Revisting Resolutions: Keeping the Motivation

??????????????????????????Resolutions can turn from friends to fickle foes in the middle of January.

It seems to make sense at the first of the month: with the dawning of a brand new year comes the dawning of a new you. Finally there is a chance to organize the living room so well that the television remote’s instructions takes a moment to find, or to get a stomach so flat that the jeans from high school fit with ease.  A true blank slate to improve the person we see in the mirror, which is fantastic when motivation is fresh alongside the self-loathing from holiday calories and winter stagnation.

However, between the middle and the end of the month, motivation wanes.

Change is difficult at any time of the year. Most resolutions are large, looming things that involve a huge lifestyle changes involved and it’s hard to change gears quickly from the 31st of December to the 1st of January. Improvement by its very nature is a task, so when it all depends on self-motivation, the middle of January can be the death nail for many resolutions.

The desire to improve every year, though, is a noble cause. There are ways to do it by at least make the transition a little easier: break resolutions into smaller, more manageable goals.

The top ten resolutions that people tend to make are as follows:

1.)    Exercise
2.)    Get organized
3.)    Help others
4.)    Learn something new
5.)    Get out of debt
6.)    More family time
7.)    Enjoy life more
8.)    Quit drinking
9.)    Lose weight
10.) Quit smoking

These are all huge desires, and they take preparation. A lot of preparation, at that. They also do not include anything specific that will be changed as a result of the New Year.

So, keep the vow to make more family time, but make it something that is more feasible and specific, like making plans to have a family board game night every Thursday evening.  Sign up to volunteer for the soup kitchen once a month if your resolution is to help others more often. Commit to running in a forthcoming 5k race to keep with your exercise goal.

The real point here is to make a goal that is hard, but accomplishable.

Changing an overall resolution to something that is visible in the near future can bring back that initial motivation that kicked in after the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve.

Accomplishable is the key; with unclear resolutions, it’s harder to meet your goals. Then the snow ball effect kicks in. If the resolution starts to feel unattainable, it’s easier to let the motivation to complete the goal dwindle.

But resolutions can be wonderful things.

So, in the middle of January sit down and think about why the resolution seemed important. Then ways to make it happen. Lifestyle changes are gradual.

Then with each accomplishment, celebrate! A New Year is a new chance to be bigger and better than ever before. Enjoy all 365 days.

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