The beginning of every year presents a time to look back and reflect upon how we spent the last year as well as look ahead to determine how we want to spend the year to come. One classic way this meditation manifests itself is in the form of a New Year's Resolution list.
New Year’s Resolutions date back to the Babylonians, who are said to be the first to make these yearly goals. However, they did not celebrate the new year on January 1st as we do; 4,000 years ago, the Babylonians celebrated the new year in the spring with the planting of crops.
The tradition was also held by the Romans, though Julius Caesar changed the new year to January 1st. The month of January was named for the Roman god Janus, who was said to look back on the previous year with one face, and forward to the coming year with his other. The Romans would make promises to Janus for better behavior in the coming year.
In modern society, New Year’s Resolutions can be considered somewhat of a joke. They tend to be something at which we collectively fail. You’ll see lots of new gym memberships in January, and the treadmills are packed through the month, and then somewhere in February, things fall off.
It doesn’t have to be that way! The new year is a fresh start, and you can avoid mistakes that make your New Year’s resolutions harder to keep. Here are three tips to help you stick to your resolutions.
1. Don’t: Be too Broad— Do: Be specific!
We all have general goals for ourselves in the new year. We want to eat healthy, exercise more, save money, etc. However, broad goals are way too hard to keep, and we need to be more specific in what we want to achieve. Beach Body's blog talks about making sure your goal passes the SMART test:
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Attainable
- R: Realistic
- T: Timely
If your goal is to eat healthier, specifically focus on a meal you want to make healthy. How can you measure what makes that meal healthier for you? Will you have to get up an hour earlier to cook what you want, and is that attainable and realistic? Will you be able to achieve this goal in a timely manner? Looking at your resolution on a more specific platform will help you to keep it and make a lifestyle change.
2. Don’t: Be Negative— Do: Be positive!
The way you word your goals is important. If your goal has to do with your finances, don’t say “Stop being bad with money”. Instead, your goal should be, “Improve amount of money saved,” or “Exercise control in spending habits.” If you’re focusing on the negative aspects of yourself, you will eventually tire of the process of trying to improve. Constantly analyzing yourself in a negative light will likely discourage change, rather than encourage it.
Words are incredibly powerful in the outside world but also within ourselves. Focus on what you want to have happen in the new year instead of focusing on what you don’t want to repeat. In order to make a change you need to see yourself as capable of doing so.
3. Don’t: Forget to Track Your Progress — Do: Track it!
Forgetting to track your progress on your goal is a crucial mistake you should avoid. If your goal is to exercise 3 times a week, having a calendar to mark of the days you go to the gym will allow you to see success daily, weekly, and monthly.
An organized calendar also allows you to see what days work best for your schedule to get to the gym, and to see where you might falter in your goal. If you have a big meeting at the end of the week, it could be better to get your gym time in on the weekend before or after your meeting.
Checking things off a list, marking off dates on a calendar, even putting stars in boxes, is a highly satisfying way of keeping track of your goals and helping to stay motivated all throughout the year.
Whatever the time of year, improving the quality of your life is always an important goal. At South Orange Chiropractic Center we can work with you to help you get out of pain and live your life to the fullest. Contact our team today to make an appointment so we can help you achieve those resolutions this year!