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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 - It's Here, Are You Resolved?

Congratulations - we made it another year.  2012 was good, but 2013 will be better, right?  January 1 - the day of resolutions and reality.  We're thinking of diets while indulging in junk, and making fitness goals while watching football.  I've been dreaming of self-improvement during my daytime nap.

Yeah, I have a resolution, and a magic word for the year, but I'm not telling until later this week.  It might just jinx me.  Instead, let's examine resolutions generally.

The top 3 resolutions for 2012:
1.  Lose weight
2.  Getting organized
3.  Spend less, save more (hey, that was MY resolution last year)

Sound familiar?  You probably also know that less than 8% of people keep their resolutions.  Here's a great blog post from Forbes with a break down of how that happens.  While the post was a little discouraging with the statistics, I really loved this illustration from a 1915 prayer card:

Want to be successful in keeping your resolutions?  Good news - it can be done!  First, stop telling yourself it's a resolution, especially a New Year's Resolution.  Calling it that is just an excuse for blowing it within the first month.  Instead, look at it like any other goal, and be SMART!

S      Specific (or significant)
M     Measurable
A     Attainable (or Action-Based)
R     Realistic (Relevant)
T     Trackable

If you want to "be a healthier person" this year, what does that mean?  How will you determine what "healthier" is?  While making your whole family lose weight is a great resolution, is it something YOU can do?  If you just had knee surgery and want to run a marathon, is that really something you can accomplish in a year?  How will you track improvements of your "fitness" during the year?  Use the SMART metric to see if your goal (resolution) is a good one.

While your goal is a yearlong effort, you need to have smaller bites to get that done.  Set milestones - maybe every two weeks, maybe every month.  Keep your goal in mind - write it on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.  Better yet, put it on your Facebook page and update your progress regularly.  (Using a blog might not be as effective - it didn't really help me last year.)  

Finally, if the whole idea of a New Year's Resolution is just too daunting, just don't do it!  While people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to make a change, that's only because they set a goal, not because they set the goal on January 1.  Wait a week or a month and then set a GOAL.

OK, maybe I inspired you a little (or myself a lot).  I'll reveal my goal (resolution) later this week, and maybe I'll be SMART about it.

Happy New Year!