Stick With It In 2010


As 2009 comes to a close and we look forward to the approaching new year, there is a lot of talk about how we might be able to make it bigger and better for ourselves than the year before. We have hopes and desires that this is the year we will finally rid ourselves of that annoying habit (maybe yours or even someone else’s) , or maybe this is the year we will finally acquire that new talent or skill we have been putting off learning.  Each year we conveniently package these wants and desires, which for some reason, seem to be just outside our grab, in the form of “New Year Resolutions”.  So just how hard, or easy for that matter, will they be to achieve, how bad do you really want it, and how long, will it ultimately last?
Well, I am sorry to burst your bubble, but the odds of you sticking to your new found ideals for more than a month are actually quite small. Why? Simply, most people make very difficult and vague resolutions and have not thought about exactly how they are going to go about getting the job done.  This year, according to Livestrong.com, Smoking is the #1 resolution among Americans. The reasons are obvious. Smoking cigarettes is really, really bad for you, plus, if you have not noticed yet, it's less socially accepted now more than ever before.  Even here in North Carolina, where I reside, the largest tobacco producing state in the country, is now joining with dozens of other states, banning smoking in restaurants and bars. Despite all the health risks and social un-acceptance, people still smoke and have a hard time quitting. Addiction is a bear! Mark Twain said “Quitting smoking is easy, I have done it a thousand times.” If you really want to quit, you need to set goals that are doable and obtainable. Don’t say “I am never going to smoke again!”  Say “I am not going to smoke today or this week” and  take the action to do it! Seek out help and acquire the tools that are available to keep you successful.  And have a “plan B” ready for the next time you have a stressful event happen. 90% of recent quitters reported starting again after going for a smoke when a stressful time entered their life. I can tell you this. Stress doesn’t care that you quit smoking and will return for a visit. Be ready and don’t cave! I quit 11 years ago, unplanned, on New Year’s Day. I took it one day at a time and have reaped the rewards of being a non-smoker! It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Have you caught yourself claiming the #2 “resolution” this year, “I am going to get fit this year” or “I am going to lose weight”? Again, sorry to say, but, much too vague! Forget the word “resolution” and think goal. Goals can be broken down in parts and therefore more obtainable and realistic. People sign up for gym memberships in January more than any other month. Two weeks later, gym attendance drops back down to normal. Why? People quit. No goals, no plan! If you desire to lose weight and “get fit”, how much weight do you want to lose? Is 5, 10, maybe 15 pounds? Start a journal and write the number down and create a plan on how you are going to do it. Eating right and exercise is a good way to start, but you must focus on the process in this case, not outcome. If you do the right things daily and make the right choices, you will lose the weight, but it takes discipline and lots of it! Again, there are many tools out there to help you succeed in your weight loss and fitness goals. This is the great part, you don’t have to do any of these things alone! There are plenty of people just like you trying to accomplish the same things. Find a group and get plugged in so you can give support and be supported.

Another popular resolution this year is to “spend more time with family”. This is something we all should commit to in 2010. This requires some sacrifice on our part. Spending less time in the office, maybe skipping some weekends on the golf course, or whatever it is that keeps you from the family.  One way to accomplish this can be to have a “family night”. It can be an evening for playing games around the table, playing Wii, watching a movie, or any number of things that everyone can participate in. The point being is just spending more time together and enjoying one another. If it’s been a while since everyone ate dinner  at the dining room table, it might be a great way to get everyone together! We love food at my house and get around the table often!
So, as we move forward into 2010, have “goals” and not “resolutions”. Break them down into manageable parts that are more realistic and obtainable. Challenge yourself with confidence and remember the best way to achieve it all is to stick with it! Whatever your goals for 2010, make memories, spend more time, enjoy the little things, and cherish the moments! I wish you all the best for a happy and successful new year!

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