The New Year has arrived, and with it, your resolutions for the New Year. High expectations, good intentions, will power, motivation, … and then the thought “Whose Idea was this anyway?” You can blame it on the Romans!! New Year's Resolutions date back to 153 B.C., when Janus, a mythical king of early Rome, was placed at the head of the calendar. Janus’ two faces could look back on past events and look forward to the future. King Janus soon became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans sought forgiveness from their enemies (for past events), as well as exchanged gifts (for future goodwill). Over the years, this symbolic act has transformed into personal reflections of the past and changing personal behaviors to positively affect the future.
How can you positively affect the changes you seek in your personal life?
- Be specific about your resolution; make realistic, measurable goals and write them down.
- Limit the number of resolutions you make.
- Post your list in a visible place to serve as a reminder and to encourage yourself.
- Enlist the support of your friends and family.
- Take action immediately! Make important appointments with a doctor, dietitian, or counselor. Sign up for a gym membership or buy any equipment you need.
Practice those new behaviors that encourage your success. Want to stop smoking? Don't hang out in smoke-filled bars or casinos. Want to lose weight? Don't bring desserts, junk food, candy or ice cream into the house. Limit your exposure to people who are likely to encourage resolution-breaking. Surround yourself with good, supportive friends, not people who sabotage or belittle your efforts.
Set incremental goals and reward yourself for partial successes. Lost the first 5 pounds? Celebrate with a massage. Ran your first 5k? Treat yourself to a new fitness outfit. Substitute a good habit for the bad one you want to break. If your goal is to eat less junk food, find a healthy food you love. If you want to spend more time with your family, establish a special time during the week when everyone is together.
Keeping New Year’s Resolutions is challenging. Had a setback? Be flexible and keep trying! Re-write your resolutions or break your resolution down into smaller steps. Look at your setback as a learning process in reaching your goals. Remind yourself why you made the resolution and what you have to gain by achieving your goal. Make 2013 “your” year – you are worth it!