by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Starting a new year is exciting. Opportunities await. A fresh calendar spreads before you, either on screen or on the wall. Fill it well …
Whether or not you create 2014 resolutions, embarking on a successful new year requires one simple goal. Be true to yourself. This aspiration can move mountains, everything from shedding stubborn pounds to enjoying more family time. Make your well-being the center of the goal, and efforts will be supercharged. Your inner spirit is resilient and tenacious.
Do It for Yourself
Society gives plenty of reasons to strive for perfection, whether sculpting the ideal body, obtaining an impressive career, or simply resting our tired tush on a certain type of couch. Social networks further the drive. They provide an outlet for sharing with the world the lengths we go on a daily basis to tackle it all with style, grace, and the most attractive appearance.
Get your goals on, for sure. But, make them about your happiness. The outcome should bring personal joy. Top new year resolutions include eating better, exercising more, weighing less, and improving finances. Go for it– but only if it is what you want. Maybe this is the year to dig deeper. Be more specific. Strengthen the figurative muscle as well as the literal ones that network through your body.
Of the 120 million Americans who make resolutions at the start of a new year, 36 percent give up by the end of January. Experts believe the high failure rate partly results from the nature of typical resolutions. When resolutions are guilt driven or superficial in nature, based on what we are told we should feel and how we should look, we are apt to fall short.
Resolutions focused on improved health and a happier life are more easily obtained. Simply put: They make us feel good. Healthy, happy choices are the means to obtain such a lifestyle. The process of reaching those resolutions feels good. Accomplishing the actual goals feels good. You cannot obtain this satisfaction when obsessing over numbers on the scale. Research proves those who make resolutions to feel good have more success than those who make them to look good.
Charge forward with gains in mind, not the sacrifices needed to get there. Do not dwell on quitting your afternoon cookie and coffee break. Rather consider the energy you will gain (and possible excess weight you will lose) by eliminating this habit. When adapting better nutrition, focus on eating healthier, not eating less. Emphasize the gains, which motivate you to plow ahead.
The Power of One
Who developed the concept of the New Year’s Resolution List? Likely an overzealous self-help guru whose books may be in the bargain bin this very minute.
To resolve to do, or not do, something this year–and forever– is personal. Successfully make one small improvement and be inspired. Half manage a few resolutions from an overwhelming list of them and be disappointed (and possibly stuffed from a subsequent junk-food binge).
Each of us has one quirk we would like to eliminate. One weakness we want to overcome. One standard excuse to skip a workout that rolls off the tongue too easily. Resolve to fix it. Skip the list and focus on one goal.
One small improvement can have a powerful impact. On the surface, kicking the snooze-button habit may get you to work on time. Beyond that, it may lead to a multitude of healthy habits. You may have time for breakfast, the most important meal of the day; a quick stretch session; or even a full workout. These could lead to a healthier weight, more energy, and improved self-confidence. Suddenly, one small change has developed into a healthier lifestyle. And, you think, “Easy! What can I tackle next?”
Acknowledge the little steps and look for how they drive the overall journey. In many ways, it is about awareness. We become mindful of how small acts can impact our universe.
For example: Eliminating one cigarette puts you one step closer to quitting. It is less toxic to yourself, the environment, and your wallet. Think one cigarette does not matter? Just one cigarette increases the stiffness of the arteries by 25 percent.
Put a dollar amount on each cigarette. Money is tangible; lung pollution only can be seen through an x-ray or diagnostic testing. A cigarette’s effect symbolically can be seen by assigning each smoke a price. Fast-forward, you’re down to half a pack. Next, you’re occasionally lighting up in social settings. Suddenly, you are on your way! It is not easy. Hence, one at a time.
Get engaged with your heart’s desire. Spark excitement and enthusiasm to complement your strategies for obtaining goals. Don’t allow yourself simple contentment. Dare to reach higher.
Fitness Manager Sharon Casper shares three words for the new year: Shake things up! As a fitness manager, Sharon already manages a healthy lifestyle. It is her job. To remain successful, she capitalizes on the power of one (small change). Each day during January, she commits to running one mile in addition to her usual workout.
Curious about the other eleven months of Sharon’s year? They will take care of themselves. She took a step to charge her routine during the weary winter months. Imagine the rippling effect. We can only guess challenges she will be energized to take by bathing-suit season!
Don’t Lose the Attitude
Attitude is what we really need to achieve in 2014. A positive attitude connects efforts to results. We all want to be happier at every given moment. It is in our best interest. Rather than new year resolutions that reflect deprivation or exhausting efforts, rework the association as a satisfied wish to be healthier, happier. Associate steps to goal achievement with getting your heart’s desire, not denying yourself pleasure.
Accept yourself today, as you are. Make choices to nourish this acceptance. Do more of what you love and less of what you do not. Make yourself and your health a priority and you will obtain true wellness.
Attempting a healthier lifestyle– accomplishing goals– requires commitment. Continuously remind yourself this commitment generates happiness. It helps avert health problems and keeps us content. Celebrate the success of one small change. Cultivate an attitude of acceptance and positivity. Achieve.
“The 10 Best Resolutions to Make This Year,” by K. Aleisha Fetters at www.fitnessmagazine.com.
One cherry: www.flickr.com/photos/10233916@N03/3199298644/