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Sticking To New Years Resolutions

Every year, on December 31, millions of people propose to wake up the next morningas a brand new person. Many will make a list of ways to improve their physical, mental and spiritual well being. On January first, they 
will turn over a new leaf; they will stop eating ice cream, go to the gym every day, never fall behind on work, spend more time with family and friends, improve relationships, quit smoking, quit drinking coffee, read more, spend less time on the computer, and the list goes on.

Two weeks later, everyone is too busy to exercise, too tired to read, too hungry to care what you eat, and too stressed to keep resolutions anymore.  Does this mean the holiday is over? Not at all. New Years is all about fresh beginnings – and people seem to forget that fresh beginnings can start at any point in time. There are always opportunities. If one really wants to make a change, these opportunities should constantly be taken. If you have been eating well for a while then you have a bad day, there is no reason to let one bad day send you spiraling down into endless food comas. Hypothetically someone ate a carton of ice cream and a case of root beer, now they feel horrible. There is no reason to regret it or make up for it by being super meager the next day – it would be better to just get back to normal as soon as possible. Think of it as riding a bike – if for some reason you fall on a long journey, there is no reason to walk from this point forward. Dust off, get back on the bike and ride.

A little more advice: instead of planning to wake up as a brand new person every couple of days, go for small changes. Plan to wake up the next day as the same person that you are, with just one special change. It is difficult to focus on changing many habits at the same time, especially when someone already has too many other things to focus on. As an example, decide to drink one bottle of water a day. It seems like such a small change, and that is the point. Keeping the change small and simple makes it just as simple to actually make the change. Take as much time as needed – usually it takes several weeks or even months to establish a habit. Once the new habit has become second nature, then congratulate yourself and move onto another habit.  Habit forming is one of those things that happens slowly, but surely. Remember, a tree does not turn over a new leaf, it slowly grows one.  Neither does the main character of a novel switch at the turn of a leaf – we develop our characters gradually.  

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