'Tis the Season...to make Resolutions! 5 Suggestions for Success

It’s that time of year again.  The time of year where we grab a pen and paper and make the loftiest of promises to ourselves for the New Year. That’s right: it’s New Year's Resolutions time.

In conversations that I’ve had with many friends, colleagues and students, the underlying theme of their resolutions is the same: living a healthier lifestyle.   Their lists include lose weight, increase fitness levels, drop bad habits, create work/life balance, get more sleep, get active, make better food choices, start taking vitamins, cut out soda/chocolate/alcohol/coffee/enter your particular vice here.  And, boy, are the lists I’m hearing long!  These are all admirable goals, but they sound like the lists from last year…and the year before… and the year before.  How does the same list keep reappearing year after year?

Let’s face it, making lifestyle changes are difficult and knocking out a long self-improvement to-do list takes time, patience and determination.  Here’s our advice on being successful with your list this year:


  1. Be Specific:

    Resolutions like “Live a healthier lifestyle” or “Lose weight” are too vague and require definition and a plan.  Want to lose weight? Be specific and realistic, setting a value – pounds, inches, dress sizes – and make a plan to reach that goal.  Want to live a healthier lifestyle? Write down what that means to you.  Create a list within a list, if you will.  And be careful not to add more ambiguity in this step – instead of “exercise more” define it as “attend 4 classes a week.”


  2. Break It Up:

    Take that huge goal of yours and break it into smaller, more manageable goals.  Using the example of living a healthier lifestyle, focus on replacing the sodas in your diet with water. That’s it. Start there. Then when you’ve broken the soda habit, move on to the next smaller goal.  Baby-steps….


  3. “Can’t” is a 4-letter Word:

    Stay positive! Remove “can’t” from your vocabulary completely! Giving yourself positive reinforcement and patting yourself on the back for small accomplishments will provide you the momentum you need to reach your goals.


  4. One Step Back ≠ Complete Failure:

    Also known as the all-or-nothing attitude, many resolutions fall by the wayside because we had a moment of weakness.  That single moment was enough to convince us that we don’t have what it takes to succeed. Nonsense! Chalk it up for what it was and keep moving forward toward your goal.  Acknowledge the mistake, even examine it for why it happened, then be more aware should the situation arise again that you will have to re-double your efforts to stay on track.


  5. Use the Buddy System:

    Tell a friend, or even several friends, about your goals for the New Year.  Chances are many of them have the same resolutions on their list and will be in need of support along the way.  Why not make this adventure a fun one? One you can look back on with the people in your life who were with you every step of the way?  Provide accountability for each other and see these resolutions marked off the list one by one.

What are some of your resolutions for 2014? What changes will you make to see these goals met?

Wishing all of you the best in 2014! Happy New Year from your friends at Dance Trance Fredericksburg!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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