New you in 2013

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Today’s the last day of freedom before those well-intentioned resolutions you’ve made kick-in. Overnight, you’ll become a fitness god/dess who speaks seven languages, never loses her cool, funds his own charity, and only eats food dug out of the ground with his own two hands.

Good luck. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been known to make resolutions myself, and I’m making some this year – more on that later – but forewarned is forearmed: resolutions are usually broken (see Time’s list: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2040218_2040220_2040221,00.html) so now’s the time, before you start, to do a gut-check about how realistic your goals are, and what you can do this time to make sure you achieve them.

There’s lots of advice online, good and bad. Entrepreneur stresses the specific - http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225363 - so don’t “get in shape,” instead decide on a specific athletic event you’ll participate in and train for it.

Hampton Roads says resolutions must be sustainable and have value to you: http://hamptonroads.com/2012/12/3-proven-methods-achieve-your-new-years-resolutions

This blogger at Scientific American recommends telling no one your resolutions: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/culturing-science/2012/12/30/new-years-resolution/

One of Forbes’s findings, based on a Stanford study, is that if you write down your resolution, you have a greater chance of achieving it: http://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2012/12/31/seven-strategies-for-highly-effective-new-years-resolutions/

Qurikology says you should make your resolutions public AND you should write them down: http://www.quirkology.com/UK/Experiment_resolution.shtml

Hmm. Lots of opinions. Might as well throw in my two cents (which is $14 in Eric wisdom).

Telling people is fine, but ultimately irrelevant. Action is what matters. What’s worked for you in the past? If you always tell people and always fail, maybe keep your resolutions to yourself this time.

What has failed in the past? Assuming you can just “push through” and do what has consistently failed before might not be the best plan. I’m not saying give up on quitting smoking, but look at the methods you’ve used before that have failed and try to find a common, failed thread. Come up with a plan that recognizes and accommodates that failure.

Don’t set a million resolutions, and don’t set resolutions that are insanely lofty. If you’re sedentary, afraid of heights, poor, and don’t like the cold, don’t decide you’re summiting Everest this year. Challenge yourself but make it achievable.

OK, that’s enough. Who am I, right? I’ve failed at my own resolutions plenty of times. But that doesn’t stop me making them. So here are mine for 2013:

Yes, get in better shape. Eat clean and exercise. The specific commitment I’ve made is getting half an hour of exercise every day. And recognizing that I have a tough time sticking to 2,000 calories a day, I’m giving myself 2,500 a day, but focusing on eating nutritious foods.

Make time for my artistic endeavors, specifically pottery and personal writing projects. And the specific action I’m taking to help make those happen is cancelling our cable TV. Yup, we’re doing it. I don’t have enough time in the day to watch TV and do more constructive things, without feeling like I’m constantly busy. So television has to go.

And that’s it, two resolutions. Both are things I’ve managed to do in the past, and I’m taking reasonable steps to make them achievable. That doesn’t mean either will be easy – especially the first one – but I’m trying to set myself up for success, not just repeating failed strategies and hoping this time I have enough willpower to get them done.

See you in 2013.

 

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