Common resolutions ... and how to keep them

Everybody makes New Years resolutions only to disappoint themselves by February. Use these helpful hints to set more realistic goals for the upcoming year.

Lose Weight:
Resolution: It’s the no-brainer resolution made after everybody had gorged on holiday dinners for the past month. Perhaps its guilt or the overwhelming satisfaction in a Santa-shaped sugar cookie, but most everyone feels the need to shed a few pounds in January. So the gym gets crowded with people sporting shiny new spandex and regular gym goers complain about the crowd.
How to keep it: Going to the gym is not a quick fix for losing weight. It’s better to resolve, and less expensive, to take a walk on a lunch break. Set a small weight loss goal of 5 pounds or less for the month of January. Vow to make small changes in diet to make that happen. Set new goals in February and build your workout routine slowly over the next year.

Quit Smoking:
Resolution: To quit smoking cold turkey Jan. 1. Most smoking cessation information suggest setting a quit date and preparing for that day by not buying more tobacco products, throwing out ashtrays, and making a new start for the upcoming year.
How to keep it: Jan. 1 is a terrible day to quit smoking because many over smoke and drink the night before. Energy levels on the New Year run low. It is better to set a realistic quit date, perhaps on Monday so that work distracts from the need to smoke. And there’s no need to go cold turkey. Stock up on nicotine replacements to make the detox easier and have a plan for combating cravings.

Get Out of Debt:
Resolution: The credit card balances are higher than ever after the holiday season. Many have overspent, or added onto debt accumulated throughout the past year.
How to keep it: In this case, go cold turkey on Jan. 1. Do not charge anything to your credit card until the balance has been paid entirely. Realize that it may take all year to accomplish this goal.

Get Organized:

Resolution: To get organized, be it with workflow, messy closets or family scheduling.
How to keep it: Realize that this is an issue of time management, not stuff. Commit to making time to sort, organize and reduce what you already own. Give yourself extra time when performing household chores to put items into an organized space. Keep lists of tasks and organize that list into a logical workflow. Don’t over schedule yourself or your family with too many activities or engagements. You’ll have more time to focus on the things you have agreed to attend.

Learn something new:
Resolution: To learn to play an instrument, take cooking classes, start college courses, build a birdhouse, and finally learn to cook.
How to keep it: There’s no way you can learn to play an instrument, take cooking classes, start college courses, build a birdhouse and finally learn to cook all at the same time. This is what ruins the resolutions from the start.
Pick one and only one. Make a plan for learning including how you’re going to pay for it and when you’re going to do it. Then, find a teacher. Most importantly, actually follow through by making a phone call. Tell yourself you’re going to try it for just a few months to see if you like it.

Work less, spend more time with family:
Resolution: To spend less time at the office and more time at home with the family. Less working time equals less stress and more time together equals a stronger family.
How to keep it: Vow to focus on what you’re doing when you’re doing it. Instead of working less, work more efficiently during the hours at work so that you use less of your personal time taking care of work business.  When spending time with your family, focus on the people around you instead of answering work related calls, checking email or business accounts. Make the dinner table a no phones allowed zone. Look at people when you’re talking to them.


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