colorful sticky notes with resolutions written in marker

What do you have planned for the new year? Not for the celebration of ringing in the new year – but for the actual year itself. Have you been thinking about the resolutions you’d like to make and (try to) keep all year long? If you’re contemplating giving up something or starting a new routine or habit that you’ll want to last the whole year, it might seem unrealistic or undoable. After all, twelve months is a long time. If you break down your big resolutions into smaller, more manageable units, however, you’ll have a much better chance of sticking to them and accomplishing them throughout the entire year. Here are a few examples:

New Year’s Resolution #1: Eat only healthy foods

Fuggedaboutit! If you say to yourself on New Year’s Eve that at 12:01 AM you are giving up all junk food, all fast food, all desserts, all chips and snacks, and everything else that is not good for you to eat, you might as well “forget about it” now! Making a claim that you will never ever eat anything that is not necessarily that great for you this new year is setting yourself up for failure. What’s much more realistic, however, is saying that “For the next 24 hours, I am not going to eat at a fast food restaurant or buy any junk food at the grocery store!” It’s quite possible for you to make that same statement every single day this new year, and stick to it!

New Year’s Resolution #2: Earn my Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

Trying to earn a degree in one year is very stressful, if not impossible. The goals of going back to college as a working adult are: 1) to be engaged in the material, 2) to network with other like-minded adult college students, and 3) to learn new concepts, theories, and solutions that you can implement in your professional and personal life. It is not to rush through a program simply for the sake of earning the degree. What’s more realistic and viable is saying, “This semester, I am going to enroll in and complete one undergraduate or graduate class!” By the end of the year, you will have completed at least 3 courses (more if you opted to double the coursework during some of the semesters). Breaking it down into units of time (the seasons) makes it doable.

New Year’s Resolution #3: Work out every day

If you’re a personal trainer or have been working out every day for the past decade, this new year’s resolution is an easy one. Chances are, however, that you’re not a gym rat, the treadmill in your bedroom makes a great clothes rack, and you’ve been known to join a fitness facility and never use the pass. Proclaiming that this new year you are going to work out every single day is a huge commitment that, if broken, may lead straight back into the “arms” of your remote control and that quart of ice cream in the freezer. What’s more feasible is to say, “I am going to increase the number of steps I take every day (with the goal to get to 10,000 steps per day), and I am going to work out at the local fitness facility at least three times a week.”

If you break everything down into 24 hours, anything is possible. If you say, “Today – for the next 24 hours, I am not going to sleep in, smoke, eat junk food (or whatever it is you don’t want to do),” you’ll accomplish it. If you say, “This new year, I will never do these things again,” you’re putting undue stress on yourself. Write and proclaim fabulous New Year’s resolutions for 2018, but break them into 24-hour glorious days of new sunrises!

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