then setting a goal to eat more salads each week is relevant to improving your overall health.

Lastly, the key to a great goal is that it is time-bound. If you tend to procrastinate or get busy with a million and one things, your goal will fall by the wayside if you don’t give yourself a deadline. You can even set milestones for yourself if your goal is going to take a long time to complete or if it is an ongoing goal. Giving yourself mini goal-milestones will help you stay focused, motivated and feeling successful.

Now you’ve got the tools to make a New Year’s resolution that will leave you feeling inspired rather than delusional. The only question left is, “What are you going to change in 2011?”

For more health and fitness tips from Choosing Health, come to by book signing on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Hope to see you there! 🙂

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