Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year Resolutions

Toni Lucas

Toni Lucas

New Year Resolutions.  I personally believe that resolutions have more success if they are done in a planned, thoughtful way, rather than a  rash declaration made during the New Year Eve party.   Resolutions work the best when we take the time to examine our lives and find where we want changes to be made.

There are many areas of our lives that people find can be improved during some time of introspection.  Some chose to further their knowledge by taking courses that are of interest, improve relationships with loved ones, or disengage from destructive behaviour such as smoking , or texting after a drinking.  There are those that resolve to further their career,  and those that decide to invest more time in family, or more spiritual pursuits.  Some decide to dedicate a portion of time as volunteers, become more politically aware, eat healthier, or invest in hobbies that bring them satisfaction.  There are those that plan to get their finances under control, do special projects, or just allow for some well deserved "me" time.  One person will try to break old habits, another will aim to start new and better ones.

A resolution that is made with no planning is often easily broken, sometimes not even remembered the next day.  No matter how good the goal was, if you decide on New Years Eve at 11:40 pm that you will never, ever drink again, you will probably break it by 12:01 am New Years Day during the champagne toast.  Then sets in the guilt, and defeatism of "I blew it, maybe next year" rather than taking as a stumbling block between you and your goal that is still valid.  Maybe if the goal was thought through first, or re-examine it after the first fall, it would be found that the real goal was one of moderation, not of prohibition.

Here are the seven tips to reach your resolution goals.

  • One:  Examine your life, and see where you would like to make changes.    This is your personal inventory.  It can cover any and all aspects of your life.  You are the only one that can truly know where you have excesses, shortfalls, and already truly like yourself.  You can take others advice, but know that it's your decision.  If you are choosing to do something because of external pressures, and you don't believe in it, you may not find much joy in the outcome.
  • Two:  Keep it broad, and realistic.  "I will be as rich as Midas by Tuesday", is not the same as "I will strive to make more money throughout the year".
  • Three:  Once you decide what you are going to achieve, find paths to make it possible.   You want to lose weight, start a new job, learn or expand on your skills?  How are you going to do it? What steps do you need to take to make this a reality?  Achieving steps along the way make the goal more viable and will reinforce that you are heading toward your personal destination.
  • Four: Write your goals, and the steps out.  This will help you to refine what it is that you are aiming for.   Keep these somewhere you can refer to them.  It can be a note to yourself in your day timer, a post-it on the message board, a file on your computer.  Having your resolutions and pathways written somewhere can give you the chance to revisit, reexamine and strengthen your goals.
  • Five:  Share them with those that are supportive.  Find people that are supportive of you and let them know what it is that you are out to achieve.  This reinforces it your mind, and helps those around you to remind you of your goals.  They may help you to achieve steps, offer advice, or just listen.  If they are not supportive, shrug it off.  These are your goals for you to achieve.  Don't let the nay-sayers discourage you.
  • Six: Don't give up.  Did you sip the champagne toast on New years Eve, and thus destroy your goal?  Does that mean that you cannot start again until next year?  You chose this for a purpose.  Accept that you did not follow your plan, and see where the stumbling blocks are.  Start again.  Let go of both guilt and resignation, and allow yourself the chance to redeem yourself in your own eyes.  Keep on falling on the same goal?  If your goal was unrealistic to start with, you might chose to revise your goal plan to something more achievable, rather than give up entirely.
  • Seven:  You decide not to make any resolutions.  That is perfectly acceptable.   The purpose of the resolution is to improve your life. Appreciating yourself as you are is a good thing.  If you have looked at yourself and found that you are already the person that you want to be, congratulations! 

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year in 2012.

A special note for those that have a "I will lose weight and/or look better" resolutions:

Putting out a fresh image to the world is an admirable goal for both men and women.  It can involve a haircut, better posture, more sleep, new wardrobe decisions, makeup, diet and exercise, and a host of other options.

Some of us look into the mirror and go "Christmas added the pounds.  My goal is to look like (insert the name of your favourite celebrity or model here), by (insert the date of the big vacation, when you are going to wear a bating suit next, or celebration when you want to fit back into that perfect outfit).

Resolutions should be realistic. Is your goal to be the best that you are, or to be what the modern media has presented as fashionable?  Are you taking into account that if you are idolizing a celebrity, you do not have a personal shopper buying and having clothes tailored for you, as well as a hair and makeup artist giving you their full attention and tips. These are people that have designers giving them the clothes that will work best on them when they step out into the public eye.  You and I rarely see these elite in person.  It is filtered through photographer/graphics department retouching every inch of their image before it goes out to the eyes of public.  We have all seen the Dove commercial for Real Beauty, that takes a very pretty girl and follows her through the journey of becoming the advertisement.  It is too big of a business where image is everything not to enhance everything in the image to something glamorously unlikely, if not out and out unreal.  I recently watched a video that explained that over 99% of what celebrity photos are released to the public have been retouched, and it is almost as high for video.

Life lesson:   Back in the day before computers, we all knew that the photos in the magazines were staged and airbrushed to make them better, and women everywhere still wanted to like like those images.  I am sure that there were women in ancient Rome and Greece that looked at the statues of the goddesses and pined and worked towards looking "just like that".  The more moderate and realistic goal of eating healthier and following an exercise regime that is approved by your doctor is more likely to have you feel good about actually reaching your goals.

Don't kick yourself for not looking like a photo from a magazine - the model in it doesn't look that way either.  You can run on the treadmill all year, but if you tape a pic of your favourite celebrity to the wall ahead of the treadmill for inspiration, just remember that the miles that go by under your feet will only take you so far towards that re-touched beauty.  Here are 7 minutes of YouTube video that will help you confirm that :

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