What are you doing in January? Once the hype is over from the December religious holidays, we are pressured into making New Year’s resolutions for the coming year.
Why do we accept this stress during such a time when emotions are already at a high pitch? It’s tradition! Judaism pushes for resolution making during the autumn holiday of Yom Kippur and Christians follow the same procedure for Lent in the spring. Both are a time of fasting and penitence. Resolution making is a year round goal.
Take stock of your life as it has been, accept that the past is done and over, and make plans for a more successful today and tomorrow. Strive for changes that are truly important to you, not what you think you ought to do or what others expect of you.
To emphasis the importance of the goals and to make them more realistic, write down your intentions in a positive manner, to be read on a daily basis. These affirmations must be realistic, achievable, and worded in the present day tense. If you say, I am going to lose weight, that could mean you will always be going to, but never accomplish the goal in the present. Positive wording would be to say I released 25 pounds off my body by eating only the foods that my body needs for sustenance. (P.S. the word lose means there is a chance of finding it again!). With enough practice at visualizing the goal, feeling it as a reality, and believing it, that statement will become a reality.
Resolution making can work if the goals are realistic. For example, winning the lottery is not in your control. Saving part of your salary for a specific purpose, is within your power.
Break down large goals into smaller ones. Let go of stupid things that keep you back from reaching the important goals.
Find alternatives to a behavior that you want to change. If you want to quit smoking but you smoke to relax yourself, find other forms of relaxation.
An important goal is to always improve yourself. That could mean becoming more organized, improve time management to allow for relaxation time, take a community writing class, walk after dinner, keep a journal of your awesome moments, put a smile on someone’s face, right a wrong, repair a broken friendship, and be nice every day.